After the Sahara desert we drove to Todra Gorge and arrived at our hotel as the afternoon sun was setting, it was situated at the base of the stunning flame orange canyon and surrounded by an Oasis of palm trees and tropical looking plant-life. We had to walk through this Oasis get to our hotel on the other side of the valley. The whole moment was quite surreal, it felt like we were walking through a mirage within the rocky & barren landscape. This was a time of rest & refuge for everyone because we were to stay here for two nights which was great considering most days so far in this adventure holiday consisted of traveling to destinations and full on daily activities from 7am until 9pm, I don’t know about the others but I was exhausted but it was a happy tiredness non the less. This part of the adventure was a welcome retreat. This amazing gorge plunges 300 meters down to a clear river. Pastoral villages and hotels are scattered throughout the area. This place is very popular with rock climbers.
The Todra Gorge or “Todgha Gorge” is a canyon in the eastern part of the High Atlas Mountains in Morocco, near the town of Tinerhir. The tiny glacier stream is something of a misfit, the river which once filled the gorge must have carried a lot more water. It is easy to hike in the gorge along a well-maintained paved road. The scenery is spectacular. Local people live in the area and can be seen with their small donkeys or herding camels and goats.
Once we all left our back packs in our rooms, some of us took a dip in the pool before we all settled for the night. Don’t let that photo fool you though, the water was freezing because although Morocco gets reasonably hot during middday in the spring, it wasn’t high summer temperatures plus we were engulfed in shade from the deep gorge and as the sun sets at this time of year in Morocco, it still can get a little chilly in the evenings.
In the morning we were all up bright and early for a 3 or 4 hour trek up and around the Gorge. It was a reasonably easy (Intermediate) trek up the gorge so I wore my India skirt. I dislike being in clothing that feels tight and constraining, so I very rarely wear jeans or trousers, I also usually prefer walking barefoot but on this occasion that wouldn’t have been sensible. If trekking around the gorge is something you are interested in, I’d say you’d have to be reasonably physically fit and used to walking long distances, at home I walk everywhere I need to get to, attend twice weekly Yoga classes & do at least 20 minutes of dance practice a day so the walk for me was reasonably easy with some challenging higher areas that were a little hard on the knees, there were 3 exuberant retired people trekking the gorge as well so really you can be any age and unless you do have serious health problems, there really is no excuse not to experience this walk. The views as we walked higher up were out of this world, it is also so remote with not a soul in the world but you, your guide & members of your group that you feel at peace, closer to nature and to “God”. Being in a place like this really makes you appreciate mother earth and feel the vastness of your own insignificance that you begin to forget all your silly daily worries our western world has conformed us to believe are important when in the grand scheme of things, nothing but love & and living life are paramount.
Eventually trekking back down to the valley we began to see glimpses of lush green plant life, local women in the fields and sand coloured villages from below. It was a wonderful refreshing trek but my gosh I was tired & hungry! After eating a hearty tagine meal fit for a king we spent some time with local crafts men & women who taught us how to prepare wool to weave into the elaborate hand crafted carpets which was so much fun because I love learning about other culture’s lifestyles but it was hard work on my arms!
Back at the hotel some of our group went for showers & a rest in their rooms whilst others went to sit around the sun decks and a small collective of the ladies waited to have Henna tattoos by local Berber women. This was a very special moment for me because I love Henna, I create my own Henna tattoos at home for special occasions and it just felt great to actually have a tattoo created by a lovely Berber lady. Her English was very minimal and I Obviously could not speak Moroccan Arabic or Berber but the creation of the tattoo brought about a different type of communication where no words were needed, I was sharing creative and happy energy with this lady and for that I was thankful. Sometimes you don’t need words, sometimes language can act as a barrier and sometimes it is just great to sit, listen & observe the moment you are in and enjoy it silently. After patiently waiting for my Henna design to dry, everyone began to make their way into the dinning room ready for our banquet. Moroccans eat really well and all their food is fresh & healthy, so even though I was eating quite a lot I was also constantly on the move (Including a lot of dancing) during this trip so needless to say I lost some weight. It wasn’t long after the meal, when the evening set in we all sat by the fire with some locals to play instruments, sing songs and dance until the early hours of the morning. I felt so blessed to be involved in this moment and in this beautiful part of the world.
The last two photos of this blog are of my travel mascot. She is a Sasquatch called Sonmi Yukio (named after 2 fictional characters from films ) She has been with me to many places around the UK, Morocco, Croatia & Montenegro and she will continue to travel with me and enjoy meeting people a long the way.
By the second day there was another optional walk that Jon decided to do but I wanted to relax on the veranda, take in my surroundings and read my book. I enjoyed the walk from the day before but my body needs to balance something rigorous with something peaceful to feel harmonious. As a Libra (represented by the scales) I am always on a mission to seek out balance in all aspects of my life otherwise I become disorientated & emotionally tired so I quite enjoyed the quiet of the second day.
Waking up early in the morning there was a slight brisk wind and a mild sand storm as we packed our things and hopped in the mini van. Leaving Todra Gorge was actually quite hard, having stayed there for two days we made friends with incredible people who were genuinely happy & full of life, we all wanted to stay and sing & dance for many more nights to come but we had to move on. After Todra Gorge we ventured to Ait Benhaddou so stay tuned for the next blog post which will hopefully be published next week.
If you missed other Moroccan adventures I wrote about, click on the links below.
Day one & two in Casablanca
Day three/Afternoon in Rabat
Day Four/Morning in Meknes
Day Four/Afternoon in Volubilis
Day Five: Fes
Day Six: Midelt
Day Seven in Sahara Desert
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