Ouarzazate / 1 Day
“See Ouarzazate and die.” is a Moroccan expression about this magical city that is the door to the Sahara desert. Located just four hours from Marrakesh, Ouarzazate is the main Berber city in the south known for its spectacular sunsets and dramatic mountain and desert scenery. Surrounded by breathtaking valleys, Ouarzazate was once crossroads for African traders seeking to reach northern cities in Morocco and Europe. During the French rule, Ouarzazate expanded considerably as a garrison town and became the administrative centre of the Zagora region. Ouarzazate became famous when the nearby Kasbah Aït Benhaddou appeared in the 1962 film Lawrence of Arabia.
- Breakfast at a local pâtisserie and begin your one day excursion to the Oasis of Fint, Atlas Film Studios, Aït Benhaddou & Kasbah Taourirt.
- Visit the shining Oasis of Fint which seems to hover at the foot of the Atlas Mountains. Journey on a one-hour tour of the Oasis full of date palms and dramatic desert scenery. Have a tea with the Azziz O’Azziz and his family.
- Next, visit Atlas Film Studios. The studios are flanked by Hollywood-styled Egyptian figures and covers 30,000 sq m of desert. David Lean filmed Lawrence of Arabia at the Atlas Film Studios in the early 1960’s. Other international blockbusters shot here in recent years include: the French version of Cleopatra, The Sheltering Sky, Kundun, Hideous Kinky, Gladiator, Black Hawk Down, Alexander The Great, Kingdom of Heaven, and Sahara.
- Visit Ait Benhaddou, situated in Souss-Massa-Draâ on a hill along the Ouarzazate River. Lawrence of Arabia, Sodom and Gomorrah, and Jesus of Nazareth were filmed here. In recent years, controlled restoration has been carried out under the auspices of UNESCO. Ait Benhaddou once served as the former caravan route between the Sahara and Marrakesh. Most of the town’s inhabitants live in a more modern village on the other side of the river, however ten families still live within the old ksar.
- Take a private tour through this Berber village of towered and crenelated kasbahs that once guarded the lucrative caravan trade route through the Atlas Mountains.
- For lunch, relax on a terrace with clear views of Ait Benhaddou and enjoy a traditional Moroccan salad and a hearty tajine.
- End the day with a short visit to Kasbah Taourirt which was was built by the Pasha Glaoui. Kasbah Taourirt’s location was strategic for trading routes and in the 1930’s, when the Glaoui ruled the south, it was one of Morocco’s largest kasbahs. Explore the kasbah’s nooks and crannies. Visit local art galleries and silver shops just steps outside the kasbah.
- Return to Ouarzazate.
This spellbinding town is the perfect home base for exploring the southern region of Morocco which is comprised of ancient kasbahs, the Oasis of Fint, the Dadès Valley, the Gorge of Todra, Atlas Films Studios, Mount Mgoun, Skoura, El Kelaa Des Mgouna - The Valley of Roses, Merzouga, and the Dunes of Tinfo in Zagora.
wind: 7mph NE
H 47 • L 34
Weather from OpenWeatherMap