The Todra gorges in Morocco up to 300 meters high and only 10 meters wide at their narrowest part are probably the most impressive gorges in Morocco. Nestled in an idyllic red desert landscape, this place attracts many mountaineers, climbers […]
The Todra gorges in Morocco up to 300 meters high and only 10 meters wide at their narrowest part are probably the most impressive gorges in Morocco. Nestled in an idyllic red desert landscape, this place attracts many mountaineers, climbers and travelers in search of extraordinary places for its beauty.
Everything you need to know to visit the Todra Gorges in Morocco will be covered in this article.
Todra gorges are located in the southeastern part of Morocco, 15 km from Tinghir, and are the gateway to the High Atlas. 168 km separate this valley from Erfoud and 160 km from Ouarzazate.
Visitors to the Sahara desert stop here or stay the night because of its busy location on the route between Marrakech and Merzouga.
If you come by car from Marrakech you will have to go first to Ouarzazate. You have about 3 hours because part of the road is very mountainous, but in good condition. You have two and a half hours to get to the Todra gorges from Ouarzazate. Parking at the beginning of this tour is 25 minutes drive north of Tinghir on the R703 just after the narrowest section of the Todra Gorge. The road to the Tinghir gorges is easy to drive and paved.
To get to the Todra Gorges from Marrakech by shared taxi you will have to take 3 taxis. The first from Marrakech to Ouarzazate with a cost of 100dh, in Ouarzazate will take another taxi to Tinghir whose price varies between 50 and 60 dh depending on the season. You must take a taxi from Tinghir to the gorges.
The gorges are not accessible by bus from Marrakech.
The best choice is to board the SUPRA TOURS bus, which departs for Merzouga every morning at about 8:30.
You will be staying in Tinghir, and you can get a taxi to the gorges from there.
What time of year is ideal for visiting the Todra Gorges?
When lush green crops contrast with red rock in the spring, the gorge and oasis are at their most picturesque. Unluckily, snow can slowly melt in the early spring, and heavy rains can wash away the rock, impeding travel through mountain passes.
In summer it can be very hot, making hiking difficult. Although the colors are not as vibrant as spring, late September and October are still great times to visit.
The Todra Gorges belong to the Todra Valley, named after the river that crosses it. The Todra River flows into the Todra Gorges after traversing the mountains for more than 39 km. This river is important for the population of the area because it feeds the large palm of Tinghir. This palm grove consists of community gardens where families grow fruits and vegetables. The enormous palm grove is irrigated by creative sigas systems.Apples, pomegranates, apricots, almonds, olives, dates, cereals, ferns and traditional Moroccan mint trees are grown here.Despite the frequent flooding, the wadi represents the prosperity of farmers and the nearby villages.
Todra gorges are Morocco’s main climbing destination (and North Africa). It has about 490 routes, the majority of which are priced at 5 cents or less. This place really has something for each level of climber. The rock is of good limestone quality, almost all of which range from polished to perfectly vertical.
If you want to climb the Todra gorges there are some agencies to hire but if you want to go on your own you should know that in general the routes are well closed but some not so well, which means it’s a good idea to at least consult with a local company first for the latest maintenance reports.
Climbing in the Todra Gorges (Photo: guides and peaks)
If you’re not a climber, you can also enjoy these spectacular gorges on a hike. This route is quite accessible to all and can be a very authentic excursion where you will share the road with the nomadic inhabitants of the Berber settlements of the area who walk with their goats, donkeys and mules. These people are very hospitable and could even be lucky to be invited to have tea in their homes – a real Moroccan experience!
Although there are numerous companies in Tinghir that offer guided tours lasting anywhere from a few hours to several days, it is not really necessary to have a guide because this route through the Todra gorges is quite straightforward.
Some technical details of the route
Difficulty: Easy to medium twelve kilometers (2 km more for a detour to the summit)
Duration: 3.5 hours (30 extra minutes for the summit detour)
Slope: 400m of ascent and descent (60m more for the detour of the summit).
Directions for the Todra Valley Walk
When traveling north along the R703, just after passing the gorge’s narrowest section, a sizable gravel parking lot will be visible on your left. This is where the ride begins. A path leading up to the left of the main road is visible there. The road begins as a concrete staircase that quickly transforms into a gravel track as it ascends the valley.
After about 30 minutes the road will take a left turn that zigzags to a ravine. Despite being short, this portion of the walk is the steepest. After 10 or 16 minutes, the road turns right and flattens.
As the road flattens completely (and the peak it has been leaving to the left disappears) the main road continues to bend forward to its right. Ignore this and turn left, climb a slight slope of only 20 to 30m and you will reach a chair between the hills (marked 2 on the map).
OPTIONAL PATH. A 11-minute stroll along a gentle ridge leads south to a small peak.e. Small landmarks mark the way. The summit is marked by a great landmark and has great views of Tinghir and its surroundings.
From the saddle and continue east along a shallow ravine keeping a dry riverbed close to your right. After about 5 minutes, the road turns right, crosses the dry riverbed, passes through a circular walled enclosure before climbing on the other side. It then folds counterclockwise through a nomadic settlement where tents can be present. (There will be caves).
Because nomads have cut some roads, it is a little difficult to know which one to follow. But basically, after having crossed the settlement, climb to the top of the ridge from where you can see the road you want, as it disappears through the valley (If you need help with this part, use maps.me.)
The road now heads east and descends slowly, with a pair of zigzags, before reaching a small flattened area from which a path descends to the northeast on the left side of a steep valley. It is a road that flattens and then follows a dry riverbed as it descends towards the city.
Pass through the houses, find one of the temporary bridges that the villagers put over the river, cross and make your way through the northern part of the Tinghir oasis to the road on the other side. Turn left on the road and follow the Todra gorge before reaching the car park again.
1- First, and as a tip, it is better to do the early hike to avoid the hottest hours (especially in spring, summer and autumn). Therefore, provide a jacket for the time until it is hot. Clothing should be comfortable (do not rub) and a cap or, more in the local style, a turban is essential for sun protection. Also take a lightweight raincoat just in case.
2- The conditions of the trail on this trek are relatively simple, no stretching is technically difficult with a pair of shoes or trekking shoes will be enough. You’ll see the nomads up and down in flip-flops or shoes, but this is their way, they’re used to it.
3- It is essential that you are well hydrated before leaving and that you take at least one liter of water per person for the ride. Drinks are available at cafes in Todra Gorge towards the end of the hike, but you will need to drink first.
4- Save this map to your phone so you can carry it (just in case…).
5- Even though the gorge has a number of cafes, it is best to bring a snack.
6- If you have a good camera, you will not regret taking it.
There are many options for sleeping. For the more adventurous, you should know that camping in nature (not to the liking of the locals).
– Auberge-Camping Le Festival
– At Le Soleil Campsite
– Hotel Amazir
– Hotel Restaurant Yasmina
– Hotel Les Roches
– Hotel Etoile des Gorges and Hotel el-MansourShare this tour