Zebra Camp in the Middle Atlas Mountains was a popular camping site, owned by a Dutch couple who ran the camp to European standards – so the toilets and showers were modern, clean and in good working order. I was able to hand over a bag of laundry and when I returned to the camp two hours later my washing was hanging up to dry in the sunshine. There was a restaurant serving a small selection of freshly cooked local food. We were charged £80 for three nights’ stay including an evening meal – but no wine – although you could bring your own bottle. We were sad to learn that the site had just been sold to a Moroccan investor and we wondered whether their high standards would be maintained in the future.
Zebra Camp was adjacent to the Cascades of Ouzoud, spectacular waterfalls 110 metres high. We had taken a guided tour of the tourist attraction during a previous visit, so we decided that on this occasion we would visit the Cascades and walk around independently. However, when we walked down to the falls the following morning – well before the tourist coaches arrived from Marrakech (two hours drive away) – we were approached by a Guide who offered us a walking tour, showing us places where most of the tourists would not go. We reluctantly accepted him as our guide and by the end of the day we realised that we had chosen wisely and it had been well worth the £24 he charged.
Our guide’s name was Mustapha and he proved very knowledgeable and an interesting companion. He took us along dusty mule tracks down one side of the valley, crossing a series of pools at the bottom of the valley and walking up the other side. We didn’t need to hurry, we walked slowly and had plenty of opportunity to sit and rest. At one place we sat in a cool cave and drank glasses of freshly squeezed orange juice. Further up the track we bought a bag of mixed nuts from a vendor. When we came across another tourist group heading our way, Mustapha deftly steered us on to a different path where we were able to enjoy the views without interruption. The weather was a warm 28° but it was cooler in the shade of the trees, surrounded by tumbling water. The terrain was difficult in places but we really enjoyed seeing the waterfalls and the series of pools below from several different vantage points around the valley. Our guided walk lasted over two hours and we finished up having a well deserved lunch in a café overlooking the falls.Edit