After 2 nights wild camping outside of Todra Gorge, we took on the highest mountain pass for us yet in Morocco. From here we are headed up to over 9,500 ft in elevation on a single track dirt road in the High Atlas Mountains through the Amazigh village of Agoudal before coming down thru Dadés Gorge.

High Altas Mountains, Morocco, Africa (overlanding dirt road R704 im our Sprinter Van)

Here is the start of Route 704.

High Altas Mountains, Morocco, Africa (overlanding dirt road R704 im our Sprinter Van)

R704 is the route that connects Todra Gorge to Dades Gorge. Sure, there is a paved way to get there but we chose to take the more scenic and memorable route there.

High Altas Mountains, Morocco, Africa (overlanding dirt road R704 im our Sprinter Van)

We weren’t really sure what to expect on this drive. Sure lots of dirt.

High Altas Mountains, Morocco, Africa (overlanding dirt road R704 im our Sprinter Van)

And sheep with their shepherds are always around even if it feels like you are in the middle of nowhere. Newsflash: You are in the middle of somewhere.

High Altas Mountains, Morocco, Africa (overlanding dirt road R704 im our Sprinter Van)

We didn’t expect to see anything but dirt during our two day trek through the High Atlas Mountains but then out of nowhere, a small building appeared. 

High Altas Mountains, Morocco, Africa (overlanding dirt road R704 im our Sprinter Van)

We giggled when we saw this place appear. It sort of reminded us “Coco’s Corner” in Baja, Mexico but instead of panties on the wall there are rugs and instead of cold beer there’s warm tea.

High Altas Mountains, Morocco, Africa (overlanding dirt road R704 im our Sprinter Van)

High Altas Mountains, Morocco, Africa (overlanding dirt road R704 im our Sprinter Van)

We are here at Aberge La Grotte.

High Altas Mountains, Morocco, Africa (overlanding dirt road R704 im our Sprinter Van)

High Altas Mountains, Morocco, Africa (overlanding dirt road R704 im our Sprinter Van)

Enjoying delicious tea and snacks. Pinkies up!

High Altas Mountains, Morocco, Africa (overlanding dirt road R704 im our Sprinter Van)

High Altas Mountains, Morocco, Africa (overlanding dirt road R704 im our Sprinter Van)

Dan.

High Altas Mountains, Morocco, Africa (overlanding dirt road R704 im our Sprinter Van)

Me.

High Altas Mountains, Morocco, Africa (overlanding dirt road R704 im our Sprinter Van)

Little details.

High Altas Mountains, Morocco, Africa (overlanding dirt road R704 im our Sprinter Van)

High Altas Mountains, Morocco, Africa (overlanding dirt road R704 im our Sprinter Van)

Said the owner. How much did the tea and snacks cost? The owner said it was whatever we wanted to pay.

High Altas Mountains, Morocco, Africa (overlanding dirt road R704 im our Sprinter Van)

Not only did we fill ourselves with delicious tea but with warm smiles and great conversations with a few local men. This is why we don’t over plan or over research our next destination. It allows us to have these unexpected magical moments that create memories for a lifetime.

High Altas Mountains, Morocco, Africa (overlanding dirt road R704 im our Sprinter Van)

Before we left, the girls and I were gifted with rose rings. Ava picked blue, Mila picked peach and Luka chose hot pink for me.

High Altas Mountains, Morocco, Africa (overlanding dirt road R704 im our Sprinter Van)

Then we continued our drive down the dirt road.

High Altas Mountains, Morocco, Africa (overlanding dirt road R704 im our Sprinter Van)

High Altas Mountains, Morocco, Africa (overlanding dirt road R704 im our Sprinter Van)

Reaching the highest part of the drive today.

High Altas Mountains, Morocco, Africa (overlanding dirt road R704 im our Sprinter Van)

High Altas Mountains, Morocco, Africa (overlanding dirt road R704 im our Sprinter Van)

High Altas Mountains, Morocco, Africa (overlanding dirt road R704 im our Sprinter Van)

Love the lines of the landscape here. Reminds me of a topography map.

