The Route of a Thousand Kasbahs is an unforgettable adventure that takes travelers through an enchanted world of breathtaking beauty and rich cultural heritage. From impressive kasbahs and lush valleys to fertile fig and rose valleys, this journey is a visual feast that captivates the imagination of every traveler.
As you travel to Morocco and go deeper into the heart of the route, you will be greeted by ancient two-tone kasbahs which stand as proud reminders of the area’s rich history and heritage. Surrounded by canyons you’ll also come across lush palm oases that offer a peaceful escape from the rugged landscape. This is a melting pot of nomadic crossings and Berber mountain villages where you’ll get a unique glimpse into the local way of life and immerse yourself in the cultural richness of the area.
With its fertile fig and rose valleys this route is truly a feast for the senses offering an unforgettable experience for those lucky enough to witness its beauty. Join us on the Route of a Thousand Kasbahs towards the Sahara Desert, and let the journey unfold before your eyes.
All in all, the Route of a Thousand Kasbahs is a journey unlike any other, offering a glimpse into an enchanted world, rich in history and natural beauty.
The Route of 1000 Kasbahs is located in the heart of the Todra Valley in the Draa-Tafilalet region of southern Morocco, situated halfway between Ouarzazate and Merzouga and surrounded by the High Atlas in the north and the rugged Jebel Saghro range in the south. Tinghir, the capital of the province, is a former French garrison and is home to beautiful kasbahs, ksar, and flowered gardens. Boulmane Dades, a 45-minute drive to the west, offers breathtaking views of the red-colored landscape and the fig valley. The journey also takes one through the Gorges du Dades, a unique canyon, and mountain villages like Boutghrar, where visitors can breathe in the pure mountain air.
The Route of 1000 Kasbahs is one of the popular Morocco tourist attractions and is often included in Marrakech desert tours. This scenic drive takes visitors through the stunning countryside of the Dades Valley, passing by traditional Berber villages and towering kasbahs (forts), many of which date back to the 16th century. The route offers a glimpse into the rich history and culture of Morocco, and visitors can enjoy breathtaking views of the Atlas Mountains and the Sahara Desert along the way. The Route of 1000 Kasbahs is considered a must-see for those traveling to Marrakech and is a highlight of many desert tours, providing a unique and memorable experience for travelers.
Populations most probably settled in the Todra Valley because of the date palms imported from the Middle East at the start of the Christian era. The first inhabitants were dark-skinned, followed by Amazigh or Berbers that imposed their language and culture. From the fifth century BC, the Jews started to come. Although Islam arrived in the 8th century, the Arab culture didn’t penetrate much in the region.
During the subsequent Berber dynasties (Almoravids, Almohads), prosperity was based on agriculture, caravan trade, and the silver mines. The Saadians came in the 16th century, then the Alaouites. The struggle of the tribes and the rulers of the region was fierce throughout the following centuries. Opposition was always evident, even during the 20th-century domination of Morocco by the French.
Read more about the history of the Todra Valley.
What to see in Tinghir and Boulmane Dades
Immerse yourself in the rich history and beauty of Morocco with a visit to Tinghir, Boulmane Dades, and Kelaat M’gouna. Each destination offers its own unique experiences, from exploring ancient ruins and kasbahs to admiring stunning landscapes and participating in cultural activities.
In Tinghir, witness the stunning beauty of decaying kasbahs, the abandoned 19th-century Medarsa Ikelane, and the historic ruins of Ksar Asfalou – where students of both Muslim and Jewish faiths once studied together. Admire the breathtaking views from the top of the Kasbah of Glaoui and discover the hidden gems at the southern kasbah of Sheikh Basou Ou-Ali, home to a small photography museum depicting the most beautiful landscapes.
Take a journey to the nearby village of El Hart and be amazed by the artisans who transform dirt from the valley into stunning pottery pieces, including dishes and decorative objects.
