Ourika Taxi

Ourika Taxi

Ourika Taxi

How to Get Ourika from Marrakech

How to Get to Ourika Valley from Marrakech: A Detailed Guide

ourika taxi

Nestled in the High Atlas Mountains just a short drive from the hustle and bustle of Marrakech, the Ourika Valley offers a peaceful escape into nature. With its gushing waterfalls, scenic hiking trails, and traditional Berber villages, it’s no wonder this lush valley is a popular day trip from Marrakech. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about visiting the Ourika Valley, including how to get there from Marrakech, the top attractions, when to go, and practical tips to make the most of your journey.

Getting to Ourika Valley

There are several transportation options for reaching the Ourika Valley from Marrakech depending on your budget, schedule flexibility, and travel preferences:

Grand Taxis

One of the most cost-effective and authentic ways to reach Ourika is by taking a grand taxi, which are shared taxi rides. You can find grand taxis lined up near the main taxi stands in Marrakech, like next to the famous Djemaa El-Fna square. Make sure to negotiate the total price before departing, as fares aren’t set.

A typical round-trip grand taxi from Marrakech to the Ourika Valley will cost around 300-400 dirhams to have the entire taxi for your group. Split between 4-6 passengers, this becomes quite affordable. The journey covers around 60km and takes approximately 1-1.5 hours each way, as you’ll travel through winding mountain roads to reach Ourika.

While grand taxis can feel a bit cramped with up to 6 passengers, they offer an authentic local experience. You’ll get to share the ride with other travelers and Moroccan residents alike.

Private Transfers

If you prefer more comfort, space, and convenience, you can opt for a private transfer with a dedicated car and driver. This option is understandably more expensive, with costs for a private round-trip transfer from Marrakech to Ourika Valley usually ranging from 600-800 dirhams.

However, the extra cost provides you with a door-to-door hassle-free experience. Your driver will meet you at your accommodation, so you can simply relax and enjoy the scenery. Many hotels and riads in Marrakech can help you arrange a private transfer, or you can book one easily online in advance through companies like Holiday Taxis Morocco or Marrakech Cabies.

Public Transportation

Taking public buses is by far the cheapest way to get to Ourika Valley from Marrakech if you’re on a tight budget. Bus tickets cost around 30 dirhams each way. However, there are some important tradeoffs with the public transportation option:

  • You’ll first need to take a petit taxi to the main bus station in Marrakech (Gare Routiere de Bab Doukkala).
  • Buses to Ourika run infrequently, with just a few departures each morning, so you’ll need to plan carefully.
  • The journey takes around 2 hours each way by bus, with potential delays.
  • Buses back to Marrakech tend to be crowded and have limited services.

So while taking the bus is cheap, it involves more time, hassle, and you’ll have less flexibility once in Ourika Valley.


The final option is to rent a car and self-drive to Ourika Valley from Marrakech. Having your own rental car gives you the ultimate flexibility to explore the valley at your own pace. You can linger as long as you’d like at viewpoints, add detours, and won’t be constrained by taxi fares or bus schedules.

The driving route is straightforward if you use a GPS – simply take the P2017 road east from Marrakech towards Ourika for around 60km. Once you arrive in Ourika, park in the main village of Setti Fatma where most hiking trails begin. Expect very winding mountain roads, so take it slow and don’t attempt driving at night.

What to See and Do in Ourika Valley

The Ourika Valley is beloved by visitors for its stunning natural scenery and opportunities to experience traditional Berber culture. Here are some of the top attractions and activities:

Setti Fatma Waterfalls

Cascading down rocky cliffs surrounded by lush greenery, the Setti Fatma Waterfalls are considered the crown jewel of Ourika Valley. This series of seven waterfalls provides ample viewing terraces, swimming holes, and scenic hiking trails to explore.

The most popular route is a 3-4 hour round-trip hike leading up through the valley, providing views of the waterfalls from different elevations. While the hike is considered moderate difficulty due to rocky and sometimes steep sections, it is manageable for most healthy adults.

Be sure to pack proper hiking gear like sturdy boots, breathable layers, sun protection, and plenty of water. You can also hire a local Berber guide in Setti Fatma to lead you on the safest trails and provide insight into the flora, fauna, and culture.

Berber Villages

Interspersed along the Ourika Valley are numerous small villages where the indigenous Berber people have lived for centuries. Visiting villages like Setti Fatma, Ait Soukhmane, and Ait Mizan provides a fascinating window into the traditional way of life.

You’ll see Berber herders tending to goats and sheep, women weaving intricate rugs and textiles, and markets selling locally-grown produce and handicrafts. It’s a chance to step back in time and experience the warm hospitality of the Berber people.

“We stopped in the tiny village of Ait Mizan and were invited into a family’s home for mint tea. The woman showed us her loom setup and we purchased a beautiful handmade rug to take home.” – Trip Advisor Review

Scenic Viewpoints

In between hiking and village exploration, you’ll want to stop at the many panoramic viewpoints scattered throughout the Ourika Valley. Here you’ll be rewarded with sweeping vistas of the snow-capped High Atlas peaks, terraced farms, and glimpses of distant villages clinging to the mountainsides.

