Valleys & Gorges
The great southern rivers
When travelling through the south of Morocco it is virtually impossible to avoid the country’s most impressive river valleys, albeit in such dry conditions. The rivers are fed by the snow-melt and rains from the Atlas Mountains and can flow for several hundreds of kilometres, given enough water volume. Please see map below for our suggested routes.
The Draa River is Morocco’s largest and is formed by the Dades River and Imini River. The Draa flows south from Ouarzazate to the desert frontier village of M’hamid El Ghezlane and from there westwards through the desert to the Atlantic north of Tan Tan. Most of the year, however, there is no water in the Draa after M’hamid but flash floods there have been known. The vast date palm oases that radiate from the Draa riverbanks across the wide plains are a glorious sight and the route south to M’hamid along the Draa is a truly breathtaking drive.
The Dades River charts the self-titled “route of a thousand kasbahs” which passes north-east from Ouarzazate near the palm oasis of Skoura and through the Valley of Roses (famous for the festival each May with the harvest for mass rose-water production). North of Boumalne Dades the river winds its way through a lush valley, dotted with ruined kasbahs on vantage points and surrounded by the most unusual rock formations and cliffs. The valley becomes ever narrower until the river carves through the spectacular gap of the Dades Gorge.
The Todra River too has created another striking natural canyon in the Atlas, east of the Dades Gorge, the Todra Gorge, with craggy and pink-coloured walls up to 300m high. It is one of Morocco’s most visited sights, with good reason.
The Ziz River, yet further east from the Gorges, irrigates the region known as the Tafilalt (the area south of Erfoud of great date palm oases, bordering the desert). This region, of historical importance, once marked the crossroads of the West African caravan routes, and is the origin of the establishment of the Alaouite dynasty (17th Century), the dynasty that still holds power in Morocco today.
- Our indicative programs run for 5 or 6 days (the 6 day option allows you to spend a night in the desert but if you prefer not to please let us know to adapt the program)
- Our start/finish points are usually either Marrakech or Ouarzazate – please specify alternative at time of booking
- All tours are half board basis with accommodation in guest houses & hotels (except for 6 day option with night 5 desert camping)
- Tours run all year round (please take into account high temperatures in summer)