The Todra Gorge, located in the eastern part of Morocco, is a breathtaking natural wonder that is a must-visit for any adventure seeker or nature lover. The towering red sandstone cliffs rise up to 300 meters high and provide a stunning backdrop for activities such as rock climbing, hiking, and even swimming in the cool waters of the Todra River. Visitors can also explore the nearby Berber villages and witness the traditional way of life in the region. With its unique geological formations and rich cultural heritage, the Todra Gorge is truly a one-of-a-kind destination that should not be missed.Discover the Majestic Beauty of Todra Gorge
Boulmane Dades awaits you with its peaceful and tranquil atmosphere, surrounded by the stunning Dades Gorge and a small green oasis along the river. Take a leisurely stroll or venture into the mountains for an unforgettable Berber nomad trekking experience.
Kelaat M’gouna is renowned for its production of roses and the traditional “Ahidouss” dance, performed by lines of men and women singing and dancing together. As you wander through the city, don’t miss the chance to visit the old bridge, where local women dry their vibrant carpets after washing them in the river.
Join us for a journey through the heart of Morocco and experience the rich history, stunning landscapes, and cultural richness of Tinghir, Boulmane Dades, and Kelaat M’gouna.
What to see:
- Tinghir: The town of Tinghir is famous for its historical buildings, including the decaying kasbahs, the abandoned Medarsa Ikelane, and the Ksar Asfalou ruins. It is also home to the Kasbah of Glaoui, which offers a panoramic view of the area, and the kasbah of Sheikh Basou Ou-Ali, which has a small photography museum.
- Ait El Haj Ali: This district is Tinghir’s old Mellah and offers a glimpse into the town’s history and culture.
- El Hart: The village of El Hart is known for its artisans who specialize in pottery, transforming the dirt from the valley into beautiful pieces.
- Boulmane Dades: The town of Boulmane Dades is located in the Dades Gorge and is known for its peaceful atmosphere and beautiful surroundings. Visitors can take a stroll along the river or venture into the mountains for Berber nomad trekking.
- Kelaat M’gouna: The city of Kelaat M’gouna is famous for its production of roses and the dance called “Ahidouss”. While visiting the city, visitors can also admire the old bridge where local women dry their carpets.
Best places to visit
- Kasbah of Glaoui in Tinghir
- Photography museum in the kasbah of Sheikh Basou Ou-Ali in Tinghir
- El Hart for pottery shopping
- Dades Gorge in Boulmane Dades
- The old bridge in Kelaat M’gouna for cultural experiences.
The Best of the Route of 1000 Kasbahs
Discover the Todra Gorge, a breathtaking canyon stretching 15 km through towering cliffs that soar to a height of 400 meters. This unforgettable journey takes you on a journey through a lush green oasis, surrounded by towering red rock formations, and is a paradise for adventurous rock climbers. The Todra Gorge is a must-visit for nature enthusiasts and thrill-seekers alike.
The highlights of Todra Gorge:
- Drive through the spectacular canyon and take in the awe-inspiring views of the towering cliffs and Todra River.
- Try your hand at rock climbing, with hundreds of routes available within the solid limestone walls.
- Explore the contrast between the lush oasis and the dramatic red rock formations.
- Take a hike along the Todra River and enjoy the natural beauty of the surrounding landscape.
- Visit the local Berber villages and immerse yourself in the culture and traditions of the area.
The Dades Gorge is another natural wonder that promises to leave you speechless. Snaking through the mountains, this spectacular drive offers breathtaking views of the rugged landscape, from snow-capped peaks to sprawling semi-deserts. The water that runs through the Dades Gorge is the lifeblood of the valley, nourishing vast fields of crops and orchards of almond, fig, and olive trees.
The highlights of Dades Gorge:
- Follow the winding road up and down the mountain for a breathtaking experience.
- Explore the natural and rugged environment, surrounded by snow-capped peaks and semi-desert lands.
- Visit the Dades Valley and witness the fertile lands that are key to the local agriculture.
- Take a scenic drive along the Dades Gorge and enjoy the stunning views of the surrounding landscape.
- Visit the local Kasbahs and experience the rich history and culture of the area.
