Imi n'Ifri Waterfalls

Demnate / High Atlas Mountains, Azilal Province, Morocco

Rating: 1.5     Difficulty: 2
A pair of separate waterfalls fronting the natural bridge of Imi n'Ifri

TABLE OF CONTENTS



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INTRODUCTION

The Imi n'Ifri Waterfalls were essentially my waterfalling excuse to talk about the impressive natural bridge of Imi n'Ifri. In fact, when Julie and I planned for our trip to Morocco, we wanted to visit this natural bridge to essentially provide a little more diversity of sights in that we'd be doing something else besides medinas and waterfalls. We didn't expect to see any waterfalls on this excursion. But when we made the visit, we were surprised to see at least four waterfalls that caught our attention, and this compelled me to reconsider my position of treating this as a non-waterfall excursion. And thus this page was born.

Our visit was essentially a guided loop walk that passed through the natural bridge (really more of a collapsed cave as it was said Imi n'Ifri was Berber for "Grotto's Mouth"). Technically, I suppose the walk itself didn't really require a guide, but there were some spots where the sure-footed guide helped us carry our daughter where there was drop-off exposure. In any case, we started from some buildings at the junction of the R307 and R302 roads (see directions below). There was a lookout area right across the road looking down towards a stream and some pools. It turned out that this lookout was right above the natural bridge itself so it couldn't be seen from here.

The Imi n'Ifri Natural Bridge opening that resembled the map of Africa From there, we followed the R307 road to the southeast (heading away from Demnate and doing the loop counterclockwise) until there was a foot trail that descended along a wide ledge down towards the stream that would ultimately pass through the Imi n'Ifri Natural Bridge. On the way down to the stream, we saw the first waterfall tumbling down the west-facing cliff. Since it didn't have high volume, I suspect that deeper into the Summer, this falls would cease to flow.

Next, after crossing the stream to get under the west-facing cliffs, we then walked in the downstream direction along a somewhat rough and muddy trail leading to a dropoff-exposed ledge going right through the natural bridge's opening. This was probably the spot where it was most beneficial for us to have a guide though it seemed doable without one if you're careful. As we walked along this ledge, I noticed a hard-to-see waterfall that was on the stream flowing through this natural bridge so it could be considered reliable. It wasn't possible to improve the views from this ledge so I had to be content with partial views of the falls from here.

Once within the long tunnel-like span of the natural bridge, as we looked west, the opening was such that it resembled the map of Africa. Walking a little further towards the "Africa-shaped" opening, when we looked back in the other direction, the other opening loosely resembled the map of South America. By now, we were near the level of the stream, and it was here that I asked the guide whether we could've scrambled upstream to attain a better view of the second waterfall. Unfortunately, he said doing that would require getting wet and it wasn't very safe. So we passed on that.

As we emerged out of the opening on the "Africa" side (and hence the cool and shaded confines of the Imi n'Ifri Natural Bridge), we rock scrambled near the stream before the terrain started opening up again. Out here, we saw the last two waterfalls in the area. One was double-barreled small falls that seemed to double as a tiny swimming hole for some of the kids that were here. The other was a much taller but thinner cascade streaking between some green moss before eventually joining up with the plunge pool of the smaller falls then flowing further downstream where man-made dams helped create even more swimming holes to offset the intense desert heat.

We concluded our visit with a sun-exposed climb up a concrete path that ultimately led back up to our starting point at the R307/R302 junction. Overall, this excursion took us two hours though we had spent quite a bit of time relaxing and going at a very deliberate pace. So conceivably, you may require less time here to fully experience this place.


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PHOTO JOURNAL

It was about a two-hour drive to get from Marrakech (and its myriad of sights like the Koutoubbia Mosque shown here) to Imi n'IfriIt was about a two-hour drive to get from Marrakech (and its myriad of sights like the Koutoubbia Mosque shown here) to Imi n'Ifri
The historical and atmospheric square of Djemaa el-Fna in the medina of Marrakech was THE place to be at sunset and later, and it's perhaps the prime reason why Marrakech is very popular with touristsThe historical and atmospheric square of Djemaa el-Fna in the medina of Marrakech was THE place to be at sunset and later, and it's perhaps the prime reason why Marrakech is very popular with tourists
Another one of the atmospheric allures of visiting the medina of Marrakech was to get lost in the labyrinth of alleyways and markets (souks) such as this oneAnother one of the atmospheric allures of visiting the medina of Marrakech was to get lost in the labyrinth of alleyways and markets (souks) such as this one
Looking back towards the town of Demnate as we were making our way to Imi n'IfriLooking back towards the town of Demnate as we were making our way to Imi n'Ifri

Looking back at the start and endpoint of our Imi n'Ifri excursionLooking back at the start and endpoint of our Imi n'Ifri excursion

