Written March 28, 2013
Tinerhir, the gateway town to the Todra Gorge, is an hour past Boumalne (the entrance to the Dadès gorge) on the N10. Despite being generally prudent, we got stopped twice for speeding along this stretch. The speed limit drops quickly and they expect you to be driving the posted limit immediately. Both times they told us the amount of the fine, 500 and 300 dirham respectively (about $55 and $33 US) but then let us off with a warning. This is one of the few times in our travels where the international driver’s license was actually useful.
We reach Tinerhir at around 4:30PM with the late afternoon sun lighting the town and palmery against a backdrop of orange and purple hills.
The road into the gorge is paved but narrow and in need of maintenance. The outer edges of the road have eroded making it difficult to pass oncoming traffic in places.
At the narrowest point of the gorge, what everyone comes to see, several hotels are dwarfed by the towering cliffs above.
Another 5 kilometers past this point is the Auberge Le Festival. Located at a wider point of the gorge it is still a stunning desert setting. As the only guest house or anything else in this stretch of the canyon it’s the perfect spot for anyone looking for tranquil base from which to explore the gorge.
The Festival has 14 rooms – 4 tower with views of the canyon, 5 cave with a nice terrace area off the rooms, and 5 in the main house. We had a tower room – a smallish stone room but comfortable and simply decorated with sunset colored curtains and bed covering. The bathroom, or really shower room, has a shower fixture in one corner and a toilet in the other. The shower, however, drains well and doesn’t leave the bathroom wet for more than a couple of hours. The sink area is outside the shower room in a small alcove off the bedroom. My only complaint is that there is no storage space for your belongings i.e. no closet or drawers of any kind.
Dinners are in the main house dining room, a pleasantly decorated stone room.
The three course meal starts with a pureed vegetable soup followed by a tagine. The first night turkey skewers were served with a vegetable tagine, the second night a mousaka tagine – eggplant and other vegies served over meatballs, and the third night a chicken and vegetable tagine. All the tagines are well prepared and tasty. Dessert is either fruit or a chocolate mousse that I’m sure comes from a box preparation. Bottles of red wine can be purchased for 150 dirham, (about $17 US).
Breakfast is served on the terrace or in the dining room and includes coffee or tea, fresh squeezed orange juice, Moroccan bread with butter and jam, black olives, yogurt with granola and a scrambled egg.