Just a short drive from Agadir and an hour inland from Aourir (Banana Village), there are some amazing valleys and gorges on route to Paradise Valley, an oasis of palm trees and natural pools. The drive from Agadir is, at first, barren and rocky but soon gives way to a winding mountain road that twists through the most dramatic scenery of palm trees, limestone gorges, bubbling fresh water ravines and verdant tree-clad hills. Paradise valley, with her waterfalls and banana plantations, is an area well worth a visit; the fast moving river a stark contrast with the surrounding arid landscape.
The name of Paradise was given by Jimi Hendrix in the 1960's, when this area was part of the hippy trail and was frequented by many of the group followers who used to camp on the rivers banks for the winter. The area certainly feels like paradise when you take a walk into the valley and spend the day swimming in the natural swimming pools, jumping off the rocks into the plunge pools or laying about on the sun heated rocks.
In the valley you will find ovens in the middle of the Arganiers. These are used for the production of charcoal, which is then burnt on the fires of the Berber villagers. The valley has many Berber villages, including the largest, Immouzer, with the famous waterfalls at Ida Ouatanane. The Berbers living here like to sell petrified Fossils.
Out of the valley is Immouzer (also Imouzzer or Imouzer); a beautiful village with white buildings, hidden in the foot hills of the Atlas Mountains. The journey to the village, located 1160 m high, is scenically very rewarding. The lush vegetation holds the livelihood of the village, with rich crops of olives and bananas being the key to the village's welfare. Here the limestone has left dramatic caves and rock formations. The road to Immouzer passes through 400 million year old fossil beds and there are many shops along the route selling remarkable examples of huge ammonites and fossilised sea animals.
Imouzzer has a small local market every Thursday and is noted for its outstanding honey made from an exotic range of mountain flowers, which is served at Hotel Des Cascades either en nature or with crushed nuts and argan oil. A week-long honey festival is held every year in August. The historic Argana beehives are purported to be the largest beehive collective site in the world. Many of the hives are made of reed cylinders and covered with clay.
A track from the village leads through olive groves to the foot of the spectacular waterfalls at Ida Ouatanane, though these are not noted for their volume of water but rather their rock formations, pools rich in minerals and air of mystery. The most beautiful cascade is known as "Bride's Veil", so called because of the limestone deposits on the rocks. A few years ago a minor earthquake changed the water table and so the course of the underground river, once a large waterfall, is now just a trickle. If you visit outside springtime (typically February-June), the waterfalls may have stopped flowing. If you don't mind ice cold water, you can take a swim in the pool at the bottom. The pool made from the little water that runs inside the mountain is small, but clean.
Enquiries & Booking
To enquire about or to book a personalized private Paradise Valley tour, please call us on +44(0)7713 615829 or send an email to email@example.com to discuss your itinerary and prices.
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