Palm grove and Todra gorges
The lush Todra valley stretches for more than 30 km, from the Todra gorges to the village of Ferkla via Tinghir.
Starting from the High Atlas, the Oued Todra flows, sometimes with difficulty, between the slopes of the Atlas so that its course arrives to feed this vast and verdant fertile valley.
To do this, you must first cross the Todra gorges, where the oued edged with vertiginous limestone cliffs rising for the highest to 300 m is a paradise for hikers and climbers. This natural site already imposes and prefigures the contrasting beauty of the Todra valley.
A vast palm grove spreading from the end of the gorges, from Aït Snane it spreads its luxuriance about thirty kilometers to Agoudim, where the Todra, which has already largely irrigated the banks of this huge basin has struggling to make a way to the Ferkla and then flows into the Oued Gheris.
Browse the Todra Valley
If hiking seems to be the best way to discover this valley to the rhythm of the oued Todra, mountain biking or horse riding can also be a good choice to admire the palm grove’s interior, lined with rocky plateau dotted with typical villages on the other bank.
The old imperial ksar of Imzin overlooking the oued of its rocky peak, even though it’s largely in ruins is still partially inhabited. As for the Asfalou ksar, which was also rich in architecture, it was until the 1960s divided into two districts, one Jewish and the other Muslim.
Tinghir Palm Grove
An ingenious irrigation system called seguias, equipped with small canals, completing their courses in each garden allows to water all cultivated parcels of fruit trees, cereal crops and fodder.
This irrigation system is very codified, each village or farmer awaiting his turn, thus regulating a just distribution for all of this water so necessary to the life of this small agricultural world that is active there every day of the year.
In the lower valley, the river having already largely contributed to the upstream watering often has a low flow. There grows more barley and almond trees less water-intensive. Again, the plots are properly fed by a system called ‘nouba’, which allows each village to benefit in turn from the benefits of the oued for periods ranging from two to four days depending on the size of the plot. Village, its parcels and the availability of the oued.
Otherwise, when the lack of water is too felt, deep wells, sometimes up to forty meters deep, take over by powerful motor pumps. Towards the end of the valley, there are also khettaras, subterranean canals bringing water over several kilometers, they are traversed by access wells allowing their maintenance.
Before heading east, oued Todra runs along the banks of the attractive and attractive city of Tinghir, the provincial capital, but above all historic, of this great valley, a veritable melting pot of Amazigh culture.
Coming to the Todra gorges
To get to the beautiful Todra Gorges, there are many public taxis coming and going from the center of Tinghir. It takes 20 minutes and 2,50 Dh to browse the 14 km of a winding, abrupt and splendid road.
On Sunday morning in Tinghir, and during the evening in the Gorges, collective taxis are quickly taken by assault by the numerous local inhabitants who like to go to refresh themselves with family or friends, in the shade of these high vertiginous cliffs that border the oued Todra. Also on monday morning the big souk day.
Walking or biking
The most courageous can make, by the road, the ascent by bike or mountain bike. It can also be done by crossing this beautiful and vast palm grove on foot or motor bike to the quiet rhythm of the oued Todra.
It takes 6 to 8 hours of walk to contemplate these fabulous landscapes. In order not to get lost in the maze of small paths crisscrossing the palm grove, it’s better not to leave the main channel of irrigation, if not, to follow the numerous tracks of bicycles, they will always bring you towards the road.
On-site information for hiking
A guide office is located on the right at the entrance of the village of Taourirt, the first on the Gorges route.
Tinghir, capital of the Todra Valley, has become a provincial capital and has all the necessary services for your itinerary, accommodation and restaurants for all budgets. Large taxis and group vans crisscrossing the region.
Banks, post offices, pharmacies, clinics, public hospitals … everything is there, unlike the small villages in the Atlas where there are usually a few small grocers and the minimum …
Souks in Tinghir
The big souk is at the exit of Tinghir on the road of Ouarzazate. Very lively and colorful, with particularly authentic charm it takes place on Monday morning, Saturday being reserved for animals, such goats, oxen, donkeys …
Rent a car and explore the roads of the Todra Valley
It’s so much more pleasant to be able to ride according to our desires. There is now a car rental company in Tinghir with a few cars. Similarly, in Tinejdad there is another agency that proposes to bring you the vehicle to Tinghir. If you wish to rent a car online with an agency in Ouarzazate or elsewhere, see car rental section.
Capital of Todra
Tinghir has kept the memory of the Jewish population living there until the Six-Day War through the imprint of his mellah. Built on the edge of the palm grove, this old quarter called Aït el Haj Ali, entirely designed of adobe houses, wrought porticos, is a world apart sheltering alleys and tiny streets and, sometimes, overlapped covered passages.
