How to get there?
You fly to Marrakech. The tourist hot spot of Marrakech and better known as the city of 1001 nights. Many low-cost airlines fly to Marrakech. From there it's only 90 minutes' drive to the contrasting calmness of Oukaimeden. Easiest to get there is via a car rental company. When using car navigation of google maps, make sure you get to the direction of Ourika via P2017 Road. It happens that google sends you via a weird and rocky road. So just check this before you click ‘go’ .
Where can I rent Crash pads in Oukaimeden?
You can rent pads (Mad Rocks) in Oukaimeden via imik'simik. Standard Pick-up location for the crashpads is the Club Alpine Francais (CAF). When arriving from Marrakech the CAF is located on your right-hand side, just after the lake but before the main restaurants. For more detailed info, inclusing prices, check the ‘crashpad rental' page.
You can also travel with public transport from Marrakech to Oukaimeden but is a bit more time consuming (but an experience too). Its easy to get to Ourika, either by public bus (nr. 25) or with a so called shared taxi. Buses departes from “sidi Mimoun” and shared taxi from “Rue Ibn Rochd” which is near the famous central place “Jamaâ El-Fna”.
Where to stay?
I always stay in Chalet Mostapaha, the highest chalet in North Africa. This is a great alpine-like chalet with great details, impressive mountain views, a kitchen and fireplace. Costs start at around €40,- per night per person (including breakfast and wood for fire). Booking via email@example.com
You can also choose the Club Alpine Français (CAF) hut lower in the village. A very neat and organised place with dorms only. You pay €20,- per night per person (without breakfast). In the summer months - July to September - costs are €12,- per night per person. Book here: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hotel Aurocher: Since a few years more and more climbers also stay at this Hotel. Decent Hotel. Unlike Chalet Mostapha and the Club Alpine Français Hotel Aurocher is not located directly in the bouldering area but a 20 min. drive down the road. This means you will need a car for your trip (or, if you feel comfortable enough, depend on hitchhiking - which is done quite a bit by the local population)
Food and Supplies
Tajine, lots of tajine and eggs. It's a small village and choices are not endless like in Marrakech. Tajine is traditionally cooked by nomads using portable ovens (made of pottery) over charcoal braziers and is a type of stew, usually containing meat. Besides that they are famous for making huge pans of Moroccan-style scrambled eggs. Everything you eat is accompanied with bread. There are some little shops in the village where you can buy most basic products like bread, water, canned fish (mackerel, sardines & tuna), sodas, yoghurts, dates and many more necessities like toothpaste, batteries, lip balm and sweets. You can't buy alcohol in these shops. As long as it is a small amount you can buy some beers at CAF (€2,50 for 33cl). You can also drink beers at the chic hotel Chez JuJu (€4 per beer).
My I ask you a favor: Buy as much as possible in these local shops instead of the big international supermarkets in Marrakech. On the other hand: Buy your beers and wine in these big supermarkets. If you go straight from the airport to Oukaimeden I would go to the Menara Mall (See screenshot below).
Gear in morocco & Outdoor shops
You can't buy much gear in Morocco. There is a Decathlon shop in Marrakech. I have Mad Rock crash pads stocked in Oukaimeden that you can rent. I also have some chalk and chalk bags for sale in the chalet and gave some to the sellers in the village, however, that's all very limited. If you need chalk or a chalk bag you can ask the guys from 'Café restaurant imik'simik' since I gave them some to sell/rent.What else is there apart from the climbing?
A friend of mine, Jeremy Jones from Climb Morocco (link), takes people on rock climbing adventures to various locations in the Atlas Mountains outside of Marrakech. Climb Morocco has also developed roped climbing areas in Ourika and Oukaimeden. If you go crazy about ancient rock paintings, butterflies, or astronomy then Oukaimeden would seem to be an appropriate place. It's an amazing area for hiking and high-level mountain biking. But don't expect much entertainment in the village.
What is the Imik'simik trip?
Sometime during April & May imik'simik rents the whole chalet and welcomes everyone to join the group for as long as they like. You can join for days, weeks or the whole period. That's up to you. Just send us an email (email@example.com) so we can reserve your place at the chalet and the car and make sure you can use a crash pad. During the trip you can do what you want; no program, just bouldering.
imik'simik offers you a digital topo and the possibility to do first ascents which will be published in the next Oukaimeden topo. Not only can you have the entire guide with you on your device complete with offline topos and photos which are filterable and searchable, but the Rakkup climbing guides come with offline turn by turn directions using GPS to get you to the climbing area and help you find the right boulders without the usual navigation issues. The Rakkup guidebook for Oukaimeden can be purchased in-app from the free Rakkup app from the iTunes App Store for iOS or the Google Play store for Android. At the moment there are almost 700 problems in the topo. Together with all the new first ascents earlier this year during the imik'simik trip, the next update (planned for Dec. 2018) will contain around 800 problems. Everyone who bought the guidebook already can update the Oukaimeden guidebook including all new lines free of charge.
Weather in oukaimeden
Hard question to answer. Oukaimeden is located at and around 3000m altitude. but it's still Morocco. Which means it can be warm in the morning when the sun burns down on your head, and super cold in the afternoon when clouds roll up the High Atlas mountains. Best time to go bouldering? I would say between March and May, and between September and November.
Clothing and other pack lists advice
As the weather can change in the blink of an eye you need both warm (winter) and summer stuff. Nights can be freezing (literally) and days freaking hot - and everything in between these extremes off course. Take sunscreen with you and a head/cap. Especially in the first days when you are high up the mountain people tend to forget to protect themselves for the strong sun and can get seriously burned.
Language in Morocco (A complicated situation)
Many languages are spoken in Morocco. Classical Arabic, also known as the Quranic or Standard Arabic, is the official language of Morocco; it is used in education, literature, media, mosques, etc. Amazigh is the language of Morocco’s indigenous people; it is only used between Berbers to communicate. French is known as the unofficial second language of Morocco. It is mostly used for diplomacy, business, media, and government. But the language spoken in the streets is Darija (Moroccan Arabic). English is not common, but understood in tourist places.
"Boulevard Mohamed VI" Menara Mall for food/drinks and sim card (Maroc Telecom)
"Sidi Mimoun" bus stop for bus nr 25 to Ourika
"Rue Ibn Rochd" shared taxi parking