5 years, 11 months ago
One of the greatest parts of Morocco has to be the Atlas Mountains. Squatting a few hours’ drive from the city of Marrakech, this mountain range weighs on the conscience, creating a vibe completely different to the rest of the country. The temperature is cooler, nature is at its prime and the only colours you’ll see have been produced naturally . Everything from food to interiors has been crafted using the natural surroundings, and the idea of anything ‘Made in China’ or superficial is completely alien to the people here.
As you drive up the slightly winding path that is the mountain road, you’ll feel as if you have entered a bazaar or something just as eclectic – where every 50 yards or so you come across stalls, interesting people, a chance to ride a camel or one of many other experiences just waiting for you to arrive and discover what they have to offer.
Flowing through the Atlas Mountains is the Ourika River. Within the Ourika Valley; locals utilize the easy access to running water in many ingenious ways. Some use it as their source of electricity and have built hydroelectric facilities, others use it to entertain tourists and have even placed parts of their restaurants quite literally into the water.
Trekking further into the valley, the surroundings become more forest like and leave you with the feeling of stepping into a scene from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Any of these exotic flowers and plants could easily have contained love potion dripped by Puck into the eyes of Lysander or Titania.
Many huts here sell a plethora of medicinal herbs, homemade fragrances and floral decorations for around the house.
This valley is known for being the home to many newly found species of flowers. It really is quite a marvel, getting the opportunity to see and smell these rare petals for yourself and…of course…take lots of pictures.
On a final note, it is definitely worth thinking about taking a guide for this adventure. There are many hidden little valleys, bubbling brooks and perfumed fields in these parts that you may not find without local knowledge. The locals jealously guard these most beautiful inner petals of this immense, stunning blossom.
Photos courtesy of Abi Marvel