The Spectacular Cascades of Ouzoud Falls in Morocco.
Ouzoud Falls is the collective name for several tall waterfalls that empty into the El-Abid River gorge. This popular tourism destination is located near the Moyen Atlas village of Tanaghmeilt, in the province of Azilal, 150 km northeast of Marrakech, Morocco. Ouzoud means “the act of grinding grain” in Berber.
The Ouzoud Waterfalls is the second tallest waterfall in Africa. It’s a huge touristic destination and one of the most visited and photographed natural sites in Morocco!
The bottom of the falls is accessible through a shaded path of olive trees. At the summit of the falls, there are a dozen old small mills that are still in use. One can also follow a narrow and difficult track leading to the road of Beni Mellal. While descending the gorges from the “wadi el-Abid” in a canyon sometimes one does not distinguish the bottom which is nearly 600 metres down.
The Ouzoud Waaterfall is the most visited site of the region. In the vicinity, green valleys, mills, orchards and a superb circuit of the gorges of the El Abid River (in Arabic, “Slaves’ River”) are found. Many local and national associations lead projects to protect and preserve the site.
Ouzoud Falls Travel Tips
What’s the best time of the year to visit the Ouzoud waterfalls?
The Ouzoud cascades can be visited the whole year round. It’s much busier during summer but that’s the best time of the year to go if you want to swim in the pools at the bottom of the falls. There is more water during winter and usually a lot fewer tourists, so if you don’t mind that it’s too cold to swim, winter is probably the best time to visit the Ouzoud waterfalls.
How much does it cost to visit the Ouzoud waterfalls?
There is no entrance fee for the Ouzoud waterfalls but if you want, you could always hire a local guide to show you around (although it’s absolutely not needed). A guide will charge around 30 MAD per person if you are visiting with a group of friends or 100 to 150 MAD if you are alone.
A quick tip: The restaurants near the waterfalls are not very expensive but if you want to travel around Morocco on a budget, I would suggest bringing some snacks with you.
What you can do around the Ouzoud waterfalls.
If you visit Ouzoud during the summer, the water of the Al abid river will be warm enough to swim in it. There are different pools where one can swim right at the bottom of the Ouzoud waterfalls. If the current is not too strong, it’s possible to go a bit farther from the falls and swim in a calmer part of the river away from the crowds.
Taking a small boat ride
There are small boats on the first pool of water at the bottom of the falls. For a small fee (about 20 MAD) they can take you very close to the cascades. If you go on that boat ride, be prepared to get wet. I would suggest bringing a rain jacket and a water-resistant camera to enjoy the experience to the fullest.
Feeding the Barbary monkeys
One of the main reasons so many people visit this site apart from the beautiful waterfalls is the presence of wild Barbary monkeys. They play in the trees and hang out all around the river and the cascades.
Although they are wild, most of them will come closer in a very peaceful manner if you offer them food. Bring some nuts and fruits on your trip to the Ouzoud waterfalls and you’ll surely make new friends!