Dades Valley accommodation
The Dades Valley, or “Road of a thousand Kasbahs” runs from Ouarzazate and stretched 100 miles to the east to Tineghir and the Todra Gorge. The drive is spectacular, with hundreds of Kasbahs lining the route, winding through stunning desert landscapes, villages, palm groves, and with the expansive Jebel Sarhro lunar-scape to the south.
The Dades Valley is called the Country of the Figs, which distinguishes it from the drier Draa Valley to the South of Ouarzazate which is called the country of the Dates.
The Dades Valley has a wild landscape, with snow on one side and semi-desert on the other, its savage grandeur and unearthly silence can be equalled only by the Grand Canyon. The Dades River flows through the valley quenching a miraculous, winding path of fruit, walnut, wheat, silver birch and almond trees, set against an extraordinary backdrop of spectacular rock formations.
To protect themselves from invaders, the Berbers erected hundreds and hundreds of Kasbahs. For 25 Kms the good, though very winding tarmac road from Boumalne du Dades runs directly through this ancient forest of ochre fortresses.
El Kelaa M’gouna is known as the “Valley of the Roses”, and is packed with hedges of stunning wild roses. Throughout May, the women from the surrounding villages pick 700 tons of rose petals, which are then made into a rather heady rosewater at the local distillery.
At Boumalne you can take a side turning to the left that leads through the dramatic landscape of the Dades Gorge, where you will see more incredible rock formations; at Tineghir, turn north for 13 miles and enter the breath-taking Todra Gorge.
The people of this region are colourful, charming, helpful and very hospitable. Youmay well be invited into their homes for thé à la Menthe (mint tea) or even to join the family in a ritual couscous – however, you should be warned that this may take several hours out of your day and it is polite to leave a donation (around 150 dirhams is acceptable).