Mohamad reaches for my hand and pulls me up over the large rock that blocks the path to the second waterfall on our grueling hike through the Atlas Mountains.
This young man has guided us from the small town of Setti Fatma up the steep mountainside. Along the way we have crossed bridges straight out of Indiana Jones, passed small cafes nuzzled near babbling brooks (perfect for keeping drinks cool) and stopped at a waterfall, where my friend Emily and I erupted in pearls of laughter at our excellent hiking skills.
Mohamad grabs my hand again as we reach another rock. There is something striking about his touch. It is a special touch, a sacred touch I’ve only experienced from my dad and uncles. His touch his pure, and despite him being more or less my age, isn’t charged with even an ounce of sexuality.
It’s innocent. It’s powerful. It’s only concern is to get me and Emily up this giant mountainside so we can see the waterfalls. Emily and I are virtually alone with this stranger in the thin air, half way through a three-hour hike, and yet, standing with him overlooking the dotted villages below, I feel safer than I’ve felt in a long time.
Marrakech Day Trip to Ourika Valley
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We are exploring the Ouira valley region near Marrakech Morocco on a tour with Click Excursions, which we found and booked on GetYourGuide, a startup travel company that connect travelers with local guides.
Ourika valley is nestled high in the Atlas Mountains, home to the highest peak in North Africa. The region has long been home to the ancient Berber people. In the heat of Morocco’s summer, the rivers here are a popular escape for locals and tourists alike.
Our guide from Click Excursions, Ahmad Haddad, picked us up from Riad AnaYela for our private tour and drove us in a comfortable vehicle through rural Morocco to the valley region, sharing his knowledge of the region and Morocco with us.
Ahmad took a back road in a small village at the foot of the Atlas Mountains to show us his favorite lookout points.
My camera was quite happy.
Later we stopped at a local riverside café and Ahmad treated us to a cup of traditional Moroccan mint tea. Cafes like this, where tables and chairs kiss the shores of the rushing river, are numerous in the river, providing easy access to relief from the heat.
We cross the street and enter a locally-run argan oil women’s co-operative, where a kind woman explains the process of creating argan products.
We drive to the town of Setti Fatma and the scenery begins to look more and more like an Indiana Jones film, with dozens of perilous wooden bridges crossing the rivers.
In Setti Fatma we are introduced to Mohamad, who guides us up to the waterfalls. There are seven in the region in total and on our hike we visit two.
On the way back to Marrakech we ask Ahmad if we can stop at one of the camel ride operators that dot the roadside. Ahmad takes us to his favorite and helps us bargain down the price.
For twenty minutes, Emily and I live our Moroccan fantasy – though we may not be in the Sahara Desert, we are still riding camels in Africa! I don’t care if its cheesy and touristy – I love camels!
Of all the amazing adventures I had in Morocco, this day trip to the Ouira Valley region was one of my personal highlights.
The scenery was some of the best I’ve seen worldwide, and every single interaction I had with the local people was loving and peaceful. If you are headed to Marrakech you must take a day tour of this region!
Note: I received a voucher from GetYourGuide for the Ourika Valley Private Full-Day Tour. All thoughts and opinions are my own.