High Altas Mountains, Morocco, Africa (overlanding dirt road R704 im our Sprinter Van)

Slow driving but the half from Todra to the highest peak wasn’t so bad. Well, I should say it’s not bad while the weather is cooperating. I would NOT do this route in the rain or snow or mud. There are no guard rails here. Most of it is single track. There are some crazy switch backs as well that required three point turns. Be smart.

High Altas Mountains, Morocco, Africa (overlanding dirt road R704 im our Sprinter Van)

We ended up parking just a little ways down the road from the highest peak of the route. We were shortly joined by our friends Alex and Verena in their 2 wheel drive Sprinter.

High Altas Mountains, Morocco, Africa (overlanding dirt road R704 im our Sprinter Van)

Climbing up the mountain for a photo.

High Altas Mountains, Morocco, Africa (overlanding dirt road R704 im our Sprinter Van)

High Altas Mountains, Morocco, Africa (overlanding dirt road R704 im our Sprinter Van)

Dan and I kept climbing up alone. Didn’t get much farther with the thin air, steep climb and pokey plants.

High Altas Mountains, Morocco, Africa (overlanding dirt road R704 im our Sprinter Van)

High Altas Mountains, Morocco, Africa (overlanding dirt road R704 im our Sprinter Van)

Our spot for the night. Actually had cell reception up here.

High Altas Mountains, Morocco, Africa (overlanding dirt road R704 im our Sprinter Van)

The next day we tackled the second half of the drive from our overnight spot near the highest part of R704 towards Dades Gorge. This was the hairier part of the drive. Some switchbacks took some reversing with our 170 wheel base Sprinter van.

High Altas Mountains, Morocco, Africa (overlanding dirt road R704 im our Sprinter Van)

You don’t need a 4×4 to explore Morocco but some decent tires and common sense couldn’t hurt. We traversed a single-track dirt road with friends in a standard 2-wheel drive van with no issues. If the forecast called for rain, we would’ve both skipped this road but the sun was shining so we gave it a go. We didn’t even shift our van into 4-wheel drive once. Um, actually that’s a lie. We did go into 4×4 low range to level our van on some rocks last night. 😂

High Altas Mountains, Morocco, Africa (overlanding dirt road R704 im our Sprinter Van)

High Altas Mountains, Morocco, Africa (overlanding dirt road R704 im our Sprinter Van)

High Altas Mountains, Morocco, Africa (overlanding dirt road R704 im our Sprinter Van)

Pretty village built with the purple landscape.

High Altas Mountains, Morocco, Africa (overlanding dirt road R704 im our Sprinter Van)

Part of the switchbacks.

High Altas Mountains, Morocco, Africa (overlanding dirt road R704 im our Sprinter Van)

High Altas Mountains, Morocco, Africa (overlanding dirt road R704 im our Sprinter Van)

Still can’t over the landscape lines.

High Altas Mountains, Morocco, Africa (overlanding dirt road R704 im our Sprinter Van)

Passed a few other vehicles during our two day journey.

High Altas Mountains, Morocco, Africa (overlanding dirt road R704 im our Sprinter Van)

High Altas Mountains, Morocco, Africa (overlanding dirt road R704 im our Sprinter Van)

Switchback portion on our GPS.

High Altas Mountains, Morocco, Africa (overlanding dirt road R704 im our Sprinter Van)

Stopped to enjoy the scenery.

High Altas Mountains, Morocco, Africa (overlanding dirt road R704 im our Sprinter Van)

High Altas Mountains, Morocco, Africa (overlanding dirt road R704 im our Sprinter Van)

And done. Exhale. I will share Dades Gorge in the next post.

High Altas Mountains, Morocco, Africa (overlanding dirt road R704 im our Sprinter Van)

Here is part 1 of our drive from Dan’s perspective 🙂

Thanks for following along,
Marlene

 


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