Keep close to Nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean. -John Muir
What is the Valley of Paradise?
Is an oasis in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains consisting of cold natural pools surrounded by mountains and palm trees. Both locals and tourists love this place because of how fresh and blue-turquoise the water looks in the summer. It is quite spectacular the position of the rocks on top of the water and that makes it a perfect place for diving. There are two pools at a distance of 15-minute hike of each other (most of the tourists though remain at the first pool).
How to reach the Valley of Paradise?
When I first went to Paradise Valley, together with some Moroccan friends from Marrakech we took a wrong road and I remember we ended up somewhere in the mountains, where only some sheep could be seen.
In fact, to reach the valley isn’t rocket science, especially lately as this destination became very popular if you are visiting Agadir or Taghazout. It is one of the most popular attractions of the Sous Messa region.
If traveling from Agadir or Taghazout with the car will take you less than an hour. If you are an adventurer and would like to try public transportation will take up to two hours. There aren’t buses available but shared taxis, called Grand taxi, and you will have to wait until the driver is satisfied with the number of the customers in his vehicle (usually he waits until is packed full). That will cost you between 25 -50 MAD, depending on the time of the day, season, and how good are you at bargaining.
If you travel by car than from Aourir, a.k.a the Banana Village – a small village on the coast, at the roundabout you should take right, direction to Immouzzer (a beautiful waterfall 2 hours drive from Valley of Paradise). Simply follow P1001 from Aourir, it’s a straightforward road. The last 30 minutes of your ride will get a bit rougher. In some areas, it’s a dirt road and currently, there’s a bunch of constructions going on and sometimes, depending on the season, the traffic can get busy.
Overall, depends on how lucky you are with the traffic in the day you decided to visit the Valley, the season and if the construction vehicles are on the road or nicely parked along the road.
What to do in the Valley of Paradise?
Chill and enjoy the coldness of the water in a country where the temperature goes up, up, and up!
Or, you can also jump off the cliffs into the deep gorge pools below. There are plenty of locals and tourists doing it so you will have an example of how and from which cliff exactly.
Last year there was a tourist girl that wanted so much to jump but was afraid and thanks to the crowd that was clapping hands to cheer and encourage, she finally jumped. It’s one example of how the locals and tourists that are at the pools became like a big family that shares beautiful and fun moments together.
While hiking to reach the valley there are some small terraces, more like food stalls. The chairs and the tables are sometimes placed directly in the river (to cool down) and you can enjoy a nice meal (tajine or kefta, grilled minced meat) or a freshly made orange juice.
Or, as many Moroccans do, if you come prepared you can prepare a picnic by the water. There are lots of Moroccan families that bring their food and blankets and stay all day long to enjoy a nice meal in nature, swim, and kids to play around. If you have children be aware of the danger and keep an eye on them as the pools are quite deep. Don’t allow them to go alone deep into the water!
From the place where you park the car, the hike isn’t difficult and I advise you to have some sport shoes as you will go up and down the mountain. The locals usually go with flip flops but if you don’t want to have slipped on the small rocks better have shoes.
When to visit the Valley?
The valley can be either a lush, fresh oasis with deep and turquoise pools or a very dry place with very little water in the pools. All depends on the season and if it’s raining.
Also, the local villages are using the water from the Ankrim river that the valley runs its course and the irrigations may thin the water substantially.
During the spring there are fewer tourists (and it’s still a very pleasant temperature outside) and the pools have more water than during the last months of the summer where there are plenty of tourists and the pools are shallow.
It upon you! However, no matter when you make to the valley you will still enjoy the magnificent surroundings, the many palm trees and the mountains around.
If you go to visit the valley with an organized tour you will most probably be stopped at one of the argan cooperatives where will have the chance to see how the argan oil, cosmetic and eatable, is produced. If you love ceramics you can get some pretty good deals buying from the roadside stalls that sell fossils and ceramics.
I’ve also heard about tourists that got disappointed when visiting the valley. Maybe because they had too big expectations or maybe they didn’t have good timing with the seasons.
Whatsoever, if you are a nature lover I would say it’s quite impossible to get disappointed because the location and the hike itself is filling you with beautiful energy. From my point of view, the valley is worth it and its name says everything!
If coming to Morocco are you planning to discover this piece of heaven?