Nomads still live in the surrounding mountains with their herds (you can see some of their troglodyte caves from the Berbere de la Montagne campground) and use the valley as a seasonal livestock between their High Atlas summer pastures and their winter home in Jebel Saghro. In spring and autumn, if you’re lucky, you’ll see them on the move with laden camels and mules.

The R704 road is sealed all the way to Msemrir, 63km north of Boumalne Dades, but you’ll need a 4WD beyond that – especially for the piste (dirt track) that leads southeast into Todra Gorge. If you’re up for a challenge, you could travel north from Msemrir over the High Atlas to Imilchil. Lots of transport heads up the valley on Saturday for the Msemrir market. There's also a market in Aït Oudinar on Sunday.

The most dramatic gorge scenery commences 26km up the gorge where the road crosses the river and starts to climb through an extraordinary series of hairpin bends (see When the road flattens out again, you might take that as your cue to turn around: you’ve covered the best gorge scenery you can see without a 4WD or good hiking shoes.