Sources Oum er-Rbia

Aguelma Azigza National Park / near Khenifra / Middle Atlas Mountains, Khenifra Province, Morocco

Rating: 2.5     Difficulty: 2
A waterfall at Sources Oum er-Rbia

TABLE OF CONTENTS



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INTRODUCTION

The Sources Oum er-Rbia was said to be where some 40 springs feed the beginning of Morocco's second largest river (said to be over 600km) eventually making its way into the Atlantic Ocean at Azemmour. It was said that there were many other waterfalls here, but as you can see from the photo at the top of this page, we managed to visit just one very attractive waterfall, which I'd imagine came from at least one of these springs. This lone waterfall sighting was good enough for us as its backdrop consisted of tall red cliffs that were very reminiscent of the kind of scenery you might find in Southern Utah or Northern Arizona, and it was this unusual setting of water (let alone a pretty waterfall) set in such seemingly harsh landscapes that made this falls stand out to us.

Further adding to the atmosphere and uniqueness of this experience was that there was village built right around the gushing Oum er-Rbia River on the way up to the falls. As we passed through this village, on both sides of the river's banks, there were sit-on-the-floor outdoor restaurants and tea rooms where we could literally enjoy a relaxing lunch right against the loud rush of water. We actually stopped to have a lunch in one of these local cafes, where we had perhaps one of the tastiest locally-sourced chicken tagines we've had on this trip. It's hard to describe in words just how charming and magical in a very Moroccan way this unusual experience was, and hopefully the pictures and videos on this page can convey that.

As for the waterfall excursion itself, we were driven to a scenic car park right at the base of the village where there was a very clear pool towered over by huge red cliffs. We then walked uphill for roughly 15 minutes into the heart of the Oum er-Rbia village. It was an additional five minutes or so further upstream from the village passing through a bridge fronted by a Berber local collecting a modest sum of a few dirhams to continue to get to the dead-end right at the base of the waterfall. Although the water near the car park looked very clear, the plunge pool at the base of the falls had a more Colorado River-like brownish color.

Now I did notice that there were a couple of paths branching off the main one that we took to the waterfall shown here. I wasn't sure if these paths led to other springs and waterfalls or if they were just leading to other parts of the village. Since we didn't explore them, we can't say anything more. So overall, we had spent about a couple hours in this spot, but that included a lunch as well as a short tea break after our short hike. The walk itself was family friendly enough that we were able to take Tahia without needing a child carrier. Perhaps most of the time was really spent just driving here, which I'll go more into in the directions writeup below.

Finally, another thing we noticed about this falls was that there was a sign saying "Cascade Khedoud" on the way to the waterfall. I don't know if this sign was referring to the main waterfall here or if the sign referred to a much smaller cascade further downstream. I've also seen this waterfall referred to as Oum Errabiaa as well as the Source de l'Oum-er-Rbia.




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PHOTO JOURNAL

About three hour's drive north of the Sources Oum er-Rbia was the atmospheric and historical city of Fes with its huge medina filled with labyrinths of narrow walkways full of souks and pedestriansAbout three hour's drive north of the Sources Oum er-Rbia was the atmospheric and historical city of Fes with its huge medina filled with labyrinths of narrow walkways full of souks and pedestrians
Just to give you an idea of just how big the medina of Fes is, this panorama shows just a fraction of it. Imagine the tight alleyways of the medina flanked by tall buildings filling all you see here!Just to give you an idea of just how big the medina of Fes is, this panorama shows just a fraction of it. Imagine the tight alleyways of the medina flanked by tall buildings filling all you see here!
About an hour's drive west of Fes was the city of Meknes, which itself featured its share of attractions such as the Mausoleum of Moulay Idriss and its elaborate interior shown hereAbout an hour's drive west of Fes was the city of Meknes, which itself featured its share of attractions such as the Mausoleum of Moulay Idriss and its elaborate interior shown here
Just north of Meknes and northwest of Fes were the Roman ruins of Volubilis, which was yet another surprising aspect of our visit to MoroccoJust north of Meknes and northwest of Fes were the Roman ruins of Volubilis, which was yet another surprising aspect of our visit to Morocco
Because the Sources Oum er'Rbia was a bit out of the way in rural Morocco, it wasn't surprising to encounter sheep jams like this on the way thereBecause the Sources Oum er'Rbia was a bit out of the way in rural Morocco, it wasn't surprising to encounter sheep jams like this on the way there

Looking down at the fertile valley flanked by harsh and unforgiving landscapes the further away from the Oum er-Rbia River you goLooking down at the fertile valley flanked by harsh and unforgiving landscapes the further away from the river you go

Looking down at the landscape of one of the villages we had seen en route to Oum er-RbiaLooking down at the landscape of one of the villages we had seen en route to our destination

