The Ouirgane Valley shelters in the foothills of Morocco’s High Atlas mountains. It’s stunning scenery and untouched Berber villages are a joy to visit.

The dedicated multi-day trekkers head up Jebel Toubkal, Morocco’s highest mountain. The Marrakech day trippers descend in droves on the Ourika Valley. Somewhere in the middle, those looking to get off the beaten track and explore a more remote part of Morocco without a strenuous mountain ascent, head to the Ouirgane Valley.

This rusty red valley sits in the foothills of the High Atlas mountains. Its soft rock, shaped over millennia by wind and rain, provides a beautiful setting for the Berber villages that line the rivers and perch on the hills. Within the villages, you have the privilege of witnessing a very traditional way of life. Small crops are tended by farm animals and woman work long days to provide basic supplies for their families’ survival.

Yet in spite of this hard way of life, Berbers are some of the friendliest and most generous people we have ever met. Even in Ramadan, when devout locals were fasting throughout the day, lunch would be prepared for us in their homes with the produce obtained from their small plots of land. We would have paid a lot for the experience alone, but the Berbers would accept no payment.

While the Ouirgane Valley itself is reason enough, the magnificent High Atlas scenery is only a short hike or drive away. Here, snow-capped mountains rise over deep-cut canyons and a patchwork of green fields hug valley floors and terraced slopes.

Like many other places in the High Atlas, this valley is slowly modernizing and opening its doors to tourism. So come before it’s too late.

Hike Through 5 Berber Villages and Share Lunch with the Locals

The Berber villages that line the Ouirgane valley are still relatively untouched by tourism. This 4-hour hike allows you to visit 5 of them. The valley is rich in foods that have become staples for its inhabitants and it’s a pleasure to explore such an organic way of life. Plum, blackberry, olive, figs, carob, and almond trees line the riverbanks. Onions, potatoes, alfalfa, wheat, and barley cover the valley floor in brilliant green. The sweet smell of mint, thyme, and rosemary rises from the paths.

The 5 villages are all a little different but the highlight is Tikhfist. Perched on the hill with views over the valley our guide took us into a Berber house where we met 105-year-old Mohammed. His French was almost as limited as mine so after a fitful conversation, we named capital cities of Europe.

For lunch, Mohammed’s daughter served us a Berber tagine with walnuts – one of the must-try foods in Morocco. Unable to partake themselves due to Ramadan, we ate while Mohammed reeled off more capital cities. The friendly hospitality was a highlight of our trip to Morocco.

The hike finished by descending through Agouni, where our guide showed us his own home and crops, before returning to Ouirgane. It took a total of 4 hours at a slow pace, including time for lunch and plenty of photos.

Our original intention was to explain how you could do the hike yourself but to be honest, it’s much better doing this one with a local guide. Not only are the paths in and out of the villages difficult to find, but the real highlight is eating lunch in a Berber house, which would be difficult to achieve on your own. In particular, Ouirgane would be the perfect destination for a culinary tour of Morocco.

Taylor Ford
Taylor Ford
2024-01-08
After researching several resorts for our honeymoon and being overwhelmed to the max, I decided to reach out to Amanda and see if she could help us. We told her all of our wants and needs, and she came up with different options for us and we picked what suited us best; but her service didn’t end there! She got our E-tickets set up for when we landed in the Dominican Republic, set up our travel to and from the airport and really just made our trip that much LESS stressful for it being my first time out of the country. On our way back, one of our flights got delayed until the next day and Amanda was even helping us with getting all of that stuff set up since our airline was absolutely no help at all. absolutely no help. I’m already thinking of the next place I want to go so that I can have Amanda start planning for me! THANK YOU TIMES A MILLION AMANDA!!!
braden mauppins
braden mauppins
2023-12-26
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Laura Ward
Laura Ward
2023-11-08
Katie set everything up from our departing plane tickets to bringing us back home. We went on tour around Olympic National Park over 5 days. She set up all the hotels for us, a cruise around the port in Seattle, and even a sea plane tour. She included little notes/suggestions of things to do in each area. It was absolutely amazing. There is no way I could have planned all that out my self, with that low of cost. Will definitely use her for future vacations.
Christopher Lynch
Christopher Lynch
2023-11-08
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Christi Downes
Christi Downes
2023-10-17
I recently booked and had an all ladies trip to Greece with Katie. She was so helpful and answered all my questions regarding my travel plans. She even provided additional information and tips that I had not even thought about for the trip. I highly recommend her for all your travel needs.
Bernadette Armstead
Bernadette Armstead
2023-10-05
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Leslie Rutledge
Leslie Rutledge
2023-10-04
From the beginning, Katie made sure that this trip of a life time for my husband and I would be perfect and this trip was Exceptional!! From start to finish and even during if I had a question or little change it was done. I highly recommend Prince Destinations, she is my forever travel agent, her knowledge of the different areas, accommodating the travel for handicap travelers I can’t say enough. Best trip of my life.
Melissa Bell
Melissa Bell
2023-10-04
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Jean-Maria Langley
Jean-Maria Langley
2023-09-29
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Vicki Taylor
Vicki Taylor
2023-09-21
The trip was awesome, very well planned, and loved the free time to do what I wanted!! Katie was very patient and understanding when a problem came up. I am looking forward to booking my next trip with Katie ❤️
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