Morocco // Agadir, the Souss and Anti-Atlas //

Paradise Valley and Immouzer

The trip up to Immouzer des Ida Outanane – via Paradise Valley, a beautiful palm-lined gorge – is a superb excursion from Agadir. It is feasible in a day (Immouzer is 62km from Agadir) but it is more enjoyable to stay at one of the auberges or camp in the valley. Paradise Valley begins around 10km east of Aourir, a deep, palm-lined gorge, with a river snaking along the base. There’s a well-marked 2.7-kilometre walking trail at around 28km from Aourir, or you can hire a mule to explore the valley’s Berber villages, and it’s a glorious place to camp, though pitch your tent well away from the riverbed in case of flash floods.

From Paradise Valley, a further 20km of winding mountain road takes you to the village of IMMOUZER DES IDA OUTANANE, a small regional and market centre (of the Ida Outanane tribe, as its full name suggests) tucked away in a westerly outcrop of the Atlas. The waterfall, for which the village was renowned, is nearby, and was best seen at its foot, 4km downhill to the northwest. Unfortunately the falls have been very adversely affected by drought over the last few years; tight control of irrigation now reduces the cascade on most occasions to a trickle, with the villagers “turning on” the falls for special events only. However, the petrified canopy of the falls is of interest in its own right, and there’s a full plunge pool.

The whole area is perfect for walkers. A four-kilometre surfaced road twists down to the foot of the falls, with cafés and souvenir stalls on both sides of the riverbed. A path from the lowest point in the garden of the Hôtel des Cascades follows a water channel across cliffs (it’s then possible to scramble down into the olive groves, but it isn’t a route for the timid or unfit, and ascending again is harder still). Several of the staff at the hotel can help you spot local birdlife, including golden eagles and crag martins.

In Immouzer village, there’s a souk every Thursday. The local speciality is honey, made by bees that browse on wild thyme, lavender and other mountain herbs. There’s also a five-day honey moussem in late July or early to mid-August. Note if you are considering buying honey here that it may well be illegal for you to import it into your home country.

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