This was the car park for the Sources Oum er-Rbia, and as you can see here, the landscape was beautiful with the cliffs as well as the clear water belowThis was the car park, and as you can see here, the landscape was beautiful with the cliffs as well as the clear water below

Walking through the village to get closer to the Sources Oum er-RbiaWalking through the village to get closer to the source

Context of the landscape and the walkway flanked by shelters, shops, and restaurantsContext of the landscape and the walkway flanked by shelters, shops, and restaurants

A calm part of the river (or a feeding stream) flanked by numerous shelters and mule parksA calm part of the river (or a feeding stream) flanked by numerous shelters and mule parks

Looking down over one of the cascades en route to the Sources Oum er-Rbia with the car park in the distanceLooking down over one of the cascades en route to the source with the car park in the distance

Continuing the slight uphill walk further into the village near the Source Oum er-RbiaContinuing the slight uphill walk further into the village near the source

Looking down at the Oum er-Rbia River rushing through the local village at the sourceLooking down at the river rushing through the local village at the source

Context of the village we lingered at for lunch with the Oum er-Rbia River gushing below and the picturesque cliffs towering aboveContext of the village we lingered at for lunch with the river gushing below and the picturesque cliffs towering above

Descending down towards one of the restaurants flanking the Oum er-Rbia RiverDescending down towards one of the restaurants flanking the river

Relaxing at the restaurant where we would have one of the freshest and tastiest locally-sourced tagines that we'd have all trip longRelaxing at the restaurant where we would have one of the freshest and tastiest locally-sourced tagines that we'd have all trip long

Looking downstream along the Oum er-Rbia River from the cafe that we had lunch atLooking downstream along the river from the cafe that we had lunch at

After the lunch, we continued walking further to the source of the Oum er-RbiaAfter the lunch, we continued walking further to the source of the river

At a point where the landscape started to dominate more than the village structures. One of the white signs shown here had the words 'Cascade Khedoud'At a point where the landscape started to dominate more than the village structures. One of the white signs shown here had the words "Cascade Khedoud"

Following this stream up to its source as the cliff walls started to rapidly close in on usFollowing this stream up to its source as the cliff walls started to rapidly close in on us

Looking downstream at the head of the village near the Sources Oum er-RbiaLooking downstream at the head of the village near the source

Waiting our turn to pay the dirhams then cross the footbridges to continueWaiting our turn to pay the dirhams then cross the footbridges to continue

Starting to get our first glimpses of the main waterfall at the Sources Oum er-RbiaStarting to get our first glimpses of the main waterfall at the source

Finally at the waterfall at the Sources Oum er-RbiaFinally at the waterfall at the Sources Oum er-Rbia

While the water down by the car park was very clear, it was amazingly brown at the base of the waterfall at the Sources Oum er-RbiaWhile the water down by the car park was very clear, it was amazingly brown at the base of the waterfall at the source

Making our way back towards the villageMaking our way back towards the village

Crossing back over the footbridge where we paid a Berber local a modest sum of dirhamsCrossing back over the footbridge where we paid a Berber local a modest sum of dirhams

Re-joining the village as we left the waterfall at the Sources Oum er-RbiaRe-joining the village as we left the waterfall at the source

This was one of the side routes that I noticed, but we didn't have the time to explore where it wentThis was one of the side routes that I noticed, but we didn't have the time to explore where it went

Going past one of many mules we saw on the footpath between the car park and the heart of the villageGoing past one of many mules we saw on the footpath between the car park and the heart of the village

Making our way back down to the car parkMaking our way back down to the car park


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VIDEOS OF THE FALLS


Checking out the traditional Moroccan restaurant situated next to the Oum er-Rbia River near its source. By the way, this place had some of the freshest and tastiest chicken tagines and Moroccan tea we've had on our trip.


Checking out the waterfall and cove along with the picturesque red cliffs surrounding us at the source of the Oum er-Rbia River.


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DRIVING DIRECTIONS

The Sources Oum er-Rbia was roughly 160km south of Fes. It took our driver roughly 3 hours to get from here to the city of Fes via Ifrane National Park and the town of Ifrane (which unfortunately we didn't have time to linger around this "Swiss-style" city). So it would require a full day if we were based in Fes and did this as a day tour, which was our original plan before our tour operator suggested something more efficient.

Speaking of being efficient, we actually visited this waterfall along the way as we drove from Bin el-Ouidane (an intermediate stop between Marrakech and Fes). It took our driver roughly 5 hours to go from Bin el-Ouidane to the Sources Oum er-Rbia. This should at least give you an idea of how much time to allocate when planning for your trip.

Again, as for specific directions, since we were on a fully escorted custom tour, we can't give give such directions since we didn't drive ourselves.




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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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