Ouarzazate, the gateway to the Great South, will transport you to the Moroccan desert's vast parched plains. At the confluence of the Drâa and Dades, not far from the Ziz, the landscapes are transformed into a kingdom of palm groves, orchards, and gardens, but also regs and ergs. Above the valleys and at the gates of the desert, Ouarzazate is perched at 1160 m on the highlands of the Atlas. The city thus enjoys an exceptional climate for the region: winters are mild (about 15 °C), while in summer temperatures can exceed 35 °C! A trip not to be missed under any circumstances!
At the heart of the Saharan universe, a former garrison city during the French protectorate, Ouarzazate is on the caravan route, between Marrakech and the Sahara. Crossroads of civilizations and peoples, the region has enjoyed for centuries great prosperity, trade, and crafts particularly flourishing. Go on the road of the oases, to discover the kasbahs of adobe, guardians of the history and legends of the great South. Ouarzazate is the starting point for many excursions to the oases and large dunes of southern Morocco.
Excursion to Ouarzazate
- The rue du marché, the rue de la Poste and the rue Mohammed VI delimit the city center, where the main shops, cafes, and restaurants of Ouarzazate are concentrated. Take a tour of the Place du 3 Mars to enjoy the animation of its evenings. The city's souk is located on the outskirts of Mohammed V Avenue. For your purchases, go to the craft center of Ouarzazate. You can visit the workshops of stonemasons, and copper, and silver sculptors.
- Visiting Ouarzazate, go to the Kasbah of Taourirt, the former palace of the Pasha of Marrakech. It is located in front of the craft center, on the other side of Mohammed V Avenue. This colossal adobe building houses a real labyrinth of corridors and stairs and sumptuous rooms. In the fortified village of the kasbah, venture into the maze of shady alleys, the peaceful atmosphere is very pleasant.
- In the vicinity of Ouarzazate, you will meet many movie sets, set in the middle of desert plateaus. These are often reconstructions of villas, temples, and ancient buildings used for the filming of peplums or other American production. The most interesting sets can be found in the atlas corporation's studios, which are easily spotted: monumental Egyptian statues frame the front door.
Hiking in the surroundings of Ouarzazate...
- On the way to Zagora, discover the Kasbah of Tamesla, the "stork fortress". It is located near the village of Tabounte, 2km from Ouarzazate. The site is the starting point for a charming walk in the surroundings, away from the tourist trails. Back on the road to Zagora, turn right after the bridge of Tabounte towards the kasbah of Tiffoultoute. From here you can admire a magnificent view of the entire Draa Valley. After 3 km, follow the track on your left. You will find yourself in the middle of a landscape of black rocks, on the pre-Saharan plateaus of the Anti-Atlas. Follow the course of the wadi and enjoy a wonderful walk in the gardens of Fint.
- To the east of Ouarzazate, you can take the road to Tinghir for about twenty kilometers. You will arrive on the shores of the large lake of El Mansour Eddahbi, at the foot of Jebel Kissane. The site is the starting point for many excursions in the surrounding area. Finally, go to the Great South, taking the kasbah road: go to M'Hamid where many expeditions in the desert await you...
Ouarzazate is about 200 km from Marrakech (4h drive), and 442 km from Casablanca (7h). Ouarzazate has an international airport, located 3km from the city center.
Transportation and travel in Ouarzazate
It is possible to rent a car in Ouarzazate, 4x4s are recommended if you leave the main roads and especially for excursions in the nearby desert. In the city, you can get around on buses and taxis that can be found quite quickly. The Ouarzazate airport is located about ten kilometers from the city center, and you can take shuttles to the city center.
A little advice:
Do not forget to bring a small wool for the nights that can be cool between November and April. Be careful when driving, the roads (off highways) are not always in good condition. When eating with locals, it is best to use the right hand. The locals are very welcoming
Not to be missed in Ouarzazate
- Aït Ben Haddou
- Gorges Du Dadés
- Kasbah of Taourirt
- Palm Grove Of Skoura
- Valley of roses