This all tarmac 62-km route climbs 500m as it heads north up the Dades Valley and comes out at the top at a mini ‘Grand Canyon’. The tarmac stops at M’semrir where non-offroaders should turn around and head back for the return journey down the gorge.

Others can carry on, taking the ‘E23 Upper Dades’ piste north to Agougal, or the ‘E33 Gorge Link’ piste east to Tamtattouchte in the Todra Valley.

Photographs taken on a variety of trips.

km7.4: Irene Cullis on what was a rocky silencer-bashing piste in 1974...

...which in 2010 is now a smooth tarmac road

km11: haematite (iron oxide) in the soil produces the deep reds

km19: granite intrusions known locally as 'Doigts des Singes' or 'Monkey Fingers'

km21: plenty of pisé ksour

km29: Auberge Tissadrine situated on an interesting-looking side valley

km31: the fairytale castle of Hotel Timzzillite atop...

... the hairpin bends of Tisdrin (Berber for stairs)

And on one of the bends, the granade emblem of the combat engineers of the French Foreign Legion

...with more descending the other side

km34: the road drops down the river level—which, worryingly, is almost topping the road

km40: ancient watchtower amidst great strata

km55: John Cressey with Tal'at n'Iguidi in the background

km57: Tim Cullis with BMW R1200 GSA on the rim of the canyon

riding the rim of the gorge

km62: the souq at M'semrir and the end of this route