About Sources Oum er-Rbia (Oum Rabia or Oum Errabiaa)
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.
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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