Trekking the Monkey Fingers Canyon in Dades Valley

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Discovering Rural Morocco near Baumalne Dades

Kasbah ruins, canyons, gorges, fig and olive trees!

If I had to describe Dades Vallley, 50 shades of orange would be perfect description for the colors in the mountains and the villages.  I have to admit that when I was planning my Morocco trip I didn’t do any research, so when I finally sat on a bus in Marrakech, I had no idea where I was going.

 

crossing Atlas Mountains from Marrakech to Boumalne Dades trekking

Along the way I found out I will be crossing the Atlas Mountains covered in snow, a 130 km of curvy slow bus ride that was slowly descending into the stone desert. After about 7 hours of delightful and scenic journey I stepped off in Boumalne Dades, a small little town in rural Morocco that is known as a base for trekking in the area.

My journey hasn’t finished yet. My final destination was a small Moroccan village Tamlalte, another 15 kilometers with grand taxi ride.  Already on the way to Tamlalte  the landscape started to reveal stunning rock formations in the distance.

Day Trip to Ait Ben Haddou from Marrakech

Tamlalte Morocco Trekking Dades Valley

 Dades Valley Experience

For everyone looking for real Morocco, Dades Valley is a must visit. Groves of olive and fig trees, silent kasbah ruins from the past, Berber architecture and friendly people.  From what I have seen in two weeks in Morocco, Dades Valley is one of the most picturesque places I have seen.

 One could easily say, Dades valley is a small but utterly spectacular version of the Grand Canyon! Its sheer mountain walls and fantastic geological rock formations add to its uniqueness and splendour, especially when the sun is shining and the sky is clear blue.

Trekking Morcco Dades Valley canyon

 

Trekking Dades Valley  – Monkey’s Fingers Canyon

There are many different trekking routes in Dades Valley, lasting from one day to week long hikes. I was short on time, therefore I opted for a day trip while if I ever come back will definitely choose more days for trekking in Dades Valley.

My day started with a short hike to Gorge de Miguirne and then slowly to Monkeys fingers canyon. I visited in January and while the rest of Morocco was really cold (under 1o degrees C in the nights in some parts)  Dades valley was warm with sunny days yet very cold nights. Unfortunately the trees were still leafless but in the air one could  already feel the wake of soon coming spring.

trekking Morocco

 

Trekking Guide in Dades Valley

There is probably abundance of guides, but I always recommend people that I personally met and the tours that I attend. I was guided by Ilias, Berber Nomad Trekking, a Berber local guide, specialised in mountain trekking in Boumalne Dades region  who knows literally every stone in the canyon.

He took over all organisation since my arrival to Boumalne Dades and made sure my stay was basically perfect if i forget the fact I had to wait for him two hours in Boumalne city because he was late without notice. I enjoyed warm berber hospitality through out my short stay, he made sure I was safe in the canyon, carried my heavy camera and other stuff we packed for the canyon trek.

Monkey’s Fingers Canyon

During my trek, the mountains were there just for me. No tourists, no sound except for the wind.

 I learned about the history of the Dades region, the berber lifestyle, the culture and was fed with home cooked tagines that could not compare to any restaurant tagine I tried before.

Prices: Pricing is not transparent with Berber Nomad Trekking, you will not find them on his website. It depends on your luck. Airbnb prices quote a room in his guesthouse for 20 Eur per night, while he offers quotes to travellers from other channels 50, 60 a day or more. Negotiate. Same pricing model for trekking.  Depends who you are.

Payment: bring cash, you will not get receipt, neither they will not register you as a tourist upon check in. You should know that.

Apart from that, Ilias is typical Moroccan stereotype –  gigolo type with girlfriends from all over the world and the most welcome  demographics are single women which is his favourite type of traveller to guide.

Trekking Morocco Dades Valley canyons

 

Best time for Trekking in Dades Valley is all year around!

However the best season for Dades Valley trekking  that is not too cold or too hot, is in spring time from February to late May and from September till the end of October, early November.  Area is quite remote,  it is recommended  having good travel health insurance as it appears there is no emergency service not to mention emergency evacuation service in case of serious accidents.

Trekking Morocco Dades Valley canyons

Morocco trekking Dades Gorge Canyons

Canyons Morocco trekking

canyons-Morocco-trekking

Trekking Morocco monkeys fingers canyon

Morocco trekking destinations

Best trekking in Morocco

Morocco trekking Baumalne dades canyons

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Have you been to Morocco? Which part impressed you most? Leave your comment

 

By |2018-11-18T19:26:24+00:00February 10th, 2017|Categories: Morocco, Travel WIth A Local|23 Comments

About the Author:

In last five years she extensively travelled Morocco, Sudan East Africa, Zambia and South Africa. Nina also lived in Tanzania for a while where she worked with safari company and knows safari business inside out. For Nina, people are the essence of travel and she makes sure she makes local friends everywhere she goes.© Safari Junkie. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published without permission, rewritten or redistributed.

