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The Greatest Issues To Do In Ouarzazate

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On the street of a 1,000 kasbahs from Marrakech to the Sahara, one pitstop stands out for its movie-star credentials and sunset-soaked citadels. Ouarzazate is Morocco’s desert-based Hollywood. Right here’s tips on how to see it.

Whereas there are a great deal of nice issues to do in Marrakech many make the favored street journey to the Saharan sand dunes. Heading handed the Ounila Valley & Aït Ben Haddou nearly all travellers spend an evening in Ouarzazate. It could appear like a sleepy city, however beneath the floor, this dusty street cease has just a few surprises up its sleeve.

The very first thing you discover as you strategy Ouarzazate is an enormous shining beacon of sunshine. Radiating from one thing just like a contemporary lighthouse, the world’s largest solar energy advanced towers above the desert.

However, Ouarzazate can also be the chief in one other dazzling subject. Atlas Studios, simply exterior the centre of city, has been churning out Hollywood blockbusters since 1983. Over 200 films have been filmed on this panorama. It has served as the whole lot from biblical scenes to historical Egyptian fables.

Along with being the hub of the Moroccan film business, the world surrounding Ouarzazate is residence to intriguing kasbahs – each decaying and restored – and a hidden oasis making it some of the attention-grabbing locations to go to in Morocco.

Right here’s our information of issues to do in Ouarzazate together with our ideas for the place to remain.

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Ouarzazate Morocco Aït Benhaddou

01 – CELEBRATE OUARZAZATE’S FILM PEDIGREE AT ATLAS STUDIOS

At a whopping 433,000 sq. ft, the Atlas Movie Studio is taken into account the biggest on the earth. With low-cost manufacturing prices and desolate surroundings, Morocco has seduced Hollywood studios to arrange base in Ouarzazate.

Over 200 films and tv programmes have been filmed at Atlas Studios together with, Gladiator, Ben Hur, The Mummy, Ardour of Christ, Black Hawk Down and Recreation of Thrones.

Among the units have been preserved whereas others are consistently being constructed after which knocked down once more to make approach for the subsequent one. There are whole units for the movies of Kundun and the Mummy, a plethora of movie memorabilia and an exhibition corridor to Jail Break.

The spotlight is the set of Kingdom of Heaven – a 1 km drive from the doorway. Head as much as its towering partitions, survey the weaponry and the spiritual imagery and fake you might be Orlando Bloom or Jeremy Irons saving Christendom.

Atlas Movie Studios / 8:30 – 17:00 Oct to Feb; 8:00 – 18:30 Mar to Sep | Value: 80 Drh for Atlas Studios; 40 Drh Kingdom of Heaven Set; 110 Drh for each.

Ouarzazate Morocco Atlas Film Studios
Ouarzazate Morocco Atlas Film Studios

02 – PROWL THE MAZE OF TINY ROOMS IN KASBAH TAOURIRT

Kasbah Taourirt is a citadel within the centre of Ouarzazate. It was the official residence of the Glaoui household who owned the dear commerce routes that run between Marrakech, the Ounila Valley, and the Sahara. Their highly effective stronghold on this vital financial belt allowed them to construct the formidable Taourirt which was most likely the biggest of their kasbahs.

Inside, 300 rooms and a real maze of passageways, draw guests deeper and deeper inside this historical labyrinth. Room after room is related by slender passageways, sharp steps and a rising sense of curiosity. Intricate plasterwork, painted stucco and engaging mosaics assist to differentiate one room from the subsequent.

To get a really feel for what it was prefer to dwell within the Kasbah, head out the again the place you’ll discover Moroccan households nonetheless dwelling in a few of the tiny rooms. For a small charge, they’ll be more than pleased to point out you round.

After wandering via the attention-grabbing assortment of tiny rooms, take a look at a few of the superb native artwork on the market in just a few of the rooms close to the exit.

Kasbah Taourirt / 8:30 – 16:00 each day | Value: 20 Drh

03 – BE BAFFLED BUT CAPTIVATED AT THE CINEMA MUSEUM

Reverse the Kasbah, the Cinema Museum is a extra intimate take a look at the movie business in Ouarzazate. Fairly than giant sprawling tons, the museum incorporates some outdated units, numerous movie props and archaic cinematic gear.

It’s a small dusty area with the movie units from Aladdin, the Mummy and Babel. However with solely the occasional scruffy info board and the remnants of outdated films hanging round, it feels extra like an deserted home than a museum. Perusing the outdated and attention-grabbing digicam gear felt like we had unintentionally stumbled into the storeroom.

However the Cinema Museum is a kind of endearing experiences you’ll be able to solely get in Morocco. Confusion apart, we stumbled over the cell Russel Crowe emerged from in Gladiator, a really convincing trying Egyptian palace, and a set that seemed prefer it was straight off a Star Wars film.

Because it’s situated simply throughout the street from the Kasbah, it’s price popping in.

