"Ouarzazate - The Door of The Desert" Top 5 Page for this destination Ouarzazate by suvanki

Ouarzazate Travel Guide: 149 reviews and 468 photos

Ouarzazate - orientation

Ouarzazate means 'Without Noise', and stangely enough, despite its size, there was a certain quietness and feeling of emptiness.

This large town is situated in South Central Morocco, 1160 m.a.s.l., on the Saharan side of the High Atlas Mountains, and sits in the valley of the River Ouarzazate, near its juncture with the River Draa.
Ouarzazates position as a crossroads for the roads from Marrakech to the south, and from Agadir to the east, led to plans being made in 1928, for the creation of a military garrison town. During the French protectorate from 1932 - 1956, the town took shape.

During the 1980's the Moroccan Government had big plans, envisaging mass tourism, as people flocked for their Saharan Experience.
An airport, and Luxury hotels were built in anticipation.

Avenue Mohamed V runs to/from the outskirts of town, parallel to the Oued (River) Ouarzazate.

Entering from the West side (Marrakech/Agadir Road)You will no doubt see the film studios, including the Atlas Studios, where many well known films have been filmed. Ouarzazate is nicknamed, African Hollywood, or Mollywood, or Hollywood -in-the-Sands.

The bus station is to the west of the town centre, while the airport is North of the centre.

The Kasbah de Taorirt and nearby Artisan Centre are to the East end of Ave Mohamed V, where the road continues on past the Centre of cinematografic, and the Royal Golf Course, (where the present King of Morocco can sometimes be seen), out towards the start of the Valley of A Thousand Kasbahs.


4 hours by bus from Marrakesh, over the stunning Tizzi N' Tichka mountain road, I arrived in Ouarzazate in the middle of a thunder storm!

My reason for visiting Ouarzazate? - it was the start point of my tour, and I'd decided to have a few days here beforehand to get settled, and have a bit of a rest after the bustle and heat of
Marrakech . I had 2 days here before the rest of the tour group arrived.

From guide books and VTers, I had the impression that there wasn't really much to see or do in this frontier town. However, I quite enjoyed my time here.

The manager of my hotel (Mohamed) took me under his wing, and suggested things to do. After taking me to the bank, then showing me his restaurant (Le Bougafer) and language school, he dropped me off at the Taourirt Kasbah, which is Ouarzazates main attraction. A guide showed me around this Unesco restored palace. He was very informative, telling me a lot about the Kasbah and the Glaoui Dynasty who ruled the area up until the mid 20th century - I was to learn more about the ruthless Glaoui brothers later in my trip to

Telouet ! After visiting the Artisan centre- again very interesting, I walked back to my hotel, which was in the 'Hotel Quarter'

Later that afternoon Mohamed and his friend Hossaine drove me to the Atlas film studios. Although they were closing, Mohamed arranged for a guide to take me around - so I had my own private tour!

Hossaine is a guide, and we planned an excursion for the next day, I had a few ideas of places that I'd like to see, Hossaine planned the route, adding extra places to see to my suggestions.

Valley of A Thousand Kasbahs and Dades Gorge

This was to be one of my favourite days out during my 2 weeks in Morocco. We set off at 0900 hrs and headed out of Ouarzazate.

To be continued......

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Handy base for exploring further afield. Quite a laid back town
  • Cons:Can feel a bit like a 'Frontier Town'
  • In a nutshell:Welcome to Mollywood!
  • Last visit to Ouarzazate: Sep 2006
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (12)

Comments (4)

  • starship's Profile Photo
    Sep 5, 2013 at 6:01 AM

    Great page, Sue! I really enjoyed 'traveling round' with you! I am glad to hear that you had excellent guides and felt safe and no pressure. The one bus boarding was a little unsettling but other than that it seems if you had a wonderful experience. I am trying very hard to get my husband agree to visit Morocco!

    • suvanki's Profile Photo
      Sep 5, 2013 at 3:08 PM

      Yes, they did! Thanks again!
      I always post my reply with