GORGE-OUS WALKS & CLIFF-FACE CLIMBS
Another day, another gorge. But where the Dadès is all winding roads and crazily sculpted rock, the magnificent TODRA GORGE wows with its scale. Cleaving through the High Atlas mountains, at its narrowest point, just 15km north of Tinghir, the canyon’s walls rise for three hundred rocky metres, casting the road and river below in day-long shadow. Hire a guide from Hotel Tomboctou and set off on a half-day walk around the gorge (225dh), following mule tracks on a loop to the village of Tizgui or pathways used by nomadic shepherds on a hike up to Aït Ba Ali, where the views down into the gorge itself are spectacular.
Todra is the rock-climbing capital of Morocco, and older and/or more adventurous children might like to try one of the three hundred or so routes that are pegged into the cliff faces here. Aventures Verticales, in Tizgui, 14km from Tinghir and 400m before the gorge, can put together an excellent half-day course for beginners (1300dh for a family of 4, including all the necessary equipment and instruction) or you can try their two-hour via ferrata (600dh for a family of 4, including safety gear and guide), a system of fixed cables and metal rungs that’s the first of its kind in Morocco – think Go Ape but up a cliff face instead.
After all that activity, your kids will be ready to settle in for the drive east to MERZOUGA, around 200km away, or just under 3 hours’ drive in total. From Tinghir, follow the N10 to Tinejdad, where you pick up the R702 to Erfoud and from there the N13 to Rissani and Merzouga. On the last legs of the journey, there’s a very tangible and exciting sense that you’re approaching the Sahara long before the first sand dunes roll onto the horizon.
TOP TIPS Unless you’re in a 4x4, make sure you follow the N13 south of Erfoud rather than being tempted to stay on the R702 for the slightly shorter journey to Merzouga, as this deteriorates into a piste not long after leaving town. Most of the accommodation in Merzouga is on the run into the village itself; the places here are staggered along the foot of the dunes, and you’ll need to drive across a stony plain to reach them; as long as you stick to the signed tracks, you’ll be perfectly fine in a normal car.
WHERE TO STAY
THE LIJOMA LOWDOWN
Delve deeper with our tips on what to read and watch before you go, foods and drinks your kids must try, and some key cultural advice
From ancient kasbahs to stylish riads in the Marrakesh medina – our pick of the most memorable places for families to stay in Morocco
NEED TO KNOW
A handy overview of Morocco’s weather and climate throughout the year, with recommendations for the best time to visit
Pre-trip practicalities, including getting there, visas and passports, health and safety and how to get around
MORE AMAZING TRIPS
Eight days taking in Dubrovnik and the best of the Dalmatian coast
Inside glaciers, under waterfalls and out into the Atlantic to watch whales