Imi n'Ifri Waterfalls

Demnate / High Atlas Mountains, Azilal Province, Morocco

About Imi n’Ifri Waterfalls


Hiking Distance: 2km loop; some scrambling
Suggested Time: 1.5-2 hours

Date first visited: 2015-05-17
Date last visited: 2015-05-17

Waterfall Latitude: 31.7251
Waterfall Longitude: -6.97185

The Imi n’Ifri Waterfalls (or Imi nifri) 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.

Imi_Nifri_149_05172015 - Imi n'Ifri and one of the Imi n'Ifri Waterfalls
Imi n’Ifri and one of the Imi n’Ifri 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.

Therefore, 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, which was really more of a collapsed cave as it was said Imi n’Ifri was Berber for “Grotto’s Mouth”.

Imi_Nifri_068_05172015 - Context of the 'Map of Africa' as we were passing through the Imi n'Ifri Natural Bridge
Context of the ‘Map of Africa’ as we were passing through the Imi n’Ifri Natural Bridge

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.

The Loop Walk through Imi n’Ifri

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.

Imi_Nifri_002_05172015 - Looking downstream from the top of the Imi n'Ifri Natural Bridge
Looking downstream from the top of the Imi n’Ifri Natural Bridge

From there, we followed the R307 road to the southeast as we headed away from Demnate and starting the loop walk in a counterclockwise manner.

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.

Imi_Nifri_041_05172015 - Close-up look at one of the side waterfalls spilling near the upper opening of the Imi n'Ifri Natural Bridge
Close-up look at one of the side waterfalls spilling near the upper opening of the Imi n’Ifri Natural Bridge

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.

It led us 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.

Imi_Nifri_058_05172015 - Looking down towards a significant waterfall in the main stream passing through the Imi n'Ifri Natural Bridge, but we had to do a wet and rugged scramble to get up to it, which we opted not to do
Looking down towards a significant waterfall in the main stream passing through the Imi n’Ifri Natural Bridge, but we had to do a wet and rugged scramble to get up to it, which we opted not to do

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.

Imi_Nifri_055_05172015 - Julie staying on the ledge while carefully making her way through the Imi n'Ifri Natural Bridge
Julie staying on the ledge while carefully making her way through the Imi n’Ifri Natural Bridge

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.

Imi_Nifri_095_05172015 - Looking back at the upper opening of the Imi n'Ifri Natural Bridge, which loosely resembled the 'Map of South America'
Looking back at the upper opening of the Imi n’Ifri Natural Bridge, which loosely resembled the ‘Map of South America’

One was a 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.

Further downstream, the stream ment into man-made dams, which helped to 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.

Imi_Nifri_133_05172015 - Context of a refreshing cascade on the main stream backed by the lower opening of the Imi n'Ifri Natural Bridge
Context of a refreshing cascade on the main stream backed by the lower opening of the Imi n’Ifri Natural Bridge

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.

Authorities

The Imi n’Ifri Waterfalls reside in the village of Demnate (or Demnat) of the Azilal Province in Morocco. I don’t think the waterfalls (nor the natural bridge) are administered by any formal authority. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, you may get leads from the Morocco National Tourism website.

