Tinghir and Todra valley.

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Flying over the Todra valley in a balloon

Having flown over the Todra Valley in May 2022 with the Atlas Vallée Ballons organization, we can now tell you about this fantastic experience.

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Flying over the Todra valley in a balloon.
Near Imarighen

After picking us up at dawn at our hotel with the organization’s Land Rover, we traveled the different roads in the valley looking for the best point from which to take off. This varies from day to day depending on the direction of the wind. They invited us to a coffee while they analyzed the movement of the air.

Flying over the Todra valley in a balloon.
Near Taghzoute

Once we found the right spot to take off, the large basket we were to travel in was lowered from the Land Rover’s trailer.

Flying over the Todra valley in a balloon.
The balloon

Then they began to inflate the huge balloon using a simple high-powered fan that filled it with air.

Flying over the Todra valley in a balloon.
The balloon

Then they heated the air inside the balloon with a blowtorch to make it rise. Everything on point!

Flying over the Todra valley in a balloon.
The balloon

The great moment had arrived! The pilot jumped into the basket with professional agility, followed by the four passengers, who climbed on it as best we could. Then they released the rope that kept the balloon tied to the Land Rover and we began to rise slowly, with extraordinary smoothness.

Flying over the Todra valley in a balloon.
Near Taghzoute

Although the ascent was almost imperceptible, in just one minute we were at a considerable height, while the Atlas Vallé Ballons team greeted us from below and wished us a happy trip. From the roof of one of the houses we flew over, a lady invited us to have tea… As if it were possible!

Flying over the Todra valley in a balloon.
Into the balloon

It was almost eight in the morning. The cold of the early morning had given way to a considerable heat produced by the sun and increased by the fire that arose above our heads. We took off all our warm clothes.

Flying over the Todra valley in a balloon.
Near Taghzoute

Our shadow was projected on the desert plain that surrounds the palm grove on all sides, turning the Todra valley into a true oasis. We were flowing over its eastern end.

Flying over the Todra valley in a balloon.
The balloon

The bursts of fire periodically released by the blowtorch made us climb higher and higher. Its noise was the only one that interrupted the silence and when it ceased we found ourselves in a mysterious peace, as if we were floating on a cloud or traveling on the flying carpet of the Thousand and One Nights.

Flying over the Todra valley in a balloon.
Todra valley

Now the Todra valley was clearly outlined at our feet, with its thirty kilometers in length, from where we were to the famous Todra gorges.

Flying over the Todra valley in a balloon.
El Hart n’Igourramen

We could perfectly distinguish some of the fifty villages that dot the palm grove, still inhabited.

Flying over the Todra valley in a balloon.
Zaouïa Sidi El Haj Amar, El Hart n’Igourramen

And also others that had been abandoned and were in ruins, victims of the floods in some cases.

Flying over the Todra valley in a balloon.
Shrine near El Hart

We also spotted a solitary shrine among the palm trees.

Flying over the Todra valley in a balloon.
Khettara

And the ancient Khettaras or underground channels that brought from a great distance the water necessary to irrigate this lower area of the Todra valley. They are recognized by the succession of wells that allowed the canal to be dredged.

Flying over the Todra valley in a balloon.
To the Jebel Saghro

The pilot only had in his hands the possibility of making us climb or descend, not the direction to follow, which depended exclusively of the wind. After almost an hour of smooth movement above the palm grove, we began to move away from it, towards the south. Then the foothills of Jebel Saghro, an extremely arid mountain massif, appeared.

Flying over the Todra valley in a balloon.
Taghia

We soon enter the secondary valley of the Assif Targuit, a tributary of the Todra that usually runs dry. At the confluence we saw Taghia n’Illamchane, a town that we have talked about at length in the article about the history of Todra.

Flying over the Todra valley in a balloon.
Tiliouine

Finally we landed in the small oasis of Tiliouine, in the same secondary valley, where the Atlas Vallée Ballons team came to pick us up with the Land Rover.

Hotel Tomboctou, Tinghir


La ruta de las mil casbas. Biografí,a de Roger Mimó, What is a Kasbah? To stay in a Kasbah. Comprarse una kasba.
Libros de Roger Mimó,. Circuitos. Montañ,as de Marruecos. Inventaire des kasbahs El viaje de Alí, Bey.

To contact the author: E-mail of Roger Mimó.

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