Cascades d'Ouzoud


Useful Information

photography
Cascades d´Ouzoud, Morocco. Public Domain.
photography
Cascades d´Ouzoud, Morocco. Public Domain.
Location: شلالات أوزود Cascades, Ouzoud 22576, Morocco
RN25/RP3105, 36 km from Azilal. 100 km northeast of Marrakech.
(32.0153547, -6.7192297)
Open: no restrictions.
[2023]
Fee: free.
[2023]
Classification: KarstGrowing Rock SpeleologyTufa Cave GeoparkM’Goun UNESCO Global Geopark
Light: n/a
Dimension: A=1,060 m asl, H=110 m.
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography:  
Address: Cascades d'Ouzoud, Ouzoud 22576, Tel: +212-691-408840.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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History


Description

photography
Cascades d´Ouzoud, Morocco. Public Domain.
photography
Cascades d´Ouzoud, Morocco. Public Domain.
photography
Cascades d´Ouzoud, Morocco. Public Domain.
photography
Cascades d´Ouzoud, Morocco. Public Domain.

The Cascades d'Ouzoud (Ouzoud Falls), in Arab شلالات أوزود, are located at the tourist village Ouzoud. Originally the area was settled because of the river which allows irrigation and thus agriculture. The name Ouzoud means "the act of grinding grain" in Berber.

The karst spring 2.8 km south of the falls is a karst spring, and it produces limestone rich water. This water, named Oued Tissakht, flows over limestones from the Middle to Upper Jurassic to the Oued Al Abid gorge. The gorge is cut 100 m deep into the limestone, and so the Oued Tissakht drops 100 m. Once the waterfall was located at the gorge, but retrograde erosion started a side-gorge, which became longer and longer, and now the waterfalls are 1.6 km from the gorge.

But this is not the full story, beneath erosion there is also the opposite, deposition or precipitation. The water is karst water, carbon dioxide and limestone rich, but when it flows across the plain, it loses carbon dioxide and with it the ability to dissolve limeston. Around the waterfalls the limestone is precipitated forming tufa deposits. Those porous travertines are quite young, from the quarternary, and they are still growing, forming small caves and dripstones.

The waterfalls are a popular tourist site, most people visit them because they are the highest waterfalls of Morocco. But actually it is an interesting geotope, there is a reason why it is on the list of the geopark. Beneath the actual falls, there are numerous other sites which can be visited on the 5 km flow of the river from the spring to the gorge. First of all the springs. Actually, the river flows for some distance, from south of Azilal, across the mountains. But the karst spring from where the limestone rich water originates is located 2.8 km south of the waterfall. Located on the southern wall of the gorge, the spring water immediately flows into the river. The site is quite nice and has a restaurant and café.

Further down the river there are the Mini Cascades de Ouzoud. This is simply another waterfall, much smaller and thus ignored by the tourists, but while it is only 15 m high, it looks almost identical to the other falls.

The waterfalls have lots of restaurants, viewpoints and hotels. But the best thing is a trail which leads down the southern wall of the gorge to the river below. From here, the waterfalls are definitely more spectacular. Following the river downstream, the trail leads to various small waterfalls, rapids, even a campground. It ends after about 500 m at a small café, though there is a rough trail all along the river to the gorge, which ends at the confluence with Oued Al Abid. All along the trail there are waterfalls, dolly tubs and other erosional forms, as well as tufa deposits with small caves.