The Dades Valley is one of several gorges twining in Morocco. It runs from Ouarzazate to some 160 kilometers east to Tineghir and the Todra Gorge. The landscape is amazing as it’s marked by hundreds of small kasbahs, villages and palm trees. Due to its climate, the Dades Valley is also known as the Country of the Fig.
Entering the valley is a breath-taking experience and contrasts greatly to the long hours of driving on the dusty and dry roads. The erosion caused by winds and water has rounded the rocks into high walls and shapes that resembling remarkably like human silhouettes. The sunlight is adding a contrasted tinting color of orange and rose.
The Dades River
The Dades River winds through the valley leaving areas full of fruit, wheat, silver birch, walnut and almond trees. This additionally adds up to the striking contrast between arid and fertile patches that are normally surrounded by rocky formations.
Traveling to the Dades Gorge
Driving up the gorge is about 35 kilometers off the main road. Although tourist brochures and guides recommend a 4×4 ride, you don’t actually need one as the road is in excellent condition. The journey culminates in an exciting drive up series of sharp turns till the highest point is reached. You will be offered a picturesque view over the entire gorge making the trip a totally worth while. Take a peek at the “hands of the apes” area to see how it got its name.
The Berbers of the Dades Region
The people of this region live in a large number of small Kasbah buildings scattered across the areas of the river plain. In recent years, due to economic reasons, many of the inhabitants of this miraculous place have been moving to larger Moroccan villages leaving only few Kasbahs populated and well maintained. This is still one of the very few places where travelers can experience the genuine Berber culture by visiting the Kasbah des Roches. You will experience the warm and welcoming manners of the locals and be able to enjoy savoring couscous and chicken tagine.
Climbing the mountains of the Dades Gorge you will be taken to areas favored by nomads and you can see that there are people still living in caves and herding sheep and goats through the rocky scenery.