Ouarzazate Cinema Museum / 8:00 – 18:00 each day | Value: 30 Drh

04 – WATCH SUNSET OR SUNRISE OVER AÏT BEN HADDOU

Constructed on the facet of a hill, Aït Benhaddou is an impressive fortified city (ksar) whose purple mud partitions and buildings sit majestically over the banks of the Ounila River. Its castellated partitions and dramatic location conjure photos of biblical cities, lengthy misplaced villages, and battling armies.

Hollywood has additionally taken discover. For years the film studios have made the pilgrimage right here to movie such classics as Lawrence of Arabia, Gladiator and Jesus of Nazareth.

Contained in the ksar, tiny alleyways and staircases meander across the purple brick buildings that are in numerous states of decay. Some have been left in break whereas others have been renovated or fully rebuilt by the movie business. Most are crammed with stallholders promoting artwork, knick-knacks and native artefacts.

It’s not an genuine take a look at rural Morocco life, but it surely’s nonetheless an excellent factor to do in Ouarzazate.

If you happen to arrive at dawn or sundown, the crowds shall be small, the stallholders both gone or nonetheless in mattress and Kasbah Aït Benhaddou shall be shimmering in a golden glow. Head as much as the highest of one of many surrounding hills and you can be rewarded with stunning desolate mountain surroundings.

Among the finest methods to reach is through a street journey via the gorgeous Ounila Valley. Learn our information with all the main points for a surprising drive to Aït Ben Haddou.

Kasbah Aït Ben Haddou / Open 24 hours a day | Value: Free | Entry: Enter through the footbridge from the city or the brand new entrance gate south-east of the ksar | Location: 30-minute drive from Ouarzazate.

05 – ABSORB THE PEACE AND QUIET OF THE FINT OASIS

It’s only a 40-minute drive alongside a tough street from Ouarzazate, however Fint Oasis is an excellent native village in a wonderful hidden oasis.

A neighborhood of 150 individuals dwell within the 4 villages that line the palm-fringed river. Life appears to have modified little or no from centuries passed by. Girls work small fields; males herd goats and youngsters pull faces from the backs of donkeys carrying them and their produce between the villages.

In spring, the world is ablaze with the contrasting colors. With a bit of extra water within the oasis, the crops are a glowing inexperienced and the riverbanks adorned with shiny pink flowers. The vast purple rock canyon partitions swirling overhead give the world an unique, otherworldly really feel.

There’s nothing it’s worthwhile to do on the Flint Oasis apart from stroll round and benefit from the sluggish tempo of life. Locals will little question strategy to supply a tour. If you happen to determine to not, you’ll be able to simply park the automobile and stroll round your self.

A lodge within the oasis, Terrasses des Délices, does a superb cup of mint tea on their patio overlooking the luxurious palm bushes.

Fint Oasis / The oasis is proven on the map on the finish of this put up. The 45-minute drive might be accomplished slowly in a easy 2WD however is faster and extra comfy in a excessive clearance or 4×4 (25 minutes). Take the gravel observe (P1507) heading south out of city earlier than turning onto the P1509 for a bumpy previous few minutes

Ouarzazate Morocco Fint Oasis
Ouarzazate Morocco Fint Oasis

06 – GO QUAD BIKING IN THE DESERT

If film memorabilia, intriguing kasbahs, quirky museums and mysterious oases go away you wanting extra of Ouarzazate, there’s a 4 wheel reply to your prayers.

The desolate panorama round Ouarzazate is the right location for quad biking. Cross beautiful trails in direction of Fint Oasis, discover hidden corners of the desert and have afternoon tea in a neighborhood homestay. It’s an excellent, adrenaline-filled method to get extra out of your Ouarzazate expertise.

Fouad Quads provide 1 to 3-hour excursions beginning on the depot proper close to the doorway to Atlas Studios or a 1-day journey venturing additional afield.

Ouarzazate Morocco Fint Oasis

07 – NOOR SOLAR ENERGY COMPLEX

The world’s largest concentrated solar energy advanced is working in direction of Morocco’s renewable vitality targets on the outskirts of Ouarzazate.

Constructed over an space the dimensions of three,500 soccer pitches, line after line of photo voltaic panels catch the solar’s rays creating sufficient energy to provide a metropolis the dimensions of Prague. Every panel displays mild up to an enormous tower casting a robust mild over the desert. As you strategy, it seems to be like one thing out of a science fiction film hovering over the sleepy dusty terrain.

The brilliant mild hovering above Ouarzazate proclaims Morocco as actually a part of the fashionable age. Ultimately, the Noor Photo voltaic Plant will have the ability to retailer vitality within the type of heated molten salt, permitting for the manufacturing of electrical energy within the night.

Whereas the ability station is clearly seen from throughout the city, excursions are usually not presently out there with out high-level scientific clearance. However, it’s effectively price driving as much as the doorway to get a more in-depth take a look at the tower’s brilliance and admire the trouble Morocco is making to inexperienced up their vitality provide.

Ouarzazate Morocco, Noor Solar Plant

WHERE TO STAY IN OUARZAZATE, MOROCCO

As the foremost centre within the space, Ouarzazate has some good lodging choices for all budgets and all of the services you would possibly want on your keep together with eating places, supermarkets and petrol stations. A couple of of the sights are in or near the centre of city, so it makes base to discover the world.

