Ourika Valley, Morocco
Setti Fatma Ourika Valley Reviews
Day out from Marrakech Nov 14, 2007
I know I am not the only one on this site who needs a day in the country during a predominantly urban break. In Marrakech I regarded the Ourika Valley trip as the greatest change and the most informative. I went on a trip run by 'Sahara Expeditions.' I had to go twice to book because they will not take money until they are assured of enough people to run the trip.
On the way we had two stops, one at a Bedouin house, where we could wander freely and ended up with 'Berber brandy' which is what they sometimes call peppermint tea! It was strange to pass between what seemed like two rooms of the house, only to find a couple of cows stretched out.
The second stop was at a shop selling argan oil. Argan trees once covered most of North Africa but are now largely restricted to parts of Morocco. We were able to see the processes from the cracking of the nut to the bottling of the oil. We were told that this is one of the few areas of production largely owned and run by women. I am not sure I believe this and would be glad for information from TBers. It could have been just a way of getting us to buy an expensive product; if so, it worked!
Then we went on to Setti Fatma, where the road turns into a track suitable only for 4 wheel drive. More traditional transport like mules and donkeys could be seen plying their way between villages. The main residential area and the church are set back above the road but there ae a couple of shops and a wealth of cafes around the roadside.
Setti Fatma is known for its 7 waterfalls walk but that s not for a one day trip from Marrakech. A guide meets the coach to take people to the first wo falls. He never says that it's part of the trip but everybody thought so. At the end he said what his tour cost, to the embarrassment of one young woman from New Zealand who was running short on cash.
I had told this woman what should happen if I were to have difficulty with my implanted heart machine. She spoke to the guide and he refused to take me - but sent for his nephew to give me a tour of the village. I was less than delighted but in retrospect I think I had the best of the deal. I have seen plenty of waterfalls but this was the only Bedouin village I have seen.
I ended up in a carpet warehouse to wait for the others. The owner gave me peppermint tea and declared that we were friends. He told me about the dreadful traders who used high pressure methods. he would never do that! but perhaps I would like to look at the carpets -he unrolled some - were there any I liked less than te others? - he folded them up again. Just suppose there should be a carpet that I liked, he would give me a great price because we were friends. Of course he knew that people did not come on a day out expecting to buy a carpet - but he would bring it to my riad in the evening and I could pay by card. Eventually he gave up on me but when the others arrived, he started the same spiel with them - using me as an example of how he never employed high pressure. He almost got a sale!
I joined three women from three different countries for a meal out by the river and then we made our way abck to the coach for our return.
Part of the Marrakech - 2007 travel blog
Part of the list Moroccan marvels in Marrakech
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