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

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

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


Hiking Distance: 1.5km round trip
Suggested Time: 1 hour

Date first visited: 2015-05-18
Date last visited: 2015-05-18

Waterfall Latitude: 33.05128
Waterfall Longitude: -5.411

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The Sources Oum er-Rbia was said to be where some 40 springs feed the beginning of Morocco’s second largest river called the Oum er-Rbia River.

This river eventually made its way over 600km into the Atlantic Ocean at Azemmour.

Oum_er_Rbia_105_05182015 - Sources Oum er-Rbia Waterfall
Sources Oum er-Rbia Waterfall

While we’re aware that there were many other waterfalls at or near the source of this river, we tend to associate the name Sources Oum er-Rbia with the waterfall that we’re discussing on this page.

As you can see from the photo above, this was indeed a very attractive waterfall likely to come from at least one of these springs.

Adding to its scenic allure was its unusual backdrop of tall red cliffs that reminded us of the kind of scenery we had experienced in Southern Utah or Northern Arizona.

Further adding to the atmosphere and uniqueness of this waterfalling experience was that there was a village built right around the gushing er-Rbia River just downstream of the falls.

Oum_er_Rbia_065_05182015 - Having a lunch in this local sit-on-the-floor open-air cafe at the Sources Oum er-Rbia
Having a lunch in this local sit-on-the-floor open-air cafe at the Sources Oum er-Rbia

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 the water.

We actually stopped to have a lunch in one of these local cafes, and we wound up with one of the tastiest locally-sourced chicken tagines that we’ve ever had.

It’s hard to describe in words just how charming and magical (in a very Moroccan way) this unusual waterfalling experience was, and hopefully this page can convey that.

The bottom line was that this unusual setting in such seemingly harsh desert landscapes was what made the Sources Oum er-Rbia Waterfall stand out to us.

Experiencing the Sources Oum-er-Rbia Waterfall

Oum_er_Rbia_023_05182015 - Looking across a pretty clear plunge pool at the car park for the villages at the Sourcees Oum er-Rbia
Looking across a pretty clear plunge pool at the car park for the villages at the Sourcees Oum er-Rbia

As for the Sources Oum-er-Rbia 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.

Further upstream, the short footpath would eventually reach a dead-end right at the base of the Sources Oum-er-Rbia Waterfall where the gorge closed in completely.

Oum_er_Rbia_088_05182015 - The rushing Oum er-Rbia River passing between local cafes right at the foot of the cascades and waterfalls of the Sources Oum er-Rbia
The rushing Oum er-Rbia River passing between local cafes right at the foot of the cascades and waterfalls of the Sources Oum er-Rbia

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.

Oum_er_Rbia_140_05182015 - Context of the footpath leading us into the head of this gorge, which ended right at the Sources Oum er-Rbia Waterfall
Context of the footpath leading us into the head of this gorge, which ended right at the Sources Oum er-Rbia Waterfall

The walk itself was family friendly enough that we were able to take our four-year-old daughter 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.

Nomenclature Concerning the Sources Oum-er-Rbia Waterfall

Finally, another thing we noticed about the Sources Oum-er-Rbia Waterfall 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.

Oum_er_Rbia_113_05182015 - Feeling the spray from the base of the waterfall at the Sources Oum er-Rbia
Feeling the spray from the base of the waterfall at the Sources Oum er-Rbia

I’ve also seen this waterfall referred to as Oum Errabiaa as well as the Source de l’Oum-er-Rbia.

Authorities

The Sources Oum er-Rbia Waterfall resides in the Aguelmam Azigza National Park near the town of Khenifra in the Middle Atlas Mountains of the Khenifra Province in Morocco. I don’t think the waterfalls are administered by any formal authority, but there are locals who are motivated to maintain the trails for commerce. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, you may get leads from the Morocco National Tourism website.

