When I am traveling I usually stay away from simple city tours and choose to discover the city on my own. I even try to stay away from tours to surrounding areas and prefer to figure out the transportation myself so I don’t have to adhere to a certain time frame and can explore at leisure.
For Morocco I decided to break my rule. Morocco is best left to tour guides who can show you certain things that aren’t open to normal tourists and they can deal with the roads that can be full of pot holes and often times are just straight up dirt roads. Plus the tours are dirt cheap and run by local families.
On one of my 2 days that I spent alone in Marrakesh I booked a full day tour to the Ourika Waterfall through my hostel. We started the day bright and early (around 7am). It was so nice to be picked up right from the hostel and guided through the winding souk to the meet up point where we would meet our driver and the van that would be taking us outside the city. This is another big reason I love all of these guided tours in morocco, no chances of getting lost!
As we left the city we got our first views of the Atlas Mountains and our tour guide told us about the history of the mountains and the berber people.
We continued into the foothills of the mountains and made a stop at a huge pottery makers warehouse.
We met the owner who makes custom pottery for some of the best hotels in Marrakesh. The warehouse was insane; every single surface was covered in pottery and it is crazy to think that every individual piece was made by hand.
When asked for a volunteer to make a small piece of pottery I, of course, volunteered immediately. He helped guide my hands on the wet clay. In less than 10 minutes I had made a small set of spice containers which he let me take home as a gift.
After the pottery lesson we continued further into the mountains to our next stop; a meeting with a traditional Berber family and a look inside a real berber home. We got a chance to see how they make their own grain that comes from a mill inside their home. We also saw the large "bedroom" they all sleep in and the outdoor kitchen the women use for meals everyday.
Their family cow was also a total sweet heart and was my favorite part of the visit.
From there we continued onto our next stop which included a bridge that was a bit nerve wracking to cross.
We met a welder who lives in the mountains and creates beautiful works of art. He even let one of us (not me this time) use his fire and hammer to start welding a piece of metal for a huge sculpture he was working on.
After the welder we stopped in a small mountain restaurant for a traditional lunch of tangine, couscous and moroccan salad.
After lunch we headed to a berber community where a group of about 10 families live. There is a school, a small mosque and a cosmetic factory. All the women in the community work there making typical moroccan cosmetics from the argon nut.
Finally we arrived to our final destination: an hour long hike into the atlas mountains that ended with a huge 80ft waterfall. The hike was fantastic and had gorgeous views.
There was a bit of scrambling over rocks but I saw many people doing the hike in flip flops. A small side note - I was actually wearing a long maxi dress that I tied up for the hike - as I have said in previous posts I recommend maxi’s - they are the most appropriate attire to wear in morocco because you can cover everything and be conservative while also not dying of heat exhaustion.
The waterfall was absolutely beautiful and after a couple of pictures we headed back down for the long drive back to the city.