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DAY 6: DADÈS GORGE

 
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ERODED ROCKS & HIDDEN HIKES

Leaving Skoura, it’s an easy 45km run to EL KELÂA M’GOUNA, famous for the little pink roses that speck the surrounding fields in spring, and then a further 50km to BOULMANE DU DADÈS, jumping-off point for the fantastical rock formations that line the DADÈS GORGE. Taking the R704 northwest of Boulmane, you’ll soon be driving alongside a ribbon of fertile fields and terracotta cliffs that grow increasingly bizarre in shape. Make sure you stop at TAMLALT, 18km from Boulmane, where cylinders of rock launch out of the red earth in weathered clumps; no prizes for guessing which one the locals call “Monkey’s Fingers”. The formations on this stretch of the route are some of the most impressive in the entire gorge, but it’s worth continuing on to AÏT OUFI, around 30km from Boumalne, where the road makes a series of incredible switchbacks up between opposing cliffs of rippled rock.

There are several spots throughout the gorge where you can venture further from the road, exploring smaller valleys and getting a closer appreciation of the curiously eroded landscape; with older children, you can enjoy a guided half-day hike into the GORGE SIDI BOUBKER, about 14km from Boulmane (hire a guide from either your guesthouse or from the nearby Auberge Miguirne), and cool off in one of its swimming holes.

The 50km drive on from Boulmane du Dadès to TINGHIR is against a particularly arid backdrop, with only the Jebel Saghro mountain range breaking the horizon to the south, and you’ll probably be quite relieved when the town’s fertile palmeries eventually emerge from the desert scrub.


WHERE TO STAY

 



THE LIJOMA LOWDOWN

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