Dades Gorge and the Winding Road in Morocco
The beautiful Dades Valley near Boumalne du Dades with the picturesque Dades Gorge and the spectacular serpentine road is one of the absolute highlights of a tour through Morocco. Whether by car or motorcycle, a drive through this canyon is a very special experience and truly adventurous. Visitors are thrilled by the color contrasts and the incredible scenic beauty. But the most spectacular section of the route is definitely the breathtaking Zik-Zak road, almost at the end of the canyon. But visitors also come from all over the world for hiking and trekking.
In this travel guide we give you all the important tips about the spectacular Dades Gorge in Morocco. In addition, we show you beautiful pictures and give useful recommendations about travel, hotels and accommodation in the Dades Valley.
General information about the Dades Gorge
The Dades Valley in Morocco is located in the province of Thingir and is part of the imposing Atlas Mountains. Most famous is the Dades Gorge, the so-called “Gorges du Dadès“, which stretches from the oasis town of Boumalne Dadès to the north to the village of M’semrir. Along it runs a green river course that irrigates the valley and makes it lush, providing the livelihood for the many small villages. Also worth seeing and another attraction are the numerous well-preserved clay castles, the so-called Kasbahs, which were once built by the Berbers to defend themselves against enemies.
Drive Through the Dades Gorge (Dades Valley)
The Dades Gorge begins only a few kilometers from the town of Boumalne and leads for about 45 kilometers through gigantic rock formations and past cliffs that are 200 – 500 meters high. In between, there are always small villages and Kasbahs, which stand out especially because of their reddish colors. Already the drive through the Dades valley is an unforgettable experience, for which you should plan some time: Here you pass pretty Berber villages, there are many beautiful viewpoints and interesting rock formations waiting to be discovered. Photographers will also enjoy the pictures of the Dades Gorge, because the red rocks, the green oases and the palm groves make a magnificent contrast.
While driving by car or motorbike, there are always fascinating places to take a break along the route. One of them is the viewpoint to the Monkey Fingers. This impressive rock formation is located about 9 kilometers from Boumalne Dades and is on the drive into the Dades Gorge right next to the road on the right side. You can take really great pictures here. Also passed a few gigantic and ancient Kasbahs. They are located just next to the Dades River, but the most of them can’t be visited. Anyway, the panorama of the Dades Valley is breathtaking too.
Dades Gorge & The Winding Road in Morocco
Towards the end of the valley, the panorama of the gorge becomes increasingly spectacular. As a highlight, the winding Zik-Zak road awaits you. The ride over the serpentine road is adventurous, but still very safe. After a few hairpin bends, you are already at the top and enjoy a breathtaking view over the valley and the imposing road.
Tip: The best way to enjoy the insanely beautiful view is with a delicious mint tea in the Café-Restaurant Timzillite. From here you have the most beautiful view of the winding road.
Many visitors turn back here, which is a pity, because the rest of the route is also worth seeing. After you have driven the zigzag road, we recommend you to continue the drive for about 15 km. Because the landscape there is also amazingly beautiful and absolutely worth seeing. Pretty soon after the viewpoint, there is a spectacular and very narrow canyon that you cross by car. After that, the landscape opens up, and you dive into a beautiful mountain panorama.
Dades Gorge or Todra Gorge?
Many travelers to Morocco ask themselves: Which gorge is more beautiful, the Dades Gorge or the Todra Gorge? A difficult question, because both the Dades Gorge and the Todra Gorge are definitely worth a side trip. If you have time, you should definitely visit both sites.
- The Dades Valley offers many winding roads and with the serpentines probably one of the best photo opportunities in Morocco. The landscapes in the gorge are really dramatic and the red rock shapes, like the monkey fingers are already unique.
- Todra Gorge, on the other hand, is probably one of the most impressive canyons in the world. In addition, here you have the opportunity to visit the beautiful oasis of Tinghir and do oasis explorations.
Getting to Dades Gorge (Dades Valley) by Car
From Marrakech to the Dades Valley it is about 320 kilometers and from Ouarzazate to the Dades Valley you drive about 110 km. One simply follows the N10 in the direction of Tinghir. You will pass by El-Kelaa M’Gouna, the entrance to the Rose Valley. When you arrive at Boumalne du Dades, you follow the road R407 into the Dades Gorge. From Tinghir to the Dades Gorge is about 70 km. To get from Marrakech to the Dades Valley on your own, the most convenient way is to simply rent a car.
Excursions to the Dades Gorge
Of course, it is possible to visit the Dades Valley via a guided tour from Marrakech. Mostly, however, the excursion is combined with a visit to the desert of Merzouga and the mud city of Ait-Ben-Haddou. You can find great excursions on the online portal GetYourGuide, where you can browse through a wide selection of tours. As a little treat, most excursions can be canceled free of charge up to 24 hours in advance.
Where to Stay at Dades Valley?
Along the Dades Gorge you can find some really nice accommodations. Most of the places to stay are traditional riads or kasbahs. If you are looking for a great place to stay, we can give you these accommodation tips along the way…It’s worth a look!
- Maison d’Hôtes La Vallée des Figues: The Auberge La Vallée des Figues comes with a terrace overlooking the mountains and valleys. Set in a traditional Berber architecture, it features a Moroccan lounge.
- Auberge Kasbah Ait Marghad: An excellent location, with wonderful view. The Auberge Kasbah is a great starting point for excursions.
- Dar Essyaha: The Dar Essyaha is a traditional Moroccan hotel set on a hill at 1600-metres altitude overlooking the Dades Gorges. Just 11 km from Boumalne Dades.
- Riad Dades: A lovely old traditional Moroccan house overlooking the gorge with a great view!
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