Today is simple. One Objective: Find the waterfall.
Last night we found out we were in the right area. We had been a little worried, especially after such a long bus ride from Beni Mellal, and did not want to return there and try again. Now we just had to get out to it.
We made our way to the Mosque, picking up a few pastries along the way, and even being charged double for our morning coffee did not put a dampener on our spirits. We do miss Arabic Coffee, but Anna has managed to learn how to drink normal coffee, and I no longer feel as guilty about it as I used to!
The reason for going to the mosque is simple. All the buses and grand taxies leave from there. Nice, central and convenient. No going all over the town looking for different places. It’s the one stop transport shop.
They have the same system here as we had found yesterday. Pay up front. 17Dh each to get out there. No problems. Waiting as usual, Anna went to pick up some Bananananas for the Monkeys (also confirmed to be there). Jumped in and off we went. The one issue with the ride is that if you want to have four people in the back seat. Don’t have bucket seats. This was an uncomfortable one, but you do what you have to do.
The drive out was nice. A different road than when we arrived, and we tried to snap a few photos. The plateau we are now on runs roughly east west, and we were heading west. It was very flat, and we were wondering if there is a waterfall, we were making our way gradually down hill, and as we got closer it was still flattish. Dropped off just outside of the main tourist part (town is further on still) we saw a sign for waterfall conservation. A good laugh. Rules for tourists don’t apply to locals! People asking to be your guide, and discreet (Hard to find) signs leading to the waterfall. Following these, we entered the gauntlet of tourist shops, stalls, cafes and the like. Not showing any interest got us past with minimal hassles.
The path split, one going up and steps down. We went up first for the overview of the waterfall. On reaching a viewing platform, it was worth it. The waterfall is good. With the recent snow and hot weather (above freezing anyway) there was plenty of water going over the edge. The waterfall is in two sections. The top section is a long drop to a small pool, and then it flows over more rocks and a smaller drop into the river. From our platform, we could turn the other way and see it cascading down through the valley. Very pretty, and well worth the effort to get there.
A man was sitting under the tree here, and another was sweeping. It was fairly early, and there were hardly any tourists (another couple and they had gone a different way). The man under the tree pointed out and said something. Looking we saw nothing.
Then a branch moved. Our first Monkey. He came over to check us out. Not as inquisitive as the Thai monkeys, he kept his distance. The main feature on him was his backside. It was huge. Massive. I thought he needed to see the Monkey Doctor to get his Haemorrhoids checked out. They were bigger than his head! After seeing us he departed. These guys are not good in trees though. He fell out. Hitting the ground hard he jumped up screaming. Moved a little, and sat there trying to recover his dignity with everyone laughing at him. We were warned by the sweeper that they can bite and not to get too close, he didn’t need to give us the warning though. The man under the tree jumped up and was wary when the monkey had fallen out of the tree. That was enough warning for us. If the locals are worried, we should be too.
The monkeys are called Barbary Apes. In reality it is a Macaque monkey, very distinguishable from others by their backsides. Apparently they were not haemorrhoids.
Walking down closer to the base of the waterfall we came across more monkeys. There were two young males in the tree grooming themselves, and a mother and baby on the railing. Anna fed the mother most of a Banana, and we were again surprised by how polite the monkeys were. It delicately reached out for the food. No grabbing, no begging, but would take what was offered.
The baby came up to investigate, and we saw how protective of it the mother was. These are still mostly wild monkeys. Although fed by tourists and locals, they are not running wild the way the Lop Buri ones were. Thinking there would be more, we went further down the walls. There are cafe’s everywhere. The prices seemed reasonable, and we politely declined the offers for breakfast or lunch. There is another platform closer to the waterfall, just above the rocks. From here you can look up to the long drop, and down to the cascade. It was great. There was no wind here, so hardly any spray, and although a few more tourists had arrived, it is not overrun. For some reason there is a horse here. On snapping a photo of it, a boy appeared wanting to charge 100Dh for the photo. Not wanting the hassle, we deleted one of the photos in front of him and walked off, with him yelling at us in the background.
Making our way to the bottom, it got muddy, wet and very slippery. A few pontoons are here with weird pink seats. Well, the whole thing looks weird. Not just the seats. We assumed it was to get a personal feel of the waterfall, but realised later that it is a ferry to get you to the other side. There was a bridge here, but it has long since washed away, and you can make more money ferrying people to the other side and back, than you can taking people under the waterfall in winter.
Back to the top, we walked around to where the water is rushing along for its big drop. This is a pretty area. There is a small floodplain here, and it is very green at the moment. A few trees dotting the surrounds. At the top of the waterfall itself there are two stone sheds. Looking inside we saw everything covered in white. A small round grindstone was going in circles. This lead to the deduction that it was a flour mill. Using the flowing water to automate the process. Quite clever, and efficient.
A quick wander over to the other side of the drop before we wanted to head back. This side had a path along the edge of the cliff. There are no safety rails (Which I prefer, as long as there are no absent minded Belgians in the future) and you can look right down to the bottom of the valley. All the way along until it goes around a hill in the distance. Following the well trod path a little, we started seeing massive cables coming out of the ground. These were power cables, and we are not sure if the planned future development includes stalls all the way along the top of the ridge, or if they are going to put lights in to illuminate the cliff and waterfall. We did come across a sign saying they wanted to develop the local rural area with an eye for tourism.
After a final look down into the valley and at the waterfall, we headed back to the grand taxi station. Praying that other tourists wanted to go back to Azilal. No such luck. We waited and waited. It was a good thing we arrived early, as we could have been here all night if we left any later. Eventually 3 other people wanted to go, so we, as the tourists, had to pay for the extra seat, and departed. At least it was more comfortable than the trip out.
Back at the hotel, we discovered that there was no hot water, but there was internet. However it didn’t work. Still, we went back for dinner at the place from last night, and had another good feed.