Situated on the east side of the High Atlas Mountains in Morocco, the Todra Gorge is one of the world’s most spectacular canyons.
Here, both the Todra and Dades Rivers have carved out cliff-sided canyons on their final 25-mile stretch through the mountains, leaving behind this series of reliefs and etches in the rock. The Todra is the name of the last 600 meters (just under 2,000 feet) of the canyons. In places, this gorge measures just 33 feet across, but the cliffs are more than 500 feet tall on either side. The river has since dried up, leaving only the imagination to picture the powerful natural forces that once carved this region.
The gorge, though in a remote area of Morocco, is a popular tourist destination and has been outfitted over the years with hiking paths and a well-maintained dirt road that visitors can walk along, though they must share it with mules and other pack animals.
The town of Tinerhir has grown to accommodate tourists and locals passing through the area with their possessions on camelback. Tinerhir, which houses just 36,000 permanent residents, swells to nearly 90,000 residents in popular holidays months, according to the 2004 census. A region of Ouarzazate, the town is mostly populated by Amazighs, which is what many Berbers, the indigenous peoples of North Africa west of the Nile Valley, call themselves. It roughly translates to “free people” or “free and noble men.”