Temperatures are cooler in the shadow of snowcapped High Atlas peaks, and this blooming valley a little more than 50km south of Marrakesh is the city’s escape hatch from the soaring summer heat. The valley is especially mood-altering from February to April, when almond and cherry orchards bloom manically and wildflowers run riot.
Sadly Ourika's beauty and easy accessibility have lead to significant development, which now threatens to mar its mountain-valley vibe. At Oulmes, makeshift cafes and BBQ joints line the riverside strung together by flimsy rope bridges that allow day-trippers to cross the river, while at the end of the valley sits the summer resort and well-worn trekking base of Setti Fatma.
For High Atlas scenery with fewer tourist coaches and moped-mounted salesmen, you may prefer the Mizane or Zat Valleys.