Erfoud-Ouarzazate & The Dadès & Todra River gorges

Day 9     Erfoud-Ouarzazate-Todra Gorge-Draa Valley and Dades Gorge

It had been an interesting night, with grains of sand raining down on us, creeping through the fibres of the tent as the wind howled overnight.  We had shared a tent with another married couple, something none of us were accustomed to.  However, it had not posed any problems, probably because of the temporary nature of the arrangement.   After a breakfast of fish, which surprised us as we were in the Sahara, we set off on the backs of the camels to retrieve our motorbikes.  Today was to prove one of the most adventurous of the odyssey.

We had a long day’s ride ahead.   It was to incorporate fantastic roads (and some not so fantastic!), desert, oases, mountains and gorges. 

The Todra Gorge/Draa Valley & Dadès Gorges

For stunning images of this gorge see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Todgha_Gorge

The sides of the Todra gorge towered 500ft above us as we thundered our way along the road. On one side of the road were heart-stopping sheer drops with only a small barrier to prevent the unwary biker or driver from tumbling down the mountainside.  The valley bottom had been carved out by the Todra and Dades Rivers during the millenia.  In places the road was barely 35ft wide, with sweeping bends.    It was one of those experiences whereby the observer feels minute amidst the scale of natural wonders. The Draa River, at 1100km (680miles), is the  longest in Morocco, flowing from the High Atlas Mountains to the Atlantic. There is some horticulture in the valley, which is also home to a population of around 225,000. The N10 took us past the Dadès Gorges, wadis carved out by the Dadès River and in the moutain areas, small boys plying their goods for sale, semi-precious rocks and the inevitable hashish.

It was evening by the time we arrived at the town of Ouarzazate.  A welcoming swimming pool greeted the weary travellers.   Later, back in our room, we proceeded to hand wash some of our garments.  We had few clothes because everything we needed had to be accommodated in two panniers.  We had purchased quick-dry easily washable clothes before we left home and this was to prove a godsend.  Occasionally, if the chief Biker’s socks hadn’t dried properly by morning. he would fasten them on to the handlebars and let them fly in the wind as we rode along the road.  We had one or two curious looks from motorists, but, as our American friends say, “what the heck!”

Naomi Flashman

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