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The Draa Valley

©Boris Stroujko
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The Draa Valley

When travelling in Southern Morocco, make sure to take some time to discover the Draa Valley. Between Agdz and M’Hamid and passing through Zagora, the Draa is a long fertile band in the middle of the Hamada, an immense desert limestone plateau. Here you’ll uncover a world of flowering oases, orchards and palm groves. On the road from Ouarzazate to M’Hamid, many beautiful excursions await…

Inhabited since prehistoric times, the villages of the Draa Valley prospered beginning in the end of the sixteenth century thanks to the trans-saharan gold, salt and spice trade under the direction of the Saadien dynasty. The watchtowers and ksours that rise in the middle of the palm groves will allow visitors to understand how this very fertile land resisted continuous attacks.

Trekking and hikking in the Draa Valley

To take the Tinififft mountain pass from Ouarzazate, take the P31 road towards Zagora. After sixty kilometres it climbs up the flanks of the Jebel Tifernine to the pass at 1698 metres. From here, a photo opportunity over the peaks of the Sahro and the hills below. Going back down from Tizi N’Tinififft take a small detour by Tizgui. A few kilometres before arriving at Agdz, veer left then, at the entrance to the village, take another left: after a short ten minute walk you’ll reach the Draa waterfalls. Either swim or simply enjoy the freshness and tranquillity of the site while sipping a mint tea.

Go for a 4WD excursion on the trails that link Tansikht to Zagora. Two itineraries will allow you to stay off the tourist paths:

A few kilometres after the Tansikht Bridge, drive along the Draa and take the right side road from the Tazzarine road. This trail will take you to the heart of the valley to discover its mysterious adobe villages before getting back to Zagora (4 hours).
For lovers of great open desert spaces, continue along the road 15 km after Tansikh and take the trail on the right. You will discover the great reg, a lunar landscape extending from the Jebel Rhart to Zaouia Tafechna. At the exit of the village, the road forks into two; take the left for Tazzarine and go straight to get to Zagora (80 km).

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On the kasbah road

Between Agdz and M’Hamid you’ll pass a number of palm groves in the midst of which rise the fabulous kasbahs of the Draa Valley. Stop a moment in Agdz, a peaceful village at the feet of Jebel Kissane (1531m). Here, you can visit the caid’s kasbah and its orange tree orchard. From the roof a superb view over the oasis and the surrounding ksours is sure to take your breath away. Among the most spectacular, don’t miss that of Timidert (15 km east of Agdz) or one of the recently restored kasbahs, the ksar Tansikht (7 km further). Still hungry for kasbah, try Igdaoun or Tinzouline.
6 km south-east of Agdz, cross the bridge over the Draa and arrive at Tamnougalt. At the foot of a gigantic and fascinating kasbah, go for a tour through the charming old town centre.

Access

From Ouarzazate, it will take an hour and a half to reach Agdz (55km), the hours to get to Zagora (95km), and about five hours for M’Hamid (170 km). Bus, taxi, or in your rental car.

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