todra gorge moroccoIn addition to the rich cuisine, busy souks and rich history, Morocco has an overabundance of natural beauty as well. With more than 2,300 miles of coast, numerous mountain ranges, deserts and oases, there is plenty of wilderness to explore on your Moroccan holiday.

One of Morocco’s most magnificent natural wonders is Todra Gorge, which is located on the east side of the High Atlas Mountains. It is situated in a remote section of the country making it difficult to see unless you take a trekking tour of Morocco.

Todra Gorge was carved out of the cliffs, which has created a canyon that runs several miles through the Atlas Mountains. Though a road provides access through the Gorge, many people like to explore it by foot. Nearly halfway into the Todra Gorge is a hotel, where hikers stop to eat or rest before continuing on their way.

Many would argue that the most spectacular section of the gorge is beyond the hotel in the final half mile of the canyon where the rock formations begin to narrow. In some places, the canyon narrows to only 30 feet across. The walls become smooth and rise nearly 1,000 feet above on both sides. Sunlight barely reaches the valley in this part of the gorge, and the river water is ice cold.  At the end of the gorge the canyon suddenly opens into a clearing, and a paved road provides access to several nearby villages including Tinerhir, Ait Hani, Tamtatouchte and Imilchil.

Toubkal National Park is another one of Morocco’s natural splendors. The national park is located about 45 miles outside of Marrakech to the south. It is set in the center of the High Atlas Mountains, and the highlight of the park is Mount Toubkal, which rises an impressive 13, 671 feet in elevation.

The biodiversity in the park encompasses numerous ecosystems and a variety of flora and fauna. Weather at Toubkal National Park is pleasant year-round, though snow falls at the higher elevations during the winter months. Toubkal National Forest is clothed in large oak trees, pines, junipers and thujas. Deep gorges and clear rivers run through the park. It is best to visit Toubkal National Park during the summer to enjoy the plethora of trekking trails.

Posted by JoAnna Haugen, managing editor at Journey Beyond Travel and author of Kaleidoscopic Wandering.

Photo by oliverlaumann.