Gorges of Dades and Todra in Morocco: between the rocky walls of the Atlas

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Alejandra Rangel
@alejandrarangel
SOURCES CONSULTED:

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

Author and references

Le Gorges of the Dades and those of Todra are one of the most interesting places in Morocco. All, or almost all, have seen at least once the photo on the "cover" of this article.

That is the natural spectacle of the Dades Gorges. A person who does not know Morocco would never expect that in a country where there are excursions in the desert, a few hundred kilometers there is a mountain range that at its highest point also reaches the 4000 meters in the part of the High Atlas.



The latitude and the heat even at high altitudes do not allow luxuriant vegetation (in the Middle Atlas near Ifrane si) and the peaks are particularly dry and bare.

There is a stark contrast between the green of the palm groves, the red earth of the mountains and the blue of the sky. Just three colors, but three colors that make the landscape a spectacle.

Palm groves that can be admired from the road

In the context of the Atlas Mountains, many travelers do this itinerary in Morocco from south to north they stop to enjoy the peace of the mountains. And what better place than the Dades and Todra Gorges.

The Dades Gorges: how to get to the viewpoint

On the web, information is scarce and incorrect; looking google images often, typing Tizi n Tichka step, the photo of the Dades Gorges appears. Erroneously this leads us to think that crossing the pass there is a point where you can see the road from above as well as in the photo that I have attached a few lines above.

It happened to me too, and the result was to get off the pass with half disappointment for not having found the viewpoint, only to realize that the photos were not correct.



The Dades Gorges are located inhomonymous valley. The river that formed them is precisely the Dades and to reach them is very simple, just get to Boulmane Dades and turn towards the road that leads to Tamellat.

The landscapes are at first lunar, then suddenly palm groves open up in the gorges which are particularly wide at this point.

The surrounding landscape

The road continues with the palm grove on the right and the mountain on the left, the landscape is always dominated by the green of the palm groves and the red of the mountains.

At one point, continuing, it is not clear where that fateful vantage point in the photo is. Yet we continue, it must arrive sooner or later!

I will not leave you on your toes, the panoramic point you reach after about 25 km since he turned to Tamellat, but it will be the most rewarding 25 km ever made. The road remains semi-flat until the moment you cross the river on a bridge and find yourself with the mountain on the right. From this point on, the gorges tighten a lot and the road begins to rise with several hairpin bends, those hairpin bends that can be seen in the photo.

The view from the bar at the top of the Dades Gorges

Back and forth, until you reach the point where the road "crosses". You will notice a hotel on the crest of the mountain and just above the hotel you will see a bar with a panoramic view in which you must necessarily enter if you want to take the famous photo. It matters little, considering the place you will be, I recommend investing a few dirhams for a drink.


This place is great. In the silence of the wind you can enjoy a spectacular view, that photo seen and reviewed on the internet and in magazines, takes shape. It is right there in front of your eyes!


The view is also spectacular behind the restaurant, where the road continues. A small cabin and a table immersed in nothing.

The "back" of the Dades Gorge panorama

To go back you will have two choices:

  • Return via the road you have just traveled.
  • Continue the road and take the detour to the Todra Gorges which can only be reached via a dirt road. It is NOT a journey to do if you do not have a 4 × 4 car.

The Todra Gorges

Not far from the Dades Gorges I recommend you also visit the Todra Gorges.


I visited both but on two different days because I wanted to dedicate the right time to them. I stayed overnight in Tinghir at the Maison d'Hote Valentine just a few hundred meters from the entrance to the gorges.

Stay overnight close and have the opportunity to visiting the Todra gorges early in the morning is essential to be able to really enjoy them. At around 11 the first buses from the various agencies begin to arrive and from a small paradise it turns into a small market, always very beautiful but much less fascinating.

The gorges are flat and it is a short stretch, I don't think it even reaches the kilometer. They are special because they are narrow and the river only appears on the surface in the middle of the gorges.

The cold water emerges from the ground and begins to flow towards the town of Tinghir. You will see local women use water to perform some daily action and my advice is to do not photograph them treacherously. The local population is used to tourists but it is definitely not like what you will find visiting Marrakech.


Arriving by car towards the gorges, before the entrance you will find a large parking lot on the left before a tavern. The question will arise spontaneously… can I park here or can we go further? The answer is: go further. The road continues, passes inside the gorges and continues to the village of Toumliline, it is a normal road in all respects.

Near the gorges the road becomes wider and it is possible to park on the left side directly between the walls of the gorges themselves.

Visiting the gorges early, without the hordes of tourists, means enjoying the peace and silence. Furthermore, continuing towards the end of the gorges you will find a point where a via ferrata starts. If you are a lover of via ferratas I advise you to get information, a day on a via ferrata in the Atlas mountains shouldn't be bad at all!

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