Imlil Cascades - Small Waterfalls and Big Mountains
Below the peak of Mount Toubkal with the winter snow still hanging on, the river valley of Asif N'au Mizane rushes towards the plains of Marrakech.
Our guide, Omar had leapt into our car as we drove through Imlil. He had offered to show us the longer route to the cascades. Away from the main drag to the cascades we discovered the smaller villages, the Berber way of life and certainly felt that we had earnt the orange juice and mint tea at a small rest spot.
Walking through walnut groves and apple orchards the path is steep. Small waterfalls cascade over the newly widened path that snakes around the side of the valley away from Imlil. Rocks had been taken from the hillside. Coloured with iron and copper deposits the path was multi-coloured, glistening in the late morning sunshine. Berber villages blended into the red and green hillsides, their mosques dominant against the skyline of small buildings. As with other villages we had passed preparations were underway for Ramadan. Rugs and sheets freshly washed were out to dry, a rainbow of colour everywhere you looked.
The sun was hot even on a spring morning but there was a chill in the air. The 2000m elevation was noticeable, sapping energy far earlier than anticipated. Each step brought us closer to the small cascade of waterfalls that draw tourists to Imlil.
Some come just for the waterfalls. Their gold flip flops and sun tops inadequate for the terrain. Their pink faces testament to the achievement that the short walk from the village really is.
Others are heading off into the mountains. Mount Toubkal the pinnacle of choice. The highest peak in north Africa, and a comfortable few days from this relatively new village. Their excited chatter and huge packs gave away their true destination. The cascades were just the start of the adventure.
Eventually we came down some steps between small homes. Chickens and cats sauntered in front of us, dozy in the late morning sunshine. The rush of the water could be heard and the cool dampness started to permeate the air. From the first concrete platform the small drops of the cascades could be seen. The plunge pools swirling in a turquoise foam, the red of the rock punctuating the surface.
Further down, the falls were larger. The spray cooling the rocks, allowing ferns to grow before the water tumbles over more rocks towards Imlil.
Irrigation channels wind their way through the valley away from the waterfalls, following the river through the walnut groves back to the start in Imlil. Rapeseed coats the hillside in a bright yellow blanket as Mount Toubkal sits in the background silent but dominant.
Find out more about Imlil and trekking in the High Atlas mountains in my mini guide