Animated labyrinth due to its shopping streets lined with craft shops offering jewels and shimmering clothes, herbalism. Lively area, full of activities, inciting to stroll along the many terraces of its traditional cafes. Visiting Tinghir means also to climb to the Kasbah of the Glaoui which dominates of all its ruined height the palm, giving us an extraordinary panorama.
The immense Tinghir palm grove contains many hidden treasures for newcomers. So it is with the douar of El Hart, the village of potters, where these marvelous artisans are concentrated on the edge of the palm grove.
Tinghir market lanes and souks
When the heat of the afternoon fades and at night that the market lanes start to be animated. The atmosphere is as relaxed as swarming and is very appreciated by the inhabitants who stroll through one of the terraces of the many traditional cafés, by chatting with friends and drinking some tea, enjoying a meat bought in advance and grilled in one of the small shops of thecentral square.
If everything can be found in the central souk, especially food, the “men’s street” offering mainly modern men’s clothes. It remains with its female counterpart, the great shopping arteries of the small medina. Going down this “men’s street”, you come to a place where a food souk takes place on monday afternoon from where you can reach the street of the women and the mellah or the nearby palm tree to find a deserved freshness.
The old Kasbah of the Glaoui, built at the beginning of the twentieth century, unfortunately practically in ruins, offers us a breathtaking panorama stretching from the foothills of the Atlas to the Gorge at Jbel Sagho with an extraordinary view of the whole palm grove, the villages overlooking it as well as the whole city.
Mellah of Tineghir, witness of the region history
The mellah, built by the Jewish community living in Tinghir until the 1960s, is the oldest and most picturesque part of the city. Built entirely in adobe on the edge of the palm grove, it offers us a maze of alleys and lanes sometimes spanned by houses.
Magnificent porches opening onto this labyrinth complete an ensemble with admirable architecture. Do not miss a walk in ” Znarkth Tioutmine ”, the women’s street, lined with shops offering a wide variety of jewelry, traditional women’s clothing, herbalism and artisan workshops.
A long time ago this commercial artery was exclusively reserved for women so that they could shop there far from the eyes of men.
From Todra to Dades
The “route of the two gorges” connects the valley of Todra with that of the Dades. A fabulous journey to discover the splendours of the High Atlas to be carried out in 4×4 or hike.
From Tinghir, cross the magnificent Gorges of Todra, then go as far as Tamtattouchte or Aït Hani, from where you reach about 50 km to the west the verdant and welcoming high valley of Msemrir once crossed a pass at 2800m .
From there descend the beautiful gorges of Dades, lined with ancient kasbahs as far as Boumalne and its luxuriant valley. An exceptional itinerary, endowed with fantastic landscapes on which you must get some conditions informations during the winter period before attempting the adventure.
The Tinjdad palm grove of got two museums. The museum of the oases, entirely devoted to the Berber culture, is housed in an admirable kasbah of the magnificent Ksar el Khorbat, built in the nineteenth century.
Beautifully maintained, its twenty rooms offer you to discover the traditional life of the palm grove through many objects, tools, clothes that have been used for local crafts, agriculture, trade as well as old photos or models illustrating life In the palm grove.
The museum of the source Lalla Mimouna, meanwhile is poetically dedicated to the water so rich and necessary for the life of the palm plantation.
Imilchil, Moussem of the fiancés in the High Atlas
The valley of Imilchil, nested at 2000m is watered by the Meloul river which irrigates its gardens of high altitude in a grand landscape. Imilchil is famous for its celebration of fiancés and its big three-day souk, all doubled by a music festival, now international.
Imilchil is a mountain village that perfectly illustrates the life of the Berbers in the High Atlas. Do not miss nearby the lakes Tislit and Iselit, tragic symbol of two Roméo and Juliette berbers.
The Tizi Tirerhouzine peak culminates at 2700m in a spooky and desert lunar landscape, whose colors decline all the shades of gray and where the landscapes present clusters of rocks of various shapes. It is located on the axis linking Tinghir to Imilchil through Agoudal, the highest inhabited village of Morocco – 2400 m.
Hiking at the Jbel Saghro
The Jbel Saghro rises to the south of the Todra valley, the hiker will discover magnificent landscapes consisting of rocky and desert lunar plateaus dominated by Mount Bougafer.
From Tinghir you can reach the small palm grove of Alnif by crossing the jbel by the Tizi-n-Ismarene or that of Nkob passing by the picturesque village of Ikniouine and the Tizi-n-Tazazert, in splendid mountainous and wild landscapes which constitute the last buttresses of the Atlas at the gates of the Saharan desert.