Tinghir is a fifty-kilometer-long oasis, and its most spectacular part is Todgha Gorges, which are carved into the rock by the Todgha river leading to 300-meter-high limestone cliffs. The spectacular canyons amaze with their magnificent drop-offs that plunge down to the riverbed, making them a climbers' and hikers' delight.
The Todgha Gorges play an important role in the valley, not only by protecting the course of the river that irrigates the fields and palm groves, but by serving as a symbol and identity for the people who always lived there.
Morocco’s Grand Canyon
The Todgha gorges form a massive green rift in the middle of an arid zone, which the locals have managed to preserve by putting in place innovative and ancient irrigation systems known as tirgiwin in Amazigh, which means canals, or seguias in Arabic. These canals irrigate the valley and its surrounding areas from the river, allowing them to maintain a polyculture of olive, apple, almond trees, peaches, cereals, and alfalfa. Furthermore, the valley has preserved many hundred-year-old ksours and kasbahs that run down the oued. It is indeed a significant cultural legacy that reflects the region’s wonderful past.
The gorges’ peaks provide a background fit for a Western picture. The views from the peaks extend for hundreds of kilometers, to the borders of the desert in the south and the High Atlas in the north. From the road that faces the spectacular oasis, one may capture priceless photographs of the spectacular landscapes, full of contrasts varying from the ocher red of the walls to the azure green of the valley.
Todgha Valley, often known as Morocco’s Grand Canyon, is famous for its dizzying cliffs and difficult routes. Many hikes are available on foot or on a mountain bike (VTT), ranging from short walks, around and in the valley to multi-day treks throughout the region.
The adventurers can explore a magnificent and spectacular landscape between walls, ravines, and rivers, as well as the cultural diversity of the surrounding rural inhabitants, including nomadic tribes. Several climbing areas are also available. However, climbs must be done with the assistance of a specialist.
Must-see attractions include Ait Tizgui, which dominates the entrance to the gorges, the 2100m high Agart Noro pass, and Tamtatoucht, the Rose of Todgha.
The Todgha Valley has long been known for its silver mines. Ancient documents report its currency minting by Jewish craftsmen in the VIIIth century.
In this context, the first Moroccan mint (Dar as-Sakka) appears near a silver mine, under the Emirat Midradid Kharijite of Sijilmassa. It minted currency for the Idrissids in 788, as well as the Aghlabids of Ifniqiya (Tunisia now). In 793, the Idrissids minted also their currency in the city of Ziz in Tafilalet.
Todgha was made up of several fortified and independent Ksours, as well as a few mellahs. Tinghir was built around the remains of Todgha and inherited its memory, which is a powerful symbol of the gorges for the locals.