Looking downstream from the lookout near the start of our hike at Imi n'IfriLooking downstream from the lookout near the start of our hike

Looking down at the 320 steps or so that we'd have to go up in order to complete our Imi n'Ifri loop hikeLooking down at the 320 steps or so that we'd have to go up in order to complete our loop hike

Walking along the R307 road towards the start of our counterclockwise loop hike through Imi n'IfriWalking along the R307 road towards the start of our counterclockwise loop hike

Following our guide down this backway to the quieter end of the Imi n'Ifri Natural BridgeFollowing our guide down this "backway" to the quieter end of the natural bridge

Julie and Tahia up ahead as the trail was about to descend a few switchbacks to get down to the level of the stream passing through Imi n'IfriJulie and Tahia up ahead as the trail was about to descend a few switchbacks to get down to the level of the stream passing through Imi n'Ifri

Julie descending towards the first waterfall that we saw at Imi n'IfriJulie descending towards the first waterfall

Looking towards the context of the 'back' opening of the Imi n'Ifri Natural BridgeLooking towards the context of the "back" opening of the natural bridge

Closer look up at the first waterfall we encountered at Imi n'IfriCloser look up at the first waterfall we encountered at Imi n'Ifri

A little bit of a rugged and muddy scramble to get between these rocks then up to the ledge trail passing through the Imi n'Ifri Natural BridgeA little bit of a rugged and muddy scramble to get between these rocks then up to the ledge trail passing through the natural bridge

All of us following the guide along the exposed ledge trail entering the span of Imi n'IfriAll of us following the guide along the exposed ledge trail entering the span of Imi n'Ifri

Julie staying away from the dropoffs as she followed the ledge trail through the Imi n'Ifri Natural BridgeJulie staying away from the dropoffs as she followed the ledge trail through the natural bridge

A lot of dropoff exposure beneath the span of the Imi n'Ifri Natural BridgeA lot of dropoff exposure beneath the span of the natural bridge

Partial view back at the second waterfall, which was actually on the main stream so this one probably has longevityPartial view back at the second waterfall, which was actually on the main stream so this one probably has longevity

Approaching the Imi n'Ifri opening as it was starting to resemble the map of AfricaApproaching the opening as it was starting to resemble the map of Africa

Julie and Tahia spotted a lot of these beetles crowding within a crack in the wall of the natural bridge at Imi n'IfriJulie and Tahia spotted a lot of these beetles crowding within a crack in the wall of the natural bridge

Looking back at the second waterfall though our guide discouraged us from scrambling to get a closer lookLooking back at the second waterfall though our guide discouraged us from scrambling to get a closer look

Looking back at the other opening of Imi n'Ifri vaguely resembling South AmericaLooking back at the other opening of Imi n'Ifri vaguely resembling South America

This thin cascade was the third waterfall we encountered near Imi n'IfriThis thin cascade was the third waterfall we encountered

This double-barreled small falls fronting Imi n'Ifri was the fourth and last waterfall we noticedThis double-barreled small falls fronting Imi n'Ifri was the fourth and last waterfall we noticed

Direct look up at the third waterfall near Imi n'IfriDirect look up at the third waterfall

Looking downstream from Imi n'Ifri at pools and people cooling off in themLooking downstream from the natural bridge at pools and people cooling off in them

Going back up the steps to conclude our loop hike through Imi n'IfriGoing back up the steps to conclude our loop hike through Imi n'Ifri

Looking towards a wall underneath the road full of graffiti at Imi n'IfriLooking towards a wall underneath the road full of graffiti


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VIDEOS OF THE FALLS


Taking a look at the first of the small cascades around the Imi n'Ifri Natural Bridge before scrambling for a better look at one side of the natural bridge opening iteslf


Sweep starting with a partial view of cascade on the stream responsible for the natural bridge before sweeping towards the natural bridge opening itself resembling the Map of Africa


Sweep starting off by examining the cascades and swimming holes on the sunny side of the arch opening before revealing the natural bridge itself then panning over to more swimming holes and cascades further downstream


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DRIVING DIRECTIONS

The Imi n'Ifri Natural Bridge was about 6km east of the town of Demnate (or Demnat). It took our driver about a little over two hours to drive from Marrakech to the Imi n'Ifri Natural Bridge start of the loop hike (passing by a couple of police checks en route). Our driver also took about 75 minutes to get from here to Cascades d'Ouzoud, which was our next excursion that day.




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ITINERARIES

For more information about our itineraries involving this waterfall, check out the following links.




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MAP OF THE FALLS



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TRIP REPORTS

For more information about our experiences with this waterfall, check out the following travel stories.




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TRIP PLANNING RESOURCES




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NEARBY WATERFALLS




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