R704: a dirt road paired with sweeping, slippery and hard gravel
Located in the heart of the High Atlas Mountains of Morocco, the R704 road is undoubtedly, one of the most challenging and dangerous roads in the world. This winding high mountain road climbs up to 2.910m (9,547ft) above the sea level. It’s mostly a dirt road paired with sweeping, slippery and hard gravel that definitely demands pure concentration.
Located in Tinghir Province, Drâa-Tafilalet region of Eastern Morocco, the road is 77.05 km (124 km) long, running south-north from Boumalne Dades to Agoudal. It offers a little bit of everything. The first 70km or so is asphalt and then the next 50km to Agoudal is a piste (rough track). This route on a lunar landscape is a classic one of 4WD in the area and, although an important part has been paved, remain almost 50 km of very difficult track. It’s mostly a dirt road paired with sweeping, slippery and hard gravel that definitely demands pure concentration. It's one of the highest roads of the country.
It’s a high mountain road running entirely above1.600 meters. Driving Morocco’s most famous zig zag road is not for the weak at heart. The road winds up the mountain and the views from above are stunning! The area is known for the stunning rock formation and the kasbahs along the gorge. The winding road offers magnificent views of the gorge and historic kasbahs, as well as beautiful desert landscapes and palm groves. The Dades Valley has a wild landscape, with snow on one side and semi-desert on the other.
The drive runs through the infamous Gorges du Dadès at the beginning. Beyond this point, a 4x4 vehicle is totally required as the drive will lead you into trouble. The mountain road climbs up some mountain passes: Tizi n’Bou Oudi (2.794m-9,166ft) above the sea level; Tizi-n'Ouano (2.910m-9,547ft) and Jebel Ouamenzri (2.583m-8,474ft). Make no mistake this road does not allow for forgiveness. You will be driving just 12 inches from each side of the mountain and often at times there’s no barrier to keep you on the road should anything go wrong. There is a potentially dangerous large puddle of sticky clay, which may cause trouble if you tackle it carelessly.
At the summit of the mountains you can see some communication towers. The ride is rather remote. The road is not plowed in winters. It’s a world apart. After periods of rain the track can be in a very bad condition. Much of this is single track with sheer drops across long sections. The best time to visit the lower valleys is from March to May and the mountains are best from May to July. Meeting oncoming traffic is your worst nightmare on these sections. The route is a long series of single track, unbarriered, off-road hairpins but it’s after the summit that it becomes really challenging.