white water rafting moroccoSpills, chills and thrills … you’ll find it all on a white water rafting trip in Morocco.

When most people picture Morocco, they envision camels wandering through the desert, colorful souks, mountainous trekking and historic medinas. Water sports abound here too, though, and tours in Morocco is no exception. And while white water rafting is known for the adventurous adrenaline rush that accompanies it, many tour companies offer history lessons, unique views of Morocco’s back country, fabulous food and an opportunity to truly get away from it all as well.

Just as Morocco’s peaks offer High Atlas trekking, the gorges that cut their way between the mountains make ideal white water rafting courses. The Ahansal River, for example, has majestic gorges with crystal clear water. Rocky terrain surrounds the boat with only the occasional bank offering glimpses into the area’s remote forest. The river travels over rock beds and through the gorges of the Middle Atlas Mountains before reaching the desert. Many Berber villages have been built along the river, which also offer a scenic backdrop throughout the duration of the trip. Though rafters do meet the occasional rough sets of rapids, this river is relatively laid back and serene, if not a bit cool (the water comes from the snow run-off of the High Atlas Mountains).

The Ourika River also runs along the gorge carved through the Atlas Mountains, though it is easier for tour companies to put in and take out, making this an ideal location for shorter river rafting trips. In fact, rafting in this river can often seem like a spectator sport, with local children crowding the banks, laughing, clapping and cheering on passengers as they maneuver through the running water.

Safety and Skills

Journey Beyond Travel specializes in rafting and offers a range of packages for a variety of skill levels. If you’re new to riding the white water, Morocco is a great place to give it a try for the first time, though skilled rafters will also be technically challenged. Different tour companies have specific guidelines for specific trips, so do your research and ask lots of questions before booking a trip. Everyone must float with a trained tour guide who will provide a thorough briefing before you take to the water.

Families may find a half- or one-day floating tour ideal while the more adventurous might enjoy the week-long tours that truly take them into the heart of Morocco’s wilderness.

Regardless of the white water rafting trip that is right for you, chances are you’ll walk away from the water just a touch wet, at least a little bit refreshed and extremely satisfied with the physical skill and stunning scenery you’ve encountered on your way down the river. In fact, many people find that a white water rafting trip changes their outlook on how they will travel all together; they simply cannot wait for the next aqueous adventure!

Posted by JoAnna Haugen, managing editor at Journey Beyond Travel and author of Kaleidoscopic Wandering.

Photo by Stig Nygaard.