A half day trip
We didn’t have much planned for our first stay in Morocco, but a visit to Paradise Valley was on our wish list.
Our tour operator offered a half-day excursion at an acceptable price and since we didn’t want to be busy planning and organising on this holiday, we booked on the spur of the moment.
Paradise Valley is a section of the Tamraght Valley in the High Atlas Mountains in Morocco. We had seen steep rock faces, palm trees and rock pools in pictures beforehand and were now curious whether it would really be so fantastically beautiful there.
A few years ago, the valley was really quite unknown, but today the increasing tourism has also found its way here and the valley is slowly losing its original character. The excursion is no longer an insider tip.
On the way to Paradise Valley
We were picked up from the hotel by a minibus as early as 8 o’clock in the morning. After a few stops, there were finally 12 people accompanied by the driver and tour guide. Even though the entrance to the valley is only 35 kilometres from Agadir, I found the outward journey “exhausting”. I was not really awake yet and our guide talked in German and French almost without taking a breath.
A stopover was also made. On the access road we stopped at a house – with a large salesroom and the last toilet before the valley. There was a really nice view from the roof of the house. To the great disappointment of the house owner, no one shopped in his shop and after 25 minutes we could finally drive on.
We drove into the High Atlas over a partly adventurous road. Part of the road was still asphalted, part of the road had just been renewed and the minibus had to drive over makeshift and very narrow roads. We were finally let off the bus at a car park and set off with the tour guide to explore the valley.
Paradise Valley Hike
Those who want to hike into the little paradise should not only think of sturdy shoes. Around noon, the sun falls into the valley and it gets warm quickly, so it doesn’t hurt to carry a water bottle.
We first walk past olive and argan trees through a collection of huts. In the high season, you can stop here to eat and drink, but during our visit everything was closed. But you also pass the rubbish that disfigures the landscape here. It is only when you have reached the first rock pool and left the last stalls behind that the real beauty of the valley begins.
You walk over uneven narrow paths into a valley that makes you forget the winter even at the beginning of January. Green plants, first blossoms, birdsong and, as we were there very early, hardly any people – a small paradise. The Tamrhakht river had hardly any water and we could walk down the riverbed into the valley without hesitation. Our guide explained some interesting details every now and then. We discovered wild thyme, carob trees and even a lemon tree off the path.
At one of the small rock pools I watch a young man jumping into the water from a rock. A great way to cool off in summer, but in January it’s more of a dare – the water isn’t exactly warm.
The further you walk into the valley, the more I like it here between the steep rock faces. Unfortunately, we don’t make it to a small mountain village in time, but even our short hike was very worthwhile.
Due to the position of the sun in January, the rock pools were unfortunately still in the shade and the water was not yet shimmering in the most beautiful colours. The sun was just entering the valley as we were on our way back and immediately a light mist rose between the palm trees, evaporating the water that had settled there during the night. A great sight!
Questions about Paradise Valley in Morocco
Do I really need a tour guide?
If you find your own way to the car park (rental car, taxi) and thus to the beginning of the hiking trail, you don’t need a tour guide. There is only one paved path into the valley and if you stay on this path you cannot get lost. If you are unsure, however, you will find enterprising Moroccans at the car park who will be happy to accompany you into the valley.
When is the best time to visit?
At noon it gets very crowded in Paradise Valley – the buses with the day tourists arrive. So if you are there early, you have the chance to enjoy the little oasis almost alone.
From a landscape point of view, February, when the water level is highest in the rock pools and in the course of the river, is said to be the most beautiful time in the valley. Especially the plants show themselves in the most beautiful colours then.
Is it possible to stay overnight in Paradise Valley?
There are no hotels or holiday flats in the valley. However, there is certainly the possibility of spending the night in the open air.
Is there parking?
There is paid parking at the entrance to the valley.
Paradise Valley – Agadir – Route
We would recommend the slightly longer route along the coast. The view is beautiful.