Many travelers search for the highest peak in their current location. Somewhere peaceful with a good view of the city and its surroundings. During a short visit to Tineghir I read about the Todra Gorge outside of town and decided I should take a look.
Getting there was a daunting task especially while traveling alone and on a budget. A solo taxi didn’t even want to take me out there as he would not likely get a fare back. He pointed at the Grand Taxi nearby. I asked the driver, he said to wait as that’s the norm for Grand Taxi’s. You sit until it’s full and everyone pays their share. Being the tourist mine was unlikely fair. Lucky for me it filled up fairly quickly and we were on our way.
The scenery was incredible. A lush green oasis stretched several hundred meters across the valley. The Grand Taxi weaved in and out of the valley as it climbed the mountain ranges on either side. This provided amazing vistas getting me excited for the days hike. I was so used to watching the flat rocky desert on the bus from Marakesh the day before. Within the oasis there was a livelihood of farmland, livestock and small villages. Children played together in the fields and on the river bank. It was nice to find a sense of community in such a desolate location.
I had the Grand Taxi to myself by the end of the trip as everyone had already vacated to their residences in the villages. The Grand Taxi came to a stop at the foot of the gorge. Towering 160 meters above me was the Todra Gorge. The road curled around a bend in the rock face which at that point was only 30 meters wide. I felt tiny but ready to conker what was in front of me. I payed the driver asking him if there would be a taxi back. He said “maybe”. I took that lightly but it gave me a bit of a worry. I spotted a few small hotels across the street in case I got stuck.
I approached the now very narrow gorge looking for the way to the top. A small river ran alongside the road. It appeared to have been much bigger and was now dried up. I followed the road around the bend passing a small souvenir stand. They put these stands in the most remote places. It’s just wrong! The man at the stand immediately ran after me as I passed asking if I needed a guide. I said “no thank you” and continued to walk towards a small trail I had spotted to the side of the road. The vendor was a typical aggressive Moroccan and persisted to be my guide. I managed to convince him otherwise and continued on my way. I could see the path much more clearly now and it appeared to circle up to the top of the gorge.
I preceded up the path and before I knew it I was out of breath as the climb had become more difficult. The rocks were loose and at times very large. I sent several flying down below me. I spotted an opening on the side of the path that led towards the top of the gorge. It seemed to be a lot quicker than the path I was currently climbing. I took the detour which was a bit of a mistake. The climb became quite treacherous and I found myself scrambling a few times to get out of awkward positions on the large rock faces.
After a struggle I reached the top which flattened out very nicely. It was well worth the climb as the view was incredible. I could see 360 degrees around me as well as the village and oasis below. I grabbed an odd shaped rock as a small souvenir to remember the climb.
The Todra Gorge is located on the East side of the High Atlas Mountains and can be reached via Tineghir (Tinerhir). It’s approximately 17km away. The easiest way out their if you’re on your own is via Grand Taxi. You just have to wait a while for it to fill up. Expect to wait a long time if you wish to return the same way.
There are a few places to stay along on the road on the way there and at the entrance of the gorge. The Todra Gorge is definitely off the beaten track and worth every moment.