OUARZAZATE: THE GATE OF THE SAHARA OR THE SILENT CITY
Ouarzazate, the gateway to the great Moroccan south, will take you to the immense arid expanses of the desert. At the confluence of the Drâa and the Dades, not far from the Ziz, the landscapes turn into a kingdom of palm groves, orchards and gardens, but also of regs and ergs. Above the valleys. Ouarzazate is perched at 1160m in the high Atlas plateaus. The city thus benefits from an exceptional climate for the region, winters are mild (around 15 ° C), while in summer temperatures can exceed 35 ° C! At the heart of the Saharan universe, a former garrison town during the French protectorate, Ouarzazate at the foot of the Atlas at 1200m altitude is on the caravan route, between Marrakech, 200km to the south, and the Sahara. Crossroads of civilizations and peoples, the region has enjoyed great prosperity for centuries, particularly flourishing trade and crafts. Set off on the oasis road, discovering adobe kasbahs, guardians of the history and legends of the deep South. Ouarzazate is the starting point for many excursions to the oases and large dunes of southern Morocco. It is called the gateway to the desert. Ouarzazate deserves more than a simple detour. It alone has great tourist potential. Whether it is its palm groves, the hospitality of its inhabitants, the diversity of its folklore, or the architectural authenticity of its casbahs. Often tourists in a hurry visiting southern Morocco pass through Ouarzazate towards Tafilalt and the famous dunes of Merzouga. They don’t know what they missed. Ouarzazate would not be Ouarzazate without its film studios, its famous Gorges whose traversal is striking, its captivating panoramic palm groves and its magical casbahs. It is nicknamed “The Region of a Thousand and a Kasbah”. Visit Ouarzazate, it is to discover the green spots on a bottom of ocher earth, up to the first sand dunes in Zagora which brings you a foretaste of the splendor of the Sahara … With its International Airport which is located about 10 km away from downtown, Ouarzazate has become an undisputed pearl. A trip to Ouarzazate will allow you to know the places popular with film producers because its natural landscapes are magnificent and the light is incredible. It is also the starting point of the route of oases, palm groves and gardens which follow one another in this valley of a thousand Kasbahs. Thus, its two roads, take you to the desert. The road from the Drâa valley, Zagora and M’Hamid to the large dunes of Chegaga. Moreover, its treasure is hidden behind its famous Kasbah of Ait Benhaddou, classified as World Heritage Site, where many films have been shot (Lawrence of Arabia, The Mummy, Asterix, etc.). It is a type of traditional Pre-Saharan settlement. The houses cluster within its defensive walls reinforced by corner towers. It is a striking example of the architecture of southern Morocco. It is of outstanding universal value. A visit to the city of Ouarzazate marks the start of a journey by dazzling the traveler with two magnificent kasbahs. That of Taourirt, former residence of Glaoui; last lord of the Atlas, Kasbah of astonishing beauty. Towers emerging from a mass of houses close together, push their battlements towards the blue of the sky, vying for first place in the sun. Often tourists in a hurry visiting southern Morocco pass through Ouarzazate towards Tafilalt and the famous dunes of Merzouga. They do not know what they missed: beauties that Ouarzazate would not be Ouarzazate without its film studios, its famous Gorges whose traverses is breathtaking, its captivating panoramic palm groves and its magical Kasbahs have we not nicknamed it “The Region of the Thousand and a Kasbah”. Visit Ouarzazate, it is to discover the green spots on the bottom of ocher earth, up to the first sand dunes in Zagora which brings you a foretaste of the splendor of the Sahara …
With its International Airport which is located about 10 km from the city center, Ouarzazate has become an undisputed pearl. A trip to Ouarzazate will allow you to know the places popular with film producers because its natural landscapes are magnificent and the light is incredible.
The market street, 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 appreciate the entertainment of its evenings. The city souk is located on the outskirts of Avenue Mohammed V. For your purchases, visit the Ouarzazate craft center. You can visit the workshops of stonemasons, copper and silver sculptors.
Visiting Ouarzazate, meet at the Taourirt Kasbah, the former palace of the Pasha of Marrakech. It is located opposite the craft center, on the other side of Avenue Mohammed V. This colossal adobe edifice houses a veritable labyrinth of corridors and stairs, sumptuous rooms. In the fortified village of the Kasbah, venture into the maze of shady streets, the peaceful atmosphere is very pleasant.
In the surroundings of Ouarzazate, you will come across many movie sets, set up in the middle of the desert plateaus. They are often reconstructions of villas, temples and ancient buildings used for the filming of epics or other American production. The most interesting sets can be found in the studios of the Atlas Corporation, easily spotted: monumental Egyptian statues frame the front door.
Hiking around Ouarzazate …
2km from Ouarzazate, on the road to Zagora, the Tamesla kasbah, the stork fortress, it is near the village of Tabounte, the starting point for a charming walk. After the Tabounte bridge in the direction of the Tiffoultoute kasbah, from there, you can admire a magnificent view of the entire Drâa valley. After 3 km, 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. East of Ouarzazate, 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 Area.