The Paradise Valley and Immouzer
The trip up to Immouzer des Ida Outanane – via Paradise Valley, a beautiful palm-lined gorge – is a superb excursion from Agadir. It is feasible in a day (Immouzer is 62km from Agadir) but much more enjoyable if you stay the night at one or other of the superb auberges or take time to explore and camp in the valley.
The 7002 road to Immouzer is surfaced the whole way; it leaves the N1 coast road at Aourir, 12km north of Agadir (make sure you take the righthand fork in the village – the left-hand one is a dead-end, up a palmery). A daily bus leaves Agadir Thursdays at 7am, other days at 1pm (from a small parking area on Bd Mohammed Cheikh Saâdi, 200m southeast of its junction with Av du 29 Février), arriving in Immouzer four hours later; on Thursdays it goes back later in the day, otherwise it returns the following morning at 7am. Alternatively, take a grand taxi or city bus to Aourir, from where there are shared grands taxis to Immouzer, though mostly on Thursday for the weekly souk.
A surfaced road also connects Immouzer with the N8 Agadir–Marrakesh road, allowing easy access from Ameskroud, Taroudannt or Marrakesh, a highly scenic route.
Paradise Valley begins around 10km east of Aourir, as the road sweeps down into a deep, palm-lined gorge, with a river snaking along the base. The best stretch starts just after the turn-off for Immouzer. You can hire a mule to explore the valley’s numerous Berber villages, and it’s a glorious place to camp, though pitch your tent well away from the riverbed in case of flash floods.
Immouzer des Ida Outanane and beyond
IMMOUZER DES IDA OUTANANE is a minor regional and market centre (of the Ida Outanane, as its full name suggests). The waterfall, for which the village was renowned, is nearby, and was best seen at its foot, 4km downhill to the northwest. Unfortunately the falls have been very adversely affected by drought over the last few years; tight control of irrigation now reduces the cascade on most occasions to a trickle, with the villagers “turning on” the falls for special events only. However, the petrified canopy of the falls is of interest in its own right, and there’s a full plunge pool.
There’s a hamlet just across the stream from the foot of the falls, and a café (Café de Miel) with basic food, near which you can camp out in the olive groves. The whole area is perfect for walkers. You can follow any of the paths with enjoyment – a good one, near the village, cuts up across the cliffs to the Hôtel des Cascades – or even trek off to the Marrakesh road . The birdlife adds an exciting dimension, with birds of prey commonplace; Bonelli’s eagle is a good bet, and you might well spot golden eagles or crag martins.
In Immouzer village, there’s a souk every Thursday. The local speciality is honey, made by bees that browse on wild thyme, lavender and other mountain herbs. There’s also a honey moussem every August for a week starting in the middle of the month.