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The Todgha Gorge, High Atlas, R703, Tinghir, Morocco

GPS: 31.587472611936, -5.5929136767588

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Located in the hinterland of Ouarzazate in southern Morocco, near the city of Tinghir, the Todgha Valley (Todra or Toudra) is the cradle of a vast canyon with massive walls 300 meters high. Resembling a narrow trench dug in the mountains, this limestone rock valley (wadi) has been shaped for millennia by the Todra River for miles. Although this river is today partly dried outside the flood periods, the monumental proportions of the Todgha Gorge suggest the power generated by this river when it sculpted this fabulous landscape of rocks bathed by the sun.

Halfway on the 1,000 kasbahs road (citadels or old adobe fortifications) between the cities of Ouarzazate and Erfoud, the Todgha Gorge is at the feet of the highest peaks of the Moroccan Atlas Mountains. Some peaks in this eastern part of the High Atlas exceed 4,000 meters above sea level. Including the neighbouring Dadès Gorges, more than 40 km of canyons is dug through the cliffs and mountains. This arid region is endowed with green assets so precious for its inhabitants, like its lush palm groves and its large oases of freshness. An ingenious irrigation system, perpetuated from ancient times by the inhabitants of the wadi aware of the scarcity of water resources, promotes market gardening and the growth of many fruit trees.

Various hiking trails will allow you to roam the steep landscapes of the High Atlas mountains on your own or accompanied by mules and camels. You will have the opportunity to discover many Berber villages residing in the Drâa-Tafilalet region. The cliffs and rock walls of the Todgha Gorge, well provided with climbing lanes, have become of global importance site for climbers. In winter, it happens that this natural site is covered with a layer of snow (as it was the case in 2016).

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  • The spectacular landscapes of the Moroccan High Atlas; the abrasive limestone rocks and steep walls
  • The yellow, orange and red colour of the rocky walls of the Todgha Gorge
  • The kasbah (citadel) of Aït Benhaddou and its famous ksar on the road to the gorges in the surroundings of Ouarzazate
  • The cities of Boumalne Dades and Qalaat MGouna; the villages of M’Semrir, Tamtetoucht, Aït Hani and Bou Tharar; the road between Tinghir and Tamtetoucht flanked from high cliffs or bordered by deep ravines
  • The vast palm groves of Skoura and Tinghir ; the hot spring of the oued Toudra (according to a legend, it contains sacred fish)
  • Nearby, the Dadès Gorges (the valley of figs) and its winding roads; the Draa Valley, its ksour and its kasbahs in adobe; The valley of the roses blooming at 1.500 meters above sea level (Qalaat MGouna)
  • Fruit trees and traditional crops (almonds, cherries, peaches, apples, olives, figs, apricots…) ; the spectacle of goats climbing on the rocky walls
  • The authentic lifestyle of local populations (mainly Berbers)
  • The activities of climbing, hiking and rafting in the High Atlas; skiing in winter
  • On the parts where the gorges shrink the most, the cliffs 160 meters high open the way to a passage only 10 meters wide.
  • Many Moroccan families regularly come in large numbers to take advantage of the freshness of the Todgha Gorges to bathe, picnic or wash clothes.
  • Located between the cities of Tinghir and Boumalne Dades, the village of Imider is seated on a huge mineral deposit. It is the largest mine in Africa operated by the 7th largest producer of silver in the world (the SMI or Société Métallurgique d’Imiter in which the Moroccan royal family is the main shareholder). The extraction, very polluting, brings no economic impact to the village and deprives the local people of water to irrigate their crops. For the past ten years, the inhabitants have been mobilizing in vain to protest against the appropriation and overexploitation of natural resources by mining companies. 240 tonnes of pure silver and mercury are extracted each year from Imider.
  • Privilege an autonomous mode of transport to explore this region with grandiose landscapes. A local guide can take you off the beaten track and will make you discover the less frequented areas.
  • Plan enough mineral water supplies if you go hiking alone.
  • The 150 or so climbing lanes laid on the rocky walls are open at all levels of practice. Prefer as much as possible those that are not exposed to the sun. The climbing agencies offering their services on site are not all provided with the same level of equipment.

Where to eat

  • La Petite Gorge
    (hearty and tasty)
  • Chez Pierre
    (delicious step)
  • Inass Welcome
    (relaxing frame)

Where to go out

  • Souk of Tinghir
    (huge market)
  • Musée des Sources de Lalla...
    (exciting visit)
  • Aventures Verticales Maroc
    (sporting discovery of the gorge)

Where to sleep

  • Panorama Todra
    (overlooking a palm grove)
  • Auberge le Festival
    (troglodyte rooms)
  • Riad Timadrouine
    (riad with character)

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