After spending my first night in Marrakech sleeping outside of Menara Airport, I was slightly overwhelmed and desperate to leave the city for a day. I eagerly set out to the main square that morning looking for an excursion. An hour later I was en route to Ourika Valley, nestled in the Atlas Mountains just 50 miles south of Marrakech.
The hour and a half drive was breathtaking. Along the way we stopped by Berber villages where the locals treated us to "harcha", honey, and mint tea. Upon arriving at our destination we put our most comfortable shoes on and began to venture up. The sun was scorching, but vendors along the hike invigorated us with cool water and fresh oranges. The rocks were slippery and each step was risky; I’d tremble and wobble along the way.
A sunburn and a little while later, we made it to the top. I looked down, drew in and blew out. I had finally faced my fear of heights.
They say a smooth sea never made a skillful mariner. My journey most certainly wasn’t smooth, however, undoubtedly rewarding.
Tours from Marrakech to Ourika Valley range between 500 DH to 700 DH ($60 USD-$85 USD). A donation for the guide is expected upon return (recommended 150 DH/$18 USD). Tour buses leave Jemaa el-Fnaa at 8:00 a.m. and return at 5:00 p.m.