Marrakech_to_Imi_Nifri_007_05172015 - Looking back towards the town of Demnate as we were making our way to Imi n'Ifri
Imi_Nifri_001_05172015 - Looking back at the start and endpoint of our Imi n'Ifri excursion, which was that building right at the junction of the R307 and R302 roads
Imi_Nifri_005_05172015 - Looking down at the 320 steps or so that we'd have to go up in order to complete our Imi n'Ifri loop hike
Imi_Nifri_010_05172015 - Walking along the R307 road towards the start of our counterclockwise loop hike through Imi n'Ifri
Imi_Nifri_011_05172015 - Following our guide down this backway to the quieter end of the Imi n'Ifri Natural Bridge
Imi_Nifri_014_05172015 - Looking down towards the upper opening of the Imi n'Ifri Natural Bridge
Imi_Nifri_018_05172015 - 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'Ifri
Imi_Nifri_019_05172015 - Looking down towards an attractive side waterfall upstream of the upper entrance of the Imi n'Ifri Natural Bridge. There are people down at its bottom for a sense of scale
Imi_Nifri_026_05172015 - Julie descending towards the first waterfall that we saw at Imi n'Ifri
Imi_Nifri_033_05172015 - Looking towards the context of the 'back' or 'upper' opening of the Imi n'Ifri Natural Bridge
Imi_Nifri_043_05172015 - The guide helping our daughter get up to this wet rock at the base of the first waterfall that we encountered above the Imi n'Ifri Natural Bridge
Imi_Nifri_045_05172015 - Looking down towards the upper opening of the Imi n'Ifri Natural Bridge from the level of the stream and the bottom of that first waterfall
Imi_Nifri_047_05172015 - 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 Bridge
Imi_Nifri_049_05172015 - All of us following the guide along the exposed ledge trail entering the span of Imi n'Ifri
Imi_Nifri_054_05172015 - Julie staying away from the dropoffs as she followed the ledge trail through the Imi n'Ifri Natural Bridge
Imi_Nifri_062_05172015 - Approaching the Imi n'Ifri opening as it was starting to resemble the map of Africa
Imi_Nifri_076_05172015 - Julie and Tahia spotted a lot of these beetles crowding within a crack in the wall of the natural bridge at Imi n'Ifri. It kind of reminded me of something I might have recalled seeing in Indiana Jones or the Mummy movies
Imi_Nifri_082_05172015 - Looking back towards the trail that we descended while looking through the upper opening of the Imi n'Ifri Natural Bridge which resembled the map of South America
Imi_Nifri_089_05172015 - Looking back at the second waterfall at Imi n'Ifri though our guide discouraged us from scrambling to get a closer look
Imi_Nifri_093_05172015 - Julie and Tahia playing by the stream before the map of South America opening of the Imi n'Ifri Natural Bridge
Imi_Nifri_096_05172015 - This was about as much of that second waterfall as we would be seeing from the floor of the Imi n'Ifri Natural Bridge without doing the rough scramble to get closer
Imi_Nifri_123_05172015 - This thin cascade was the third waterfall we encountered near Imi n'Ifri
Imi_Nifri_137_05172015 - Direct look up at the third waterfall near the mouth of Imi n'Ifri Natural Bridge
Imi_Nifri_140_05172015 - Looking downstream from the mouth of Imi n'Ifri at pools and streams and people cooling off in them
Imi_Nifri_144_05172015 - Contextual look back upstream towards the lower opening of the Imi n'Ifri Natural Bridge with some people playing in the water
Imi_Nifri_150_05172015 - Contextual look back at the Imi n'Ifri Natural Bridge with the third and fourth waterfalls that we encountered
Imi_Nifri_158_05172015 - Going back up the steps to conclude our loop hike through Imi n'Ifri
Imi_Nifri_163_05172015 - Looking towards a wall underneath the road full of graffiti at Imi n'Ifri

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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 start of the loop hike for the Imi n’Ifri Natural Bridge (passing by a couple of police checks en route).

Imi_Nifri_009_05172015 - Looking back at the road leading to the cluster of buildings near the top of the Imi n'Ifri Natural Bridge
Looking back at the road leading to the cluster of buildings near the top of the Imi n’Ifri Natural Bridge

Our driver also took about 75 minutes to get from here to Cascades d’Ouzoud, which was our next excursion that day.

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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Tagged with: demnate, high atlas, azilal, morocco, waterfall, africa, imi n'ifri, map of africa, ouzoud, natural bridge, marrakech, bin el-ouidane



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Johnny Cheng

About Johnny Cheng

Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls. Over the last 2 decades, he has visited thousands of waterfalls in over 40 countries around the world and nearly 40 states in the USA.
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