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Natural Splendour

Posted: 25th January 2016 08:39

Cascades D’Ouzoud

If majestic waterfalls are your thing, then head to the Cascades D’Ouzoud just a few hours from the Imperial city of Marrakesh.  These picture perfect falls are found in the Middle Atlas Mountains and the water crashes down 100 metres against a lush green backdrop.  Bring your camera to capture the beautiful scenes as the sunlight creates rainbows in the falls in the late afternoon.

You may be pleased to learn that the area is relatively untouched by commercialism, despite being a tourist spot for many years.  At most there are small stalls selling orange juice made from local oranges and indigenous Berber tents with traditional wares on offer.  It is an excellent place to camp for the night with several sites available.

The river which the waterfall cascades into is a swimming paradise, the perfect way to cool off in the summer time.  Keep an eye out for the Barbary apes that inhabit the area, they can usually be found drinking from the natural pools around dawn.

Todgha Gorge

Situated amongst the east High Atlas Mountains, this mighty canyon has been carved out of the rock by two rivers, the Todgha and Dades.  Around 40 kilometres long, the gorge can be reached easily from the nearby town of Tinehir.

Somewhat surprisingly, there is a well maintained paved road running the length of the gorge which makes it a gentle hike and you might see locals walking with pack animals such as donkeys, or herding goats along the way.

The last 600 metres or so of the canyon are the most spectacular, where it narrows dramatically and the walls become steep and sheer.  These reach up over 150 metres into the sky.  For this reason, Todgha Gorge is popular with rock climbers with a taste for the gorgeous scenery of the red rock against the blue sky.  People of all abilities come here to test their skills and are well served by the local hawkers, many of whom claim to be former rock climbers themselves.

ERG Chebbi

When you think of Morocco’s natural splendour, it’s difficult not to think of the endless orange dunes of the Sahara desert rising and falling like a stormy ocean.  The best place to witness this is at Erg Chebbi, where the sands change colour from rusty red to gold depending on the weather and the time of day.

Around 60 kilometres south from the nearest town Erfoud, the dunes can be an amazing sight, many miles long with no signs of human interference.  However, in recent years tourism has begun to take hold.  For example, if you take a trip in the summer then you will find people buried up to the neck in sand, a traditional cure for joint ailments.  Such oddities can take some of sparkle away from seeing this usually desolate landscape in all its glory. 

The best way to expore Erg Chebbi is by camel.  Camel treks with an overnight stay are common place, and really allow a visitor to get a flavour of the life of a desert nomad.  Remember that at night it can get very cold, so warm clothing and bedding is strongly advised.