Everything You Need to Know About Todra Gorge

Todra Gorge, also called Todgha Gorge, is a natural oasis in the mountains of Morocco. Made of limestone and split by the river bed, it’s one of Morocco’s top attractions for visitors. The walls of the gorge are towering, and the river bed is dried, allowing visitors to walk through the landscape most of the year. The entire area is a paradise for photographers, and hikers and climbers have grown to love it. If you’re planning to visit Todra Gorge, here’s everything that you’ll need to know.

Interesting Facts

 

• The Dades Rivers are responsible for creating the Todra Gorge.

• Many of the canyon walls can reach 400 meters in height.

• The last 600 meters of the gorge is the most beautiful.

• There are more than 150 bolted routes for rock climbers.

• The gorge was featured in the premiere of the T.V show, Expedition Impossible.

• It was featured in a 2012 Cadillac CTS advert.

• Visitors can stay overnight at the mouth of the gorge.

• The surrounding area of the gorge is home to Berber tribes.

 

Where is Todra Gorge

 

The Todra Gorge is located in eastern Morocco, in the High Atlas Mountains. The closest town is Tinerhir, and the Dades Rivers are close by. If you’re traveling between Ouarzazate and Erfoud, you can easily stop off to visit the gorge. However, Tinerhir is an ideal base from which you can explore the gorge.

 

If you’re flying in, Ouarzazate International Airport, is the closest as it’s under three hours away by car. Marrakech International Airport is another, more popular option as there are more flights coming in and out. It’s about 402 kilometers from the town of Tinerhir. If you have a car, you can take the P32 highway from Tinerhir heading towards Er-Rachidia and Erfoud. Drivers will be able to follow the signs towards Todra Gorge, passing the village of Tizgui along the way.

 

When To Visit Todra Gorge

 

The best time of year to visit the gorge is during Spring and Autumn. This is when the weather is the nicest, but also when the most tourists come. You may be better off coming during the summer, when it’s very hot, or the winter, when it’s quite cold, to avoid crowds. March through November is said to be one of the best times to visit. Since there is no snow here, visitors can come from December through February and still enjoy their stay. However, nights tend to get much colder during this time. If you plan on staying in a hotel instead of outside, this might be a great option, especially if you’re trying to avoid the crowds.

 

During July and August, temperatures can get up to 30 degrees celsius. You may also want to avoid visiting during Ramadan which takes place in May and June, and April and May. Many businesses shut down during this time.

 

What To Do in Todra Gorge

 

From hiking and rock climbing to photography and local culture, there is plenty to do while visiting. Here are some options for making your trip to Todra Gorge more interesting.

 

Shop For Carpets: Berber carpets are ornate, beautiful, and make fantastic souvenirs. There’s a kasbah located near the gorge, and local villagers set up shop with their handmade carpets. Before you leave, make sure to take a look, do a little haggling, and snag yourself a great deal on a new item for your home.

 

Hiking: There are hikes for all levels around in the gorge. Most people go with tour groups or guides who show them around. The hikes will take you throughout the valley and up to the top of many of the limestone walls. Some of the trails are more like walks than hikes, but the scenery is beautiful regardless.

 

Have a Picnic: If you want to spend a little time soaking in the scenery, pack a picnic. You’ll probably see other visitors scattered around the gorge having lunch with their friends and family. This is a great way to spend some time here without spending a lot of money at a restaurant.

 

Go Camping: If you love the outdoors and adventure, you may want to camp instead of staying in a hotel. There are a few tour companies who can set this up for you. The warmer months are better for spending the night outside. Stargazers and photographers tend to love this option.

 

Rock Climbing in Todra Gorge: This is one of the best spots in the world for rock climbing. There are more than 100 official routes that allow climbers to experience the gorge safely. There are routes for every level, many of which include multi-pitch routes. Beginners are welcomed here too as the gorge is a great place to learn. The Todra Gorge uses the French Sport Grade, so make sure that you have a grade conversion chart. While there are tons of rock climbing routes, here are a couple of the popular options:

• Saracosta: This route is located on Plage Mansour and starts off on a slab-like face. It ends up on an overhanging corner that has fantastic holds.

• Voie Albert: This one of located in the center of the gorge. Climbers will head up Pilier du Couchant with an 8-9 pitch mixed climb.

• Chibania: Best for well-seasoned climbers, this route goes up the right side of Pilier du Couchant and offers stemming on the crux pitch, as well as face climbing.

• Big Ben: This climb will take you up Jardin D’Hiver. It starts off with a ledge, and follows up with a steep second bulge. The anchors have pockets and there are crimpy holds.

• Docteur Excentrique: This climb is classic, especially for those who like picturesque scenery. Climbers will start with a flake, go up through the overhanging roof, and finish over the bulge.

• Je Abidul: This route is a long classic that offers incredible views of Jardin D’ete. It has a crux right before the anchor, and will require a 70m rope.

 

Todra Palmeraie: This stunning landscape is a must-see if visiting Todra Gorge. It’s lined with palm trees, small villages, olive groves, and vegetable gardens. Give yourself a couple of hours to wander around the area by foot and enjoy the scenery.

