Imlil Cascades are a small series of waterfalls just outside the small Berber village of Imlil. Located in the High Atlas mountains it is the starting point for trekking to nearby Mount Toubkal, the highest peak in North Africa.
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Hiking to Imlil Cascades
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.
Away from the main drag to the cascades there are smaller villages to be discovered still the home to the Berber way of life and unchanged for many years.
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 is multi-coloured, glistening in the late morning sunshine. Berber villages blend into the red and green hillsides, their mosques dominant against the skyline of small buildings.
The sun is hot even on a spring morning and the 2000m elevation is noticeable, sapping energy far earlier than anticipated for most walkers. Each step brings you 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 is 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 there are some steps between small homes. Chickens and cats sauntered along the path dozy in the late morning sunshine. The rush of the water can be heard and the cool dampness permeates the air. From the first concrete platform the small drops of the cascades can be seen. The plunge pools swirling in a turquoise foam, the red of the rock punctuating the surface.
Further down, the falls are 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.
Tips for Visiting the Cascades
- Pick up a guide in Imlil, their fees are not expensive and they will take you to the falls along some of the smaller trails
- Arrive early as the temperature in the middle of the day can be too hot for walking
- Wear sturdy shoes. It is possible to walk in flip flops but it really isn’t ideal
- Make sure you have small change. There are number of small stalls with drinks and food as well as trinkets for sale along the path
READ MORE: EXPLORING TOUBKAL NATIONAL PARK
Imlil Cascades Hike Details
Distance: 6.5km depending on the paths you take
Minimum time: 1 hour 30 minutes plus time at the cascades
Start and Finish: Imlil Village
Parking: 31.13544°N, 7.91679°W
Nearest Town: Imlil, 60km from Marrakech
Getting To the Cascades at Imlil
Getting to the cascades at Imlil is a short walk from the main village. There is a clear path from the edge of town or following the road to Aroumd and then following the river can lead to the falls.
Imlil is located 60km south of Marrakech and can be reached by private taxi or a shared car. The drive takes a few hours through beautiful countryside as the road snakes up the valley.
If you would rather take a tour then there are a number of options available.
CHECK OUT THIS GUIDED HIKE FROM IMLIL
Things to Do near Imlil Cascades
- Mount Toubkal hike – Trek to the highest peak in North Africa
- Ouzoud Waterfalls – Much larger waterfalls with a 110metre drop surrounded by olive groves
- Tinmel Mosque – Spiritual capital of the Almohad Empire, built in 1156 and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site
- Marigha Salt Mines – See how salt has been mined for centuries from deep wells using evaporation to extract the minerals