Gorges du Dadès

Gorges du Dadès

Located in the heart of the High Atlas Mountains of Morocco, Gorges du Dadès is a gorge carved out by the Dadès River. The area is known for the stunning rock formation and the kasbahs along the gorge. It’s one of the most scenic drives in the world, featured in some commercial spots.

Sitting in the rain shadow of the Central Atlas, the road through the gorges is definitely one of the must see places. The Dades Valley has a wild landscape, with snow on one side and semi-desert on the other, its savage grandeur and unearthly silence can be equalled only by the Grand Canyon. The road does get busier at weekends and in the main holiday season.
Located in Tinghir Province of the Drâa-Tafilalet administrative region, this very high winding road is not easy, though. Up, down, right, left all the time. Driving at night, or in poor visibility, is not recommended for drivers unfamiliar with the road. Driving Morocco’s most famous zig zag road is not for the weak at heart. This road has innumerable twists and turns. This route is not recommended if your passengers are prone to car sickness. The journey offers you spectacular views, a truly thrilling drive and nature in all its roughness and beauty. You will be driving just 12 inches from the side of the mountain, and there is a steep, steep drop below you and there's no form of barrier to keep you on the road if anything were to go wrong… This winding road is is usually regarded as one of top 5 most dangerous roads in the world due to its steep gradient and hairpin turns. And let’s just say that Moroccan drivers are not exactly the safest.

The easiest way to reach the Dades Gorge is from the small town of Boumalne, located 116 km northeast of Ouarzazate and 53 km from Tinerhir. A sealed road runs for 63 km through the Gorge as far as Msemrir. After that point, a 4WD vehicle is necessary. The Dades Gorge lies along the dry but colourful Dades Valley, around 2 hours (around 100km) north east of Ourzazate, and cuts northwards into the High Atlas. The Dades River flows through the valley quenching a miraculous, winding  path of fruit, walnut, wheat, silver birch and almond trees, set against an extraordinary backdrop of spectacular rock formations.
Set in the middle of red mountainous countryside, the drive is very intense because there are no guard rails at the edge and there is little room for error if oncoming traffic swerves in your direction. The winding road offers magnificent views of the gorge and historic kasbahs, as well as beautiful desert landscapes and palm groves. After a set of hairpins turns, you will get rewarded with stunning views from the top. The surface of the road is asphalted, but it can be slippery, especially after rains.

The best time to visit the lower valleys is from March to May and the mountains are best from May to July. The gorge starts just north of the town of Boumalne du Dades, a peaceful town, from where a road snakes into the gorge. The gorge has several kasbahs, but it is the stunning rock formations that are of particular note for visitors, and it is worth some time on foot to get close to these. 
The winding road along the canyon of the Dadès River is called R704. It’s paved but full of hairpin turns, and is pretty steep in some sections. The river has carved out beautiful deep gorges, flowing at the foot of vertiginous walls and bordered by a thin strip of greenery. Make use of the many overlooks on the road where you can peacefully enjoy the superb panoramas! The R704 follows its path, in some places climbing the sides of the gorge in a series of violent hairpin bends.

 

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