About Imi n’Ifri Waterfalls
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.
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.
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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