 

Ikelane Mosque: Located two kilometers from Tinghir, this mosque is one of the most beautiful in southern Morocco. There’s a prayer hall, a skylight dome, terrace, classroom, and a well. The structure was used as a school for small children, a high school for those studying the Koran, a mosque, and a hostel for students. The mosque was once abandoned but has been under restoration throughout recent years.

 

Amtoudi Village: Home to around 300 families, this Berber village makes a great stop when visiting the gorge. The land is dotted with farms and irrigation systems that help grow figs, olives, apricots, dates, and almonds. Overlooking their village is an ancient grain facility which is partly what sets them apart from other villages. It’s a bit off the beaten track, but local guides are happy to show visitors around.

 

Aït-Boujane: Located in the valley of Todra, this ancient village is a beautiful sight and interesting destination. Visitors will get to see a lineup of mud houses, palm groves, and a lovely mountain backdrop. Tours can be had by foot or via camel.

 

Tinghir Weekly Market: This is one of the largest markets in southern Morocco. If you’re using Tinghir as your base, it’s worth sticking around to explore. The market has been around for centuries and sells local crafts, livestock, dates, olives, fruit, and grain. The big market happens on Mondays, and the cattle market takes place on Saturday. Aside from food and produce, visitors will also find handmade, traditional clothing, sandals, furniture, woven mats, teapots, toys, kitchen items, bikes, craft tools, seeds, plants, spices, mineral salt, henna leaves, eggs, poultry, baskets, scarves, makeup, pottery, and antiques. Don’t forget to stop into one of the makeshift cafes for some mint tea.

 

Dades Gorge:  Alongside Todra Gorge, this is one of the best in Morocco. This gorge can be wide and low, but in some areas, the walls are massive. Take a drive through the area and stop off at villages along the way.

 

Ouarzazate: While a little bit farther away from Todra Gorge, Morocco’s, Little Hollywood, is a great destination to add to your trip. You can visit Ben Haddou, one of the top Game of Thrones movie set destinations. Pop into the Telouet Kasbah, a historically significant building that has since fell to abandonment. Visitors can also check out the film studio, tour the desert on camel, or drive a 4×4 into the dunes. It’s a great stop for an adventurous day while visiting Todra Gorge.

 

Erfoud: This town is another great place to stop on your journey to Todra Gorge. It is known as the Gates of the Sahara, and has plenty to see. Visit the Royal Palace, the bustling souq, the renowned fossil collection, and the Jewish cemetery. Stop off at one of the street cafes, or head into the desert for a 4×4 ride. The town is also well known for its food and drink options so make sure to wander around and have yourself a delicious meal.

 

 

Where To Stay

 

There are quite a few accommodation options around the Todra Gorge. From hotels to guest houses and camping, visitors will have their choice. Here are some of the top options:

• Auberge Le Festival Todra Gorge: Top-rated hotel with outdoor pool, terrace, onsite restaurant, private bathrooms, and a historic decor.

• Kasbah Maison D’hôte Lalla Zahra: Popular with couples, this hotel has private parking, WIFI, some rooms that overlook the mountains, a terrace for dining, and options for biking and windsurfing.

• Berbere De La Montagne: A campsite in the Dades Gorge. It’s quite small but has shot showers, western toilets, a lounge, restaurant, fireplace, and a place to charge cell phones and camera batteries.

• Palmeraie Guest House: Located in Tinerhir, this guest house has a sun terrace and mountain views. There’s a restaurant onsite, gardens, and traditional decor.

• Riad Al Anwar: This Riad is located in Tinerhir and offers free WIFI, private parking, and a restaurant. The area is popular for biking, and they offer rentals so that you can go off and explore.

 

Useful Tips

• Visit with a guide for a better understanding of the gorge.

• Be careful of the local people trying to sell you tours at the gorge.

• Nearby hotels can set you up with rock climbing or hiking tours.

• Not all of the hotels have quality rock climbing equipment so bring your own if you are concerned about that.

• For something different, rent a mountain bike and explore that way.

• You can ask your guide to take you to a local Berber house for tea and a meal.

• Be prepared for tourist crowds. Try to come earlier if you want to beat them.

• Check out the nearby vendors if you want to buy some Berber crafts such as rugs.

• If you explore without a guide, there are usually local villagers around who can help you if you lose your way.

• Pack sunscreen, sturdy walking shoes, and layers if you want to make sure you’re comfortable during your visit.

• Once in the vicinity of the gorge, a car is not necessary.

• It’s OK to haggle on prices when it comes to hotels, car rentals, and restaurants.

• Watch out for fake tour guides and carpet sellers who may try to rip you off.

• Don’t give money to the children who are begging. Many of them will offer to take you to Tinerhir; don’t accept.

• Don’t drink the water from nearby springs or the tap water in hotels.

 

Todra Gorge is a great place to visit when you want to take a break from the bustling cities of Morocco. It’s one of the most spectacular gorges in the world, and should be a must-see on your trip. Whether you rock climb, hike, take photos, or just wander around, the Todra Gorge is bound to impress. Get in touch with us today for more information about planning your trip.

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