How to visit The Todra (Todgha) gorge in Morocco
In the eastern part of the Atlas Mountains, you will find the Todra gorge, a piece of wonderful natural beauty that you should not miss during your road trip to Morocco.
The red-colored gorge is known for its dramatic cliffs (sometimes up to 300 meters high) and unique rock formations, which have been carved over time by the Todgha River. But the desolate landscapes, palm oases, Berber tents, and picturesque villages with mud houses in the area are also worth coming to this part of the Atlas.
You can do beautiful walks and it is also a true paradise for climbers and photographers. A fantastic place to visit and especially to spend the night there.
TIP: Many people pass by here on a tour or on their way somewhere else, and don’t spend enough time there. We really recommend if you have time, staying there for a night and discovering the area better.
The Todra Gorge Morocco: where is it and how to get there
The Todra Gorge or Todgha Gorge is a must-see in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco. It is located in the Todra valley near the rather large city of Tinghir and the famous part is more than 15 kilometers or 9 miles long.
If you have your own car (check here for the prices to rent a car in Morocco), it is about a 6-hour drive from Marrakech. On the way, you will also encounter Aït Benhaddou and Ouarzazate. You can do this as a day trip, but it is more fun to spend the night in Aït Benhaddou and then at the Todra gorge. From Aït Benhaddou or Ouarzazate, it is about a 3-hour drive.
Read more: Itinerary for a 10-day or two-week tour in Morocco
If you come from the desert near Merzouga, as we did, it is also about a 3-hour drive to the Todra gorge. From the royal city of Fez, it is a bit further to drive and it will take you almost 8 hours.
If you have not rented a car in Morocco, you can also book a tour. There are various possibilities. You can book multi-day tours from Marrakech to Fez or from Fez to Marrakech where you also visit the Todra gorge. Another possibility is to book a day tour from Ouarzazate.
The disadvantage of these tours is that you do not have much time for the gorge itself and in this article, we just want to show you why you should not pass quickly here, but really take your time to discover the area and also spend the night.
What to do in the Todra gorge
Visit the Todra Gorge in Morocco
The Todra gorge is of course the biggest attraction here and the reason why most people come to this region. Thousands of years ago, the gorge was carved out by the river. Then it was still wild, now it has become a small stream. At the narrowest part, you are completely surrounded by towering cliffs. Beautiful to see!
On the way to the gorge, you don’t see much traffic and movement, but once you get to the narrowest part, the gorge is filled with stalls, tourists, hikers, cars, and some tourist vans that drive through the gorge. All on the same road, so watch out.
TIP: If you want to avoid the worst crowds, come early in the morning or early evening. Then most of the tours and tourists disappeared. Then the sun also provides the most beautiful shades.
The sheer walls and structures of the Todra Gorge are perfect for climbers. Beginners but especially more experienced climbers, everyone can indulge themselves here. There are hundreds of climbing routes to choose from.
It is best to book a guide who accompanies you during the climbing and who knows the region very well. Yet another possibility is to do a day trip mountaineering, where you hike, climb and scramble away from the standard hiking trails.
You can also rent climbing equipment from the providers of these tours, such as Aventure Verticale Maroc.
In addition to climbing, you can also go hiking near the Todra gorge, it is beautiful. The ideal way to see the less touristy side of the Todra gorge. There are several hikes that you can do yourself but do not underestimate them. Be well prepared or go out with a local guide.
TIP: If you would like to hike in the area, keep in mind that it can get very hot during the day. So take plenty of water with you and preferably leave early in the morning or earlier in the late afternoon. Then calculate how long you have to walk approximately so that you certainly don’t have to look for your way in the dark.
We did a beautiful walk without a guide for 3 to 4 hours, which we will talk about in full in the next point. If you prefer a guide, we can recommend the following.
Hike through the Todra gorge
We chose to do this nice walk of 3 to 4 hours that takes you above the Todra gorge. We did the hike with our children aged 11 and 12, so it is also possible for families whose children are used to walking.
Drive to the parking lot just past the canyon. There you will see some concrete stairs on the other side of the road. They form the start of the walk and then lead you along the paths that the nomads also use with their donkeys.
First, you go up for a long time (with one part that is really steep). Once you are at the top, you can enjoy some beautiful views. And then you also pass a nice nomad family who will offer you a cup of tea. Even if they don’t literally ask, it is nice to give them a small compensation. This tea is also the only thing you will find along the way, so be sure to bring plenty of water.
Then you walk back down towards the valley. Once you get to the village, you can walk through the landscaped gardens (full of irrigation canals) back through the gorge towards your car.
TIP: The walk itself is not difficult to find, but up there everything looks a bit alike. Without maps.me we find it almost impossible. Download the walk so you can view it offline because there is almost no mobile coverage. Look for these coordinates 31.589090, and -5.5968 in the app so you can find the hike. Below you can see an image of the hike in the Todra Gorge.
Best places to spend the night at the Todra gorge
Unfortunately, most people don’t stay very long in the Todra gorge. But if you want to take a nice walk (in the morning or in the afternoon), or also want to discover the other highlights in the area, we really recommend that you stay overnight at the Todra gorge.
We stayed at a nice guest house La Petite Gorge, 2 km from the Todra gorge, in the nearby village. Very friendly people and simple but nice rooms. In the morning you can eat your breakfast on the terrace with a beautiful view over the mountains.
Do you really want something special? Then Auberge La Festival is the place to be. This eco-lodge is located in the Todra gorge surrounded by nature. Built with natural materials, the lodge blends completely into its surroundings. But the rooms are very special, as they are carved into the rock and you sleep in a kind of cave. Book in time because this place is popular.
TIP: If you have a little more time, consider staying two nights in this area. Driving here usually takes more time than you would think, so you can use an extra day. You can then choose to spend the night at the Todra gorge, in Tinghir, or at the Dadès gorge.
Visit the Dades gorge
The Todra gorge is perhaps the most famous of the two, but if you have enough time you really should visit the Dadès gorge. From Tinghir it is an hour’s drive via the main road to the start of the gorge, near the village of Boumalne du Dadès. There is also a nice local market there on Wednesdays.
You can also take a shortcut through the mountains, but that is only possible with a 4×4. If you don’t have one, you can also book this 4WD adventure tour from Todra to Dades. If you prefer not to drive here yourself, you can also book a tour from Ouarzazate.
The most famous point of the gorge is the spectacularly winding way up. For the best view, go to this point, where you can also drink or eat something while enjoying the views.
The landscape is full of red rocks, mud kasbahs, and green trees. You can also do several beautiful walks in this landscape. You can do most of them without a guide (like with Monkey Fingers), but you can also book a guided walking tour that takes you to the most beautiful places in the Dadès gorge.
What is the best time to visit the Todra and Dades Gorge?
Unlike many other places in Morocco, the Atlas Mountains are much more pleasant in the summer. So from April to early October is the best time to visit the Todgha and Dadès gorge. Then there is little rain and no too high temperatures.
During the winter is also perfect, but then you have an almost daily chance of some rain.
We visited the Todra Gorge in September and had good weather, although there was a kind of fog so that we could see the views a little less well.
Any questions about the Todra gorge? Please let us know and we will be happy to help you! Have fun traveling!