The Gorges of Todra and Tinghir!
We all have two faces, even one more. No one is the same with one person as with another, in one context than in another. The same thing happens with tourist destinations: they are not the same when there are tourists in front of them when they are not. Reflections of my passage through the Todra and Tinghir gorges, two corners of Morocco with various faces .
The last time we spoke, we had just spent a day at the cinema in Ouarzazate, Moroccan Hollywood. From there we resumed our route to the Moroccan desert, although there was still one last stop on the odometer: the Todra gorges and the city of Tinghir .
How to get to the Todra gorges
Let’s start from a premise: although even Ouarzazate is “relatively” easy to go by public bus, from then on it is not the best option. You can get there, yes, but the complexity and the time required do not compensate. So, if you intend to visit the Todra Valley, better do it by rental car or organized tour . Almost any excursion to the Moroccan desert from Marrakech makes a stop here.
Personally I recommend the option of the car , especially since this gives you the possibility to move outside the rush hour. And the fact is that most of the people who visit these gorges do so as a morning stop on the way to Merzouga, so outside of these hours you will hardly see foreigners.
If you have the possibility to do it in your own vehicle, the path does not have much loss: it is enough to get to the city of Tinghir and there take the detour that is right next to the bridge. Considering that it is a destination that is becoming quite fashionable, it will not be difficult for you to find it. And if you can’t always do it the old-fashioned way: asking the countrymen.
Touring the gorges of Todra
In fact, by asking, we arrived at the Gorges of Todra on my first trip to Morocco. And, despite the fact that I went there with Ismail at the wheel, my Moroccan friend, he only knew the hearsay area, so we got lost a few times. So much so, that our arrival at the canyon was almost at dawn, so, with the lack of light, I did not finish being aware of where I was until the next morning .
Amazing. Centuries and centuries of work on the Todra River over this corner of the inexhaustible Atlas Mountains have shaped this incomparable spot.
A canyon with walls over 100 meters high, but not a third wide . Stunning, wild, fascinating.
An overwhelming landscape that has been put on the wish list of climbers from half Europe , who share the stage with youths of locals who climb there like nothing.
The image of the Todra River does the rest. It is striking how that stream with as little force as flow (in summer it is practically invisible) could have formed such a landscape. I suppose you have lived better times.
An overwhelming contrast that attracts more tourists every day, although most barely get off the bus or the tour van to take a photo. But the true charm of the Todra Gorges is visiting them in the afternoon , when there are hardly any visitors and the locals just hang around enjoying the place.
With the tourist detector turned off, they simply get together to eat something, rest, refresh or chat with the family for a while.
In fact, if at any time I took juice from this valley, it was not on my first trip, but when I returned as part of the photographic trip we organized around the country . On this occasion we visited the gorges in the afternoon and were able to live from that most authentic Todra.
Sleeping in the gorges of Todra
But to access that reality without jam, the best thing is to stay and sleep right there. Throughout the more than 20 kilometers through which this canyon extends , small villages and small lodges are hidden. Generally humble accommodations, but ideal to get to the bottom of the throat. Some recommendations:
- As in all that area, Airbnb has a wide variety of accommodations.
- For 20 euros the couple will be able to sleep in a simple but pleasant lodging at the canyon doors.
- If you have a slightly higher budget, € 85 costs the triple room in the elegant Dar Bab Todra riad.
- With the group of photographers we spent the night at Dar Ayour. It is not a big deal, but the views from the terrace are amazing. Especially at night. Will cities one day give us back the starry nights they owe us?
Tinerhir, Tineghir, Tinghir (or whatever you want to call it) is an interesting city to stop on the way to the desert. And not only for its proximity to the mentioned Todra gorges, about 15 kilometers, but also for its importance and for the spectacular palm grove that surrounds it .
In fact, the greatest charm of this city of 40,000 inhabitants is seeing it from the top of one of the viewpoints on the road . It is impressive to see that extensive green mass in a region so brown.
Do not expect too much inside, although with the photographic group we enjoy walking through a place so little conditioned by tourism . Despite the fact that there are lodgings and some tourists over there …
… the reality is that this is one of the least adulterated places I have visited in Morocco.
As in other Moroccan cities, the souk is an ideal place for a street photography lesson .
Of course, once again, I remind you to avoid portraying the locals without asking their permission. Or heads will roll.
Tinghir and the Todra Gorges were the last detours before Merzouga and the Erg Chebbi dunes . Two destinations that tourists began to shape to our liking, but still retain much of its truth . We will talk about the magic of the desert in the next post. Any questions so far?