23 Comments

  1. Katie @ The Katie Show Blog 02/15/2017 at 11:40 am - Reply

    Wow looks like something to add to my bucket list! I’m glad you added the recommendation for the guides too because that is helpful!

    • Safari Junkie 02/16/2017 at 9:13 am - Reply

      Dades is really beautiful, i highly recommend to see it if you are interested in nature and hiking.

  2. Cori 02/15/2017 at 11:14 pm - Reply

    You lucked out finding such a good guide after arriving at a destination without any idea what you’re getting into! It looks like a really beautiful area to hike.

    • Safari Junkie 02/16/2017 at 8:36 am - Reply

      Area felt on moments like walking on Mars!

  3. Patricia 02/16/2017 at 12:55 am - Reply

    Looks like you picked the perfect time of year to go — no crowds at all! And it’s great to know that at least the daytime temps make this trek possible all year long. The colors of the rocks and the actual formations are gorgeous. Even the leafless trees add something to the landscape. Very cool. Thanks for sharing!

    • Safari Junkie 02/16/2017 at 8:39 am - Reply

      If I choose to visit again I would visit a bit later, probably at the end of March, beginning of April. There is also famous roses Valley very near and I hear its beautiful in spring time, specially for the Roses festival.

  4. Izzy 02/16/2017 at 5:40 pm - Reply

    50 shades of orange! Oh man, you are taking me back to Morocco! So much love for that country, definitely in the top 3 of all the countries I’ve been too! I don’t think I ever made it to Dades Valley but will put it on the list for when I return 🙂

    • Safari Junkie 02/18/2017 at 8:44 am - Reply

      Thanks Izzy, if you return you have to spend few days there, especially if you are into nature:)

  5. Sarah Kim 02/17/2017 at 12:55 am - Reply

    Wow, that was one journey you took to the get to the small village, but it seemed so worth it. I’d love to be surrounded by olive and fig trees! Those houses look surreal like right out of a movie! Thanks for sharing!

  6. Stella the Travelerette 02/17/2017 at 4:19 am - Reply

    Your photos are gorgeous! I actually was in Morocco in December and I loved how beautiful Dades Valley was. But I just saw it from the inside of a van, you actually trekked it yourself! I appreciate the recommendation of a guide because I might want to go back and do this. But I think I would like the weather to be just a smidge warmer than it was in December.

    • Safari Junkie 02/17/2017 at 11:36 am - Reply

      Its a pity you skipped it and saw it only from the car. Many people miss this chane, but the stay for a day or two is worth the time for sure.

  7. Paige Wunder 02/17/2017 at 4:52 am - Reply

    Morocco is really high on my radar! I’m trying to convince my husband to add this to our upcoming journey. Every time I see thing from Moroccos it makes me want to go even more. I love that this trek has culture tied in as well!

    • Safari Junkie 02/17/2017 at 11:59 am - Reply

      If you are looking an authentic element in your trip, I highly recommend visiting Dades.

  8. Sandy N Vyjay 02/17/2017 at 7:15 am - Reply

    This sure looks like an incredible trek. The landscapes are really intriguing.The Canyons look mystero=ious and out of the world. You must have had a great time on the trek.

    • Safari Junkie 02/17/2017 at 11:36 am - Reply

      This is my favourite place in Morocco now.

  9. nicki 02/17/2017 at 3:38 pm - Reply

    Something about Morocco has always been fascinating to me. Maybe its the architecture. Maybe its the landscapes. I don’t know what it is but everytime I see photos from this magical land, I feel like I could just move there and everything would be alright. Thanks for sharing your photos – trekking Morocco looks a lot of fun.

  10. Claire 02/18/2017 at 4:57 am - Reply

    I had no idea Morocco was so diverse & beautiful! I wanted to go to Morocco for the markets & food but now I’ll add this to my ‘to-do’ list for there! And if it’s so peaceful that’s a definite plus!

    • Safari Junkie 02/18/2017 at 8:41 am - Reply

      Had same feelings towards Morocco before i went there. Diversity of the country is amazing. Everybody can find something.

  11. Tamason Gamble 02/21/2017 at 6:23 pm - Reply

    I absolutely love Morocco and am always looking for different places to explore. The Dades Valley looks like somewhere I would like to head.

  12. Bewildered in Morocco 04/20/2017 at 11:35 am - Reply

    Love this one, Nina! Great job. I have been there 5 or 6 times and love Monkey Fingers.

    • Safari Junkie 04/21/2017 at 9:56 am - Reply

      THanks Monika! I agree, its beautiful no matter how many times we visit😀

  13. Brahim Rahali 04/21/2017 at 1:30 am - Reply

    Looks breathtaking! Thanks for sharing.
    May I recommend trekking from Chefchouen through Ghomara’s beautiful landscapes overlooking the Mediterranean.It is just mind-blowing!

    • Safari Junkie 04/21/2017 at 9:55 am - Reply

      Have to check out this one, was not familiar with this route! Thanks for suggestion!

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