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Visiting The Todra Gorges







A small stream running through the rich, red rock canyon of Tinghir’s Todra Gorges, en route from Merzouga to the Dades Valley.

Intro: As we drove from Merzouga through to the Dades Valley, we made one final stop in the dramatic canyon of Tinghir’s Todra Gorges, with its steep-sided cliffs and rich red rock formations.

On our way from Merzouga to the Dades Valley, we first stopped by the small town of Rissani, where we had a quick tour of its medina. Afterwards, we had lunch not too far away at Belle Vue Tinejdad Cafe Restaurant, although we both managed to doze off for what felt like hours on the drive there.

Charlene and I had woken up at 5AM to catch sunrise over the Sahara Desert and were starting to get pretty tired by noon. Our apologies to Youssef and Mohammed for not keeping them company, but the car we were riding in (a Toyota Prado) was way too comfortable for us not to fall asleep :).

A green oasis sprawls around a river bed in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains as we drove from Merzouga to the Dades Valley.

With our minds refreshed after the nap and our bellies full from a delicious lunch, we were ready to soak in the beautiful landscapes along the drive to our hotel in the Dades Valley. From luscious greenery and golden mountains to countless rectangular-shaped homes and a deep blue sky with streaking clouds, we couldn’t keep our eyes away from the car windows.

Charlene had her GoPro mounted on the front of the car and was recording the scenery ahead, while I took stills with my camera from the backseat. To make the experience even more memorable, Youssef bumped up the Moroccan music and shared with us a few tales, while Mohammed kept to his steady and safe driving.

The mid-afternoon sun hitting the dramatic cliff faces of Tinghir’s Todra Gorges.

In the mid-afternoon, we arrived at our final stop before reaching the Dades Valley: the Todra Gorges near the town of Tinghir. Comprised of several rock formations reaching as high as 160 meters, this canyon is located in the eastern part of the High Atlas Mountains. Both the Todra and its neighboring Dades Valley are spectacular, steep-cliffed canyons with rivers flowing through their bases, but it is the last section of the Todra Gorges that is truly something else.

Flat-roofed Moroccan towns nestled into the base of the Atlas Mountains on the drive from Merzouga to the Dades Valley.

Driving through the Todra Gorges, we were certainly amazed and humbled by the rock formations surrounding us. It felt like they were towering literally right above us and at any minute the gush of water could pass through the slim opening in between. Youssef told us that during the vacation months, the Todra Gorges canyon is filled with countless families, friends, and travelers as it’s the perfect spot to hang out, go for a swim, enjoy a picnic, and even go for a hike (woohoo!).

A small dog curiously checks out Charlene’s GoPro during our stop in Tinghir’s Todra Gorges.

We only spent about half an hour in the Todra Gorges, as we still had quite a bit of driving to do before reaching the Dades Valley, and our highlight was probably running into a really cute dog. Charlene is always quick on her feet when it comes to four-legged friends, and recorded this little guy coming up to her GoPro.

Safe to say, if we had more time, or ever make another trip out to Morocco, I’d love to spend a day or two camping at the Todra Gorges. It reminded me of the Grand Canyon back home. Maybe not as “grand”, but certainly just as amazing!


  • 1: Take a break from your long drive and dip your toes in the stream of the Todra Gorges.
  • 2: Be sure to ask your driver or guide to make a quick pit stop if you see any sights or landscapes you would like to photograph.
  • 3: If you’re into rock climbing, make sure to arrange this once-in-a-lifetime excursion.
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