The scary road to Tizi n'Test in the High Atlas

Tizi n'Test is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 2,101m (6,893ft) above sea level, located on the boundary of the Marrakesh-Safi and Souss-Massa-Drâa regions of Morocco. It's one of the most spectacular drives in the country.

Tizi n'Test

How long is Tizi n'Test?

The road to the summit is entirely paved, known as Tizi n’Test Road (R203). The pass stretches for 47.7 km (29.63 miles), running south-north from Tafingoult to Mouldikht.

When was the road to Tizi n'Test built?

The road through the summit is an amazing piece of French engineering, constructed by French colonialists between 1926 and 1932. It was the first modern road to link Marrakech to the Souss plains and the Mountains to the Sahara. Previously considered impracticable, only a few Sultans could control this vital pass for trade to the South. However, the current availability of a straight and flat road from Agadir to Marrakech means that the Tizi n’Test road isn't as well maintained.

How long does it take to drive Tizi n'Test?

Driving the road without stopping usually takes between 75 and 90 minutes. Along the road, several cafes offer a place to pause.

Is Tizi n'Test dangerous?

The drive to Col du Tizi-n-Test is not for the faint-hearted. Experience with mountain roads is advisable, making the trip unsuitable for those with more than mild vertigo. The road is quite intimidating, with the edge to the precipice feeling uncomfortably close. The climb is steep, encountering several trucks. The road should be driven in daylight due to its challenging nature. It is a narrow road, sometimes only allowing one car, with 500m cliffs common on the unbarriered sections and no road markings. The presence of taxis, coaches, and lorries at high speeds, along with locals selling minerals and cooking herbs at corners, adds to the road's scariness. Particularly challenging is the 1,600m descent from the pass to Taroudannt. This road trip is recommended during daylight hours, given the lack of barriers and the presence of large lorries. Experienced drivers familiar with the road after years of trips navigate these challenges.

Is Tizi n'Test worth it?

The drive offers sweeping views of the mountains, providing breathtaking scenery from numerous points along the way. The road to the summit is a spectacular feat of engineering. At the pass's summit, a small restaurant offers panoramic views southwards across the Souss Valley, with the ridge of the Anti-Atlas Mountains rising majestically above the haze. On arrival, you may choose to enjoy a hot drink and a simple but tasty egg tagine served by the little auberge, providing far-reaching views. While the pass offers fabulous views of the region, be prepared for a lengthy series of hairpin bends along the way.

Is Tizi n'Test open?

Running across the High Atlas, it is advised not to drive this road if it’s raining, as landslides and avalanches are common. Additionally, the road may be blocked by snow at times. Usually, it’s very cloudy once you get into Tizin'test.
Pic: mounir rafi