Two of the most famous viewpoints are the Arousse Panoramic View and Ait Aadeyyne Viewpoint. Bring your camera and soak in the incredible scenery! For the ultimate vista, try to time your visit for sunrise or sunset when the valley is bathed in golden light.

Outdoor Adventures

While hiking is the main draw of the Ourika Valley, there are plenty of other outdoor adventures for the active traveler. You can arrange guided rock climbing excursions, mountain biking tours along remote trails, or even multi-day treks deep into the Atlas range with camping involved.

The cool waters of the Ourika River are also perfect for freshwater swimming and kayaking during the warmer months when river levels are lower.

No matter what outdoor activities you choose, the Ourika Valley provides a refreshing dose of crisp, clean air and wide open spaces to reset from city life.

About Ourika Valley

The Ourika Valley sits in the western High Atlas Mountains, around 60km east of Marrakech. At its highest point, the valley reaches over 1,600m in elevation, providing relief from Marrakech’s intense heat.

Some key facts about the geography and location of this mountain oasis:

  • Nearest Major Town: The traditional Berber village of Ourika, where the valley got its name
  • Other Nearby Valleys: Asni Valley, Imlil Valley (access to Mt Toubkal, North Africa’s highest peak)
  • Terrain: Rocky, mountainous landscape carved by the Ourika River, with pockets of greenery

As one of the closest valleys to Marrakech that can be reached in under 2 hours, the Ourika Valley makes for an ideal day trip to escape the noise and congestion of the city. Its combination of natural splendor and cultural immersion is a huge part of its allure.

When is the Best Time to Visit?

The best times of year to visit the Ourika Valley are during the spring (March-May) and fall (September-November) when temperatures are pleasantly mild. Here’s a quick seasonal overview:

SpringWildflowers blooming, waterfalls gushingUnpredictable rain
SummerLong days, warm for swimmingHot temps, crowds
FallIdeal temperatures, fewer touristsShorter daylight hours
WinterSnowy mountain sceneryMany trails closed due to snow/ice

Spring and fall offer that “just right” Goldilocks weather for outdoor activities like hiking. You’ll avoid the scorching summer heat and still find decent waterfall flows before the dry season. Springtime brings an extra pop of color with blossoming vegetation.

Just be prepared for some rain showers during spring if you’re hoping to hike to the waterfalls. And in fall, having fewer daylight hours means an earlier start to maximize your time in the valley.

Hiring a Local Guide

To get the richest experience in Ourika Valley, hiring a local Berber guide is highly recommended. A knowledgeable guide can amplify your appreciation and understanding of this special place.

Local guides know all the best trails, vantage points, and watering holes that you might miss exploring independently. More importantly, they can share insight into the valley’s history, geology, indigenous culture, and sacred significance to the Berber people.

You can easily arrange a guide once you arrive in the village of Setti Fatma, where many hiking trails originate. Expect to pay around 300-400 dirhams for a 4-5 hour guided hiking experience.

“Our guide Mohamed made our visit so enriching. He had a profound knowledge of local medicinal plants, showed us dinosaur footprints frozen in the rocks, and gave us a deeper understanding of Berber traditions. Highly recommend getting a guide to learn about this incredible place.” – TripAdvisor Review

Where to Dine

With all the hiking and sightseeing in the Ourika Valley, you’ll likely work up quite an appetite! Fortunately, there are simple yet authentic lunchtime cafes and restaurants found within the valley’s main villages. These no-frills eateries offer classic Moroccan dishes like:

  • Tagine: The iconic slow-cooked stew of meat, vegetables, and spices named after the clay pot it’s cooked in
  • Couscous: Tiny steamed balls of semolina wheat served with vegetable or meat stew spooned over the top
  • Harira Soup: A thick, herby tomato and lentil soup
  • Fresh Salads: Chopped tomatoes, onions, olives, and other seasonal veggies

Wash it all down with steaming mint tea for an authentic Moroccan meal. Best of all, these hearty meals will only set you back 50-100 dirhams.

For a memorable dining experience with a view, head to places like Tin Mal Mosque Ruins Cafe overlooking the entire valley or Aromore Rural Tourism set amidst beautiful gardens. These have a bit more ambiance and scenery to compliment your meal.

Or you can pick up picnic supplies like bread, cheese, fruit, and freshly-squeezed juice in Marrakech before your journey. Find a scenic riverside or waterfall-side spot to enjoy a peaceful alfresco lunch.

Final Thoughts

The Ourika Valley offers a breathtaking reprieve from the commotion of Marrakech. Just a short drive from the city, you’ll find yourself enveloped in raw natural beauty, fresh mountain air, and glimpses into an ancient Berber culture.

Whether your ideal day involves vigorous hiking, laid-back village exploration, or a combination of both, the valley has so much to offer eager travelers. By following this guide’s advice on getting there, what to see, when to visit, and other tips, you’re bound to have a memorable immersion into this special part of Morocco’s High Atlas range.

Just be sure to pack your sense of adventure, an open mind to learn about Berber traditions, and ample storage on your camera or smartphone! The Ourika Valley’s striking scenery is sure to leave you awe-struck and craving an even longer escape amid these majestic mountains.

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