The Ourika Valley is about 60km by road from Marrakech in Morrocco. Situated in the foothills of the High Atlas, it contains a number of Berber villages, female co-operatives manufacturing Argan oil and a set of waterfalls near the village of Ourika itself.
Most people visit the Ourika Valley as part of organised day trips from Marrakech. Most hotels, riads and hostels will be happy to arrange trips either with a private driver or as part of a larger tourist group. If you're feeling adventurous you could negotiate a fare route with a Grande Taxi which will work out a little cheaper, but be prepared to work out your own itinerary ahead of time. Most people will head up the valley to visit the waterfalls at Setti Fatma.
- 1 Berber Villages (several line the route along Ourika river). Most organised tours will stop off at one of them and give you a chance to walk around and maybe see inside a traditional Berber house. The villagers are used to tourists, so be prepared to be offered beaded necklaces and Berber jewellery at every corner.
- 2 Argan Oil Co-operatives. run entirely by women are situated in the valley. Although the Argan tree does not grow in this region, the kernels are processed here to produce cooking and cosmetic oil, soaps, creams and a dip for bread known as amlou. The co-operatives are run to support divorced or unemployed women in the local region. You can often visit and see the manual preparation of the oil from the kernels.
- Cross a Berber Bridge. The valley contains a number of rope bridges crossing the fast flowing river. A perfect opportunity for that daring photo - think Indiana Jones.
The entire valley seems to be focused on the tourist trade. At every stop on the road you will find people selling jewellery, trinkets or alabaster. Be warned that much of the amethyst being sold is fake.
- 1 Berber Market. Not very touristy.