1000 Kasbahs Road
Embark on a journey along the 1000 Kasbahs’ Route, a 143 km stretch between Ouarzazate and Goulmima. The name speaks for itself, with more kasbahs than you can count, dotted along the way and surrounded by verdant valleys and palm plantations. The old fortifications are the star of the show, but the scenery along the way is just as breathtaking.
The highlights of the 1000 Kasbahs Road:
- Drive along the 143 mi (230 km) road and take in the sights of the countless Kasbahs along the way.
- Explore the old fortifications and learn about the rich history and culture of the area.
- Immerse yourself in the local scenery, surrounded by valleys and palm plantations.
- Visit the nearby villages and meet the friendly locals.
- Take a scenic drive and enjoy the stunning views of the surrounding landscape.
Valley of Roses
Finally, experience the Valley of Roses, a place of breathtaking beauty and fragrance. After long stretches of dry, barren terrain, the lush fields of roses are a sight to behold, especially during harvest time from April to June. Visit the Kasbah des Roses co-operative to learn about the traditional methods of steam distillation and the creation of valuable rose oil. Don’t miss the May festival in the small town of Kelaat M’gouna for a truly exuberant celebration.
The highlights of the Valley of Roses:
- Experience the lush and fragrant environment of the Valley of Roses.
- Visit the local rose oil co-operative and learn about the traditional method of steam distillation.
- Explore the small town of Kelaat M’gouna during the extravagant May festival.
- Take a hike along the surrounding mountains and enjoy the stunning views of the valley.
- Visit the local Berber villages and immerse yourself in the rich culture and traditions of the area.
The Todra Valley
A Political and Cultural Crossroads.
The Todra Valley, located in the heart of Morocco, has been a meeting point of cultures and civilizations for centuries. The region has been shaped by the arrival of various populations, each bringing their own language, religion, and way of life. The story of the Todra Valley is a rich tapestry of historical events, cultural influences, and political struggles, reflecting the broader history of Morocco and the wider region.
Date Palms and the First Inhabitants
The first inhabitants of the Todra Valley most likely settled in the region due to the introduction of date palms from the Middle East at the start of the Christian era. These date palms provided a valuable resource for the local economy, and they continue to be an important part of the local landscape to this day. The first settlers were dark-skinned and were soon followed by the Amazigh or Berbers, who imposed their language and culture on the region. The arrival of the Jews in the fifth century BC added yet another layer to the diverse cultural fabric of the Todra Valley.
Islam and the Berber Dynasties
Islam arrived in the Todra Valley in the 8th century, but the Arab culture did not penetrate the region to a significant extent. This is a testament to the strength of the local culture, which was deeply influenced by the Berbers. The region was ruled by several Berber dynasties over the centuries, including the Almoravids, Almohads, Saadians, and Alaouites. During this time, the Todra Valley was a center of agricultural production, caravan trade, and silver mining, and it enjoyed a period of prosperity.
The Struggle for Independence
However, the Todra Valley was not immune to the struggles and conflicts that have characterized the history of Morocco. The opposition between the tribes and rulers of the region was fierce throughout the centuries, and this opposition continued even during the 20th-century domination of Morocco by the French. The Todra Valley and its people were at the forefront of the resistance to French rule, reflecting their strong sense of cultural identity and their determination to maintain their independence.
The Todra Valley is a political and cultural crossroads, reflecting the rich and diverse history of Morocco and the wider region. The region’s story is one of prosperity and struggle, of cultural exchange and political opposition. It is a story that continues to be written to this day, and it is a story that is worth telling and preserving for future generations.
The CEO of Infinite Morocco, being from the region, has a unique understanding and appreciation of its history, culture, and traditions. This allows him to provide a more immersive and educational experience for his clients through his tour operator. The local knowledge and insight he can share adds great value to his tours and gives clients a deeper understanding and appreciation of the area they are visiting. By offering tours led by a knowledgeable local, Infinite Morocco is able to provide a truly authentic experience for its clients.
In this article, we have provided a brief overview of the political and cultural history of the Todra Valley, highlighting its importance as a crossroads of cultures and civilizations. We hope that this article has sparked your interest in this fascinating region, and that you will continue to explore and learn more about its rich history and culture.