In the eastern part of the High Atlas Mountains is a wadi at about 15 km of distance from Tinghir, there is a series of limestone river canyons that etches a splendid landscape. The most remarkable, last 600 meters of this canyon is called Todgha Gorges. These deep cliff-sided canyons are carved out by two rivers, namely Todgha and Dades. Being stuck in between of a 300 meters-deep fault, splitting the flanking limestone walls, is an experience in itself!
Highly hued, orange limestones of the gorge have incited fascination in many tourists who visit the Todgha Gorge as they voyage through the south on the ‘Road of One Thousand Kasbahs’. The spectacular peaks plunge down into the river bed and slim ravines, creating a sublime, picturesque view for as far as the sight goes.
Apart from being a heaven for the peripatetic traveler, Todgha Gorges make an exciting spot for the intrepid adventurer. Several hiking paths and trekking trails are available from the gorge to the palm grove. A well-maintained dirt path lets visitors walk easily through the valley. The path is often shared with mules and other packs of animals that travel from the villages to the grazing lands.
Best Time to Visit the Gorge
The best time to visit the gorge is in early morning hours, so you reach the canyon just in time to catch the sunrise. The gorge illuminates in a golden shade under the light of the sun. Several gift shops and vendors line up in the gorge during afternoon and sell until it suddenly gets colder in the evening.
Palm Groves of Todgha Gorges
Once you hike in the frondescence of the palm groves and meet the Berber villagers, you will never be able to see Morocco the same way.
When thinking of Morocco, tourists imagine miles and miles of Sahara Desert, dusty roads, camels, mudbrick houses, mosques, bustling souks, and carpets. With green and tall palm trees flanking the narrow river, the palmeraie lets you see a very different side of the kingdom.
The serene place is a perfect picnic spot for families who are on a vacation with children. The vendors along the path sell tea, water, and snacks, while there are a couple of restaurants where to you can enjoy a fulfilling meal.
The amicable locals residing in the small settlements surrounding the palm groves often interact with tourists in their broken English and offer them fruits and other snacks.
Todgha Gorges to palm groves is a tranquil and lush hike. The afternoons are not very hot, and the area is never too crowded. It is the perfect retreat for a relaxed day.
A Glimpse into the Life of Local Berbers
Journeying through the Togdha Gorges bring in many opportunities to observe the life of local Berbers who live in a nomadic lifestyle. They can be seen cultivating their lands, washing their figs, and refilling the empty jugs in the river. Some are usually strolling through the gorges, while others herd their donkeys and camels.
Todgha Gorges – A Paradise for Climbers
Todgha Gorges are a series of over three hundred and fifty rock formations differing from 25 to 300 meters high. These rocks are hard, rugged, and abrasive – in short, perfect for the climbers to crush in. The quality of these rocks has attracted many climbers from around the world since 1977, when the route of the West Pillars was opened for the sport.
The best part about Todgha is that you can climb all year, all you need to do is choose the right area to climb in each season. For example, the routes inside the big gorges are suitable to take down in summer but should be avoided in winter.
The best areas to go climbing in the gorges are:
- El Mansour Beach opposite the El Mansour Hotel (240 m high with 20 routes)
- Ford Needle behind the El Mansour Hotel, in the west bank (80 m with 5 routes)
- Pillar of the Sunset just after the Ford (10 routes)
- Slab of the Dutch just before arriving the Les Roches Hotel (12 routes)
- Satanic area found before reaching Les Roches hotel (4 routes)
- Meuk area or Gorges Exit at the right bank, near the cave (8 routes)
- Meuk are at the west bank around the house of the generator (7 routes)
- Van Gülich area opposite the exit of the gorge (15 routes)
- The White Trail ochre wall (5 routes)
- The Chaos at the foot of the Sacred Fish wall (15 routes)
Spending the Night in the Mouth of the Gorges
For the travelers, hikers, and climbers, who like to explore the gorges till the very last ray of light remains, there are several hotels located in and around the cliffs. These hotels offer comfortable accommodation. Some are luxurious and situated in silent corners of the gorges. The prices of these hotels fluctuate from season to season.
Here’s the list of top 3 hotels that we recommend you check out:
Auberge Le Festival
Located high in the Atlas Mountains, this hotel is an eco-friendly accommodation, constructed with natural materials. It is equipped with a hot tub, a children’s swimming pool, and an organic orchard. Tucked in a silent corner of the gorges, the hotel is a decorated in a traditional Berber style. All its rooms offer a grand view of mountains and valley.
Delicious Berber breakfast is available at the hotel. The hotel offers a series of activities like donkey ride, desert trekking, and climbing. Rental bicycles are also available.
Riad La Fleur
Located at a distance of 1 km from Todgha Gorges, this hotel offers a barbecue and sun terrace. Some of the rooms in this hotel that offer a view of mountains, river, or valley. Guests can enjoy food at the on-site restaurant. Free Wi-Fi, gift shop, and car rental are also available in the hotel.
The hotel is particularly liked by couples or those in a two-person trip.
Etoile des Gorges
This hotel offers a patio and a terrace. It offers free bikes on rent and other activities like horse riding, cycling, and hiking. There’s free parking, entertainment staff, and a shared lounge.
All rooms in this hotel offer a mystic view of lake and mountains.
Nothing like the usual tourist spot, Todgha Gorges are a must-visit itinerary!