Fearless in our rented Dacia Logan with the Davinator at the wheel, we embarked on an excursion inland.
We stopped at the foot of the Cascades as part of a day trip from Tamraght. We drove up the P1002 from Tamri to the P1000 (with a diversion to look at a dam the Davinator wanted to see) and then up to Imouzzer. Some astounding gorges and natural beauty along the way; plus an abandoned village on a hillside, some authentic Berbers living in tents (not off tourists), traditional peddlers going door to door (one with live poultry) and got a real feeling for how beautiful an oasis must be to desert nomads. Also, big respect to Moroccan road builders and road maintenance men. These men put the hair in hairpin bend or indeed in hair-raising above the abyss roads. Some serious engineering and we drove for hours on your classic 1.5 car wide mountain road, sharing the road with donkeys, goats, electric bikes, the odd truck and dodging boulders from time to time.
A big mistake - we took no packed lunch. Hence, we arrived at the Cascades at about 3:30 pm near starving as there is literally nothing to buy between leaving Tamri and arriving in Imouzzer. However, we were so put off by the rapacious parking attendants, the empty cafes, the tatty handicrafts, the trash, the plastic bags, flies, the absence of any flowing water, the stray dogs and the air of decrepitude that we bought some simple provisions at the tiny shop and promptly drove back out again.Spending the grand sum of 18 dhirrim in Imouzzer. We went off up the hill and discovered the lovely Hotel des Cascades (subject of another review).
This is a good symbol of what's wrong and annoying about tourism in Morocco. With a little thought, organisation, signage, basic infrastructure and community support, they could be making money and happy tourists with the astonishing natural beauty of this spot. I was very glad to be with the Davinator (large, world wise and great at scaring off vendors). And we'd done our research so our expectations were low, as in we knew not to expect an actual waterfall. The reality crawled under our low expectations and it made us sad.
'Parking attendant' is a synonym for 'pay me and I won't break into your car'. The young men would have been better employed picking up the trash, maintaining and repairing the poor town road and the broken aqueduct (water carefully collected higher up and brought downhill to gush into the roadbed and be wasted). They need a good town administrator from a seaside town in France to sort them out.
If you're in the area for a week or so and need a break from the coast, you may want to visit. I would never do this with an organised tour because it will become an endless succession of people with their hand out for money for various things; guiding, toilets, tatty handcrafts that come from China, meals with 'Berber' families, sitting at a plastic table and chairs set in the water of the river, car parking, etc etc. Better to gird up your loins, hire a car and do it yourself. At least you've eliminated several middlemen that way.
By the way - I wouldn't swim in that water unless I had recently had my inoculations topped up, had a shot of gamma globulin AND access to course of Ciproxin. I'm not going to ruin your day by describing what we saw. Just use your imagination people.
And if you are there and it rains - get out of Dodge and down to the coast pretty quick. And stay out of the water. Gravity and hydraulics will bring indescribable flotsam in vast quantities downstream for your perusal. I did mention the great roads - but they are prone to collapsing, landslides and boulders bigger than your car descending on you when it rains. This is obvious from travelling on them.
The Davinator's driving tip: watch out for neatly stacked rocks in the road - it means something to watch out for and you really need to know about it. If you see a men at work sign or an orange cone (these are rare and valuable in Morocco) something big is happening around the bend ahead of you. It may ruin your day if come on it at speed.
We do love Morocco but sometimes we are saddened by how much potential is wasted.
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