About 15km East of Aourir is a place called Paradise Valley. It is a place most people will visit on a tour with a surf camp and is well worth the trip. We really love the whole area but seldom go to the tourist place as it’s just not for us, but we do love going to the more secluded areas and taking the dogs for a swim and relax.
We have had lots of rain recently, so one of the best times to visit the area is a week after the rain has stopped. The rivers are full but not flooding and the plants are all turning green and looking amazing. It’s been a few weeks since the last really heavy rain, so we thought we would go and take a look.
Last year, a new road was being built, the other side of the mountain from the old one. Last time we went along it, there was no tarmac just dirt and the road really was not finished, but we could still pass. We decided to take this road today and see how it stood up to the flooding and if it was passable. As you go through Aourir, go straight on and not right as we used to go, then the road heads off into the mountains.
The first thing we noticed is how green everything was – the rains have brought all the plantlife out in full glory. Next was the huge amount of damage done by the flooding. The road was pretty much undamaged, but where the water had such force, foundations were damaged and all the edges were in need of repairs. Amazingly, at one section where you have to cross the river, the small bridge was intact, I am guessing because the water washed over it rather than under it.
As we approached the intersection at Imimiki you could see the village took a real battering. Being so remote the residents must have struggled to survive the worst of the storm, but still the villagers waved and smiled as always and just get on with life.
We took the road to Immouser towards Paradise Valley, soon to be stopped as the landslides had closed the road beyond, ending our quest. Not to be put off by this, we parked up, got the dogs out and walked up the river bed. The water was so clean and cold and full of small fish so we let the dogs run around and swim whilst we chilled and enjoyed the sunshine and the greenery around us.
The two Labradors loved the river – its been awhile since they were in sweetwater as they now normally swim in the sea, so they made the most of it. Even Millie our Moroccan Sloughi got in the river, and she hates water of any description. I think she just got caught up in the excitement of it all – she has never been in a river before and the others showed her how fun it could be!
After a while, we decided to drive back the way we came and take in the scenery. On the way there we were more interested in the road conditions and not the surroundings, but coming back we took our time and drank it all in. I saw poppies for the first time in Morocco and also tons of wild garlic in flower. The difference the rain makes to the plant life is unbelievable.
Driving back through the small villages we noticed a honey and argan shop – how we missed it on the way up I have no idea. These little community businesses are amazing, shame it was closed but next time we come we will go a bit later and visit it – the honey and argan will be amazing and really cheap, also we want to support all local producers as well.
We also noticed a really unusual banana plantation, high up the river bank. It must have taken days to cut the rocks away to allow the banana trees to be planted in terraces like this. The bananas in the Aourir area are famous for their tiny size but powerful flavour.
Here is a gallery of some of the pictures from today, but our advice is to go and see for yourself, either under your own steam or with a group.