Oum_er_Rbia_006_05182015 - 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 there
Oum_er_Rbia_021_05182015 - Looking across a calm part of the Oum er-Rbia River at the car park where we started to walk up to the nearby village. As you can see here, the landscape was beautiful with the cliffs as well as the clear water fronting them
Oum_er_Rbia_025_05182015 - Looking across the clear pool by the car park towards some local village shelters adjacent to the base of a cascade
Oum_er_Rbia_028_05182015 - Walking through the local village to get closer to the Sources Oum er-Rbia
Oum_er_Rbia_029_05182015 - This was one of the small cascades within the local village that we saw en route to the Sources Oum er-Rbia
Oum_er_Rbia_030_05182015 - Context of the landscape and the walkway flanked by shelters, shops, and restaurants of the local village fronting the Sources Oum er-Rbia
Oum_er_Rbia_031_05182015 - A calm part of the river (or a feeding stream) flanked by numerous shelters and mule parks at the local village by the Sources Oum er-Rbia
Oum_er_Rbia_035_05182015 - Looking down over one of the cascades en route to the Sources Oum er-Rbia with the car park in the distance
Oum_er_Rbia_042_05182015 - Continuing the slight uphill walk further into the local village near the Source Oum er-Rbia
Oum_er_Rbia_061_05182015 - This was the local restaurant or cafe that we had a nice locally-sourced lunch at before resuming the short walk to the waterfall at the Sources Oum er-Rbia
Oum_er_Rbia_066_05182015 - Looking downstream along the Oum er-Rbia River from the cafe that we had lunch at
Oum_er_Rbia_086_05182015 - Even though we were outdoors at the local village, this establishment was still a shoes-off joint
Oum_er_Rbia_089_05182015 - After the lunch, we continued walking further to the source of the Oum er-Rbia
Oum_er_Rbia_091_05182015 - We reached 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'
Oum_er_Rbia_090_05182015 - Checking out a sign suggesting that there was a Cascade Khedoud though I wasn't sure if this was the waterfall at the Sources Oum er-Rbia that we've dedicated this page to, or if it was some other side waterfall
Oum_er_Rbia_093_05182015 - Following this stream (part of the Oum er-Rbia River) up to its source as the cliff walls started to rapidly close in on us
Oum_er_Rbia_097_05182015 - Looking downstream at the head of the village near the Sources Oum er-Rbia
Oum_er_Rbia_099_05182015 - Another look back towards the village as we got closer to the waterfall at the Sources Oum er-Rbia
Oum_er_Rbia_102_05182015 - Waiting our turn to pay the dirhams to proceed, then we'd cross the footbridges to continue to the end at the Sources Oum er-Rbia Waterfall
Oum_er_Rbia_103_05182015 - Starting to get our first glimpses of the main waterfall at the Sources Oum er-Rbia, which was just upstream from this intermediate waterfall
Oum_er_Rbia_106_05182015 - Finally at the waterfall at the Sources Oum er-Rbia
Oum_er_Rbia_107_05182015 - Broad look up at the Sources Oum er-Rbia Waterfall backed by attractive cliffs
Oum_er_Rbia_120_05182015 - 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-Rbia
Oum_er_Rbia_123_05182015 - After having our fill of the waterfall at the Sources Oum er-Rbia, we headed back along the scenic path that we took earlier
Oum_er_Rbia_131_05182015 - Making our way back towards the village by the Sources Oum er-Rbia
Oum_er_Rbia_134_05182015 - Crossing back over the footbridge where we paid a Berber local a modest sum of dirhams
Oum_er_Rbia_138_05182015 - This was one of the side routes that I noticed, but we didn't have the time to explore where it went
Oum_er_Rbia_143_05182015 - Approaching the familiar local village near the Sources Oum er-Rbia where we were about to return to the restaurant flanking the Oum er-Rbia River that we had lunch at earlier
Oum_er_Rbia_145_05182015 - Julie and Tahia re-entering the local establishment for an afternoon tea before we would eventually leave the Sources Oum er-Rbia
Oum_er_Rbia_147_05182015 - Context of the village that we lingered at for lunch and a cuppa with the Oum er-Rbia River gushing below and the picturesque cliffs towering above
Oum_er_Rbia_149_05182015 - Going past one of many mules we saw on the footpath between the car park and the heart of the village by the Sources Oum er-Rbia
Oum_er_Rbia_152_05182015 - Making our way back down to the car park for the Sources Oum er-Rbia

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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).

Oum_er_Rbia_010_05182015 - During our long drive to the Sources Oum er-Rbia, we got this look down at the context of a lush valley that was likely irrigated by the rushing waters of the Oum er-Rbia River
During our long drive to the Sources Oum er-Rbia, we got this look down at the context of a lush valley that was likely irrigated by the rushing waters of the Oum er-Rbia River

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 during a long drive to Fes 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.

Oum_er_Rbia_017_05182015 - Looking towards the context of some local villages near the Sources Oum er-Rbia
Looking towards the context of some local villages near the Sources Oum er-Rbia

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.

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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Tagged with: ifrane, aguelma azigza, national park, khenifra, middle atlas, oum er rbia, morocco, waterfall, africa, fes, khedoud, moyen



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Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of the award-winning 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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