Nevertheless, if in case you have your personal automobile, you would possibly need to contemplate staying at a few of the locations close to Aït Ben Haddou. This fashion, you’ll be able to keep away from the crowds and simply be there for dawn and/or sundown to maximise the picture alternatives. Driving in Morocco is straightforward (as we coated in this put up) so getting again to your lodge from Ouarzazate after dinner is not any downside. Having stated that, the meals at Riad Tamdakhte, simply close to Aït Ben Haddou was superb. So there’s no cause to journey if you happen to don’t need to.

Listed below are some ideas from us for staying round Ouarzazate.

BUDGET OUARZAZATE

DAR WIDAD

Dar Widad is a superb price range possibility 10 minutes’ drive south of Ouarzazate. The rooms could also be small however the whole lot is clear and the services operational. The landlady couldn’t be extra useful or pleasant, providing helpful info, native excursions and historical past in regards to the space.


GREAT VALUE TAMDAKHTE

RIAD TAMDAKHTE

Simply north of Aït Ben Haddou, this glorious worth riad has magnificent views from each its upstairs roof terrace and the entrance patio. Massive and cozy rooms fantastically adorned in native Moroccan model make this our favorite within the space. It’s a 30-minute drive to Ouarzazate.


UPMARKET OUARZAZATE

DAR KAMAR

For a deal with within the centre of Ouarzazate strive Dar Kamar. The pleasant English talking hosts have proven appreciable consideration to element. Their stunning restored riad creates a beautiful African impressed enjoyable area. Breakfast is served on a terrace that overlooks the city.

Ouarzazate Morocco Atlas Film Studios

WHEN TO VISIT OUARZAZATE MOROCCO

Ouarzazate might be painfully scorching in summer season reaching as much as 40 levels Celsius. The valleys round it are most stunning in spring. At the moment, the luxurious inexperienced crops distinction fantastically with the purple rock. Nevertheless, in winter and early spring, the passes over the mountains can nonetheless be coated in snow making them impassable.

So we propose you intend your go to from late March to early Might. At the moment, the roads must be open and the temperatures not too excessive.

After the summer season temperatures drop, mid-September to mid-October may also be time to go to. Nevertheless, the inexperienced valley ground is not going to be as vibrant as in spring.

Whereas not important it’s also price avoiding Ramadan. Morocco is a really spiritual nation with strict adherence to fasting. Which means that native cafes and providers are sometimes closed through the day.

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HOW TO GET TO OUARZAZATE MOROCCO

After spending a few days in Marrakech it’s a simple drive to Ouarzazate. The roads are paved and the world might be simply visited utilizing any kind of automobile.

From Marrakech to Ouarzazate is 130 miles and driving will take round 4 hours. However we extremely advocate spending all day and going through the Ounila Valley.

If you want to comply with our 10 day itinerary round this a part of Morocco, we subsequent went to the Valley of the Roses and found the colorful lifeblood of this space, then on to the Tinghir Oasis for some wonderful mountaineering.

MARRAKECH TO OUARZAZATE BUS

If you happen to don’t have your personal automobile, it’s nonetheless very simple to get to Ouarzazate. There are round 5 bus providers every day from Marrakech to Ouarzazate, which take round 4 hours, half-hour. The price is round €8.

TOURS FROM MARRAKECH TO OUARZAZATE 

Quick on time however nonetheless need to see a bit greater than Marrakech? This day journey to Ouarzazate from Marrakech crosses the Tizi-n-Tichka go and in addition contains Aït Benhaddou. For a barely longer journey, this 2-day tour contains the Sahara as effectively.

OUARZAZATE, MOROCCO MAP

We have now included our record of one of the best issues to do in Ouarzazate, Morocco on the beneath map so you’ll be able to plot your course whereas visiting this stunning a part of the nation.

To save lots of the map, be sure you are logged in to your Google account, then click on on the star to the correct of the title. To find the map go to your Google Maps app, choose saved, then maps.

MORE READING FOR MOROCCO TRIP

Though solely a brief flight from Europe, Morocco is a special world. Discover medieval medinas, bustling souks, and beautiful surroundings with extra of our Morocco guides.

CITY GUIDES

The perfect issues to do in Marrakech

Our strolling tour of the Fez medina

3-day Marrakech itinerary

MOROCCO INSPIRATION

Beautiful locations to go to in Morocco

Go to the Valley of the Roses in Morocco

Scenic round hike via Todra Gorge

MOROCCO TIPS

Driving in Morocco – all our helpful ideas

Our 10-day Morocco itinerary


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On the road of a 1,000 kasbahs from Marrakesh to the Sahara, one pitstop stands out for its movie-star credentials and sunset-soaked citadels. Ouarzazate is Morocco’s desert-based Hollywood. Take in sunset at Ait Ben Haddou, relax in Fint Oasis and explore quirky citadels #fintoasis #aitbenhaddou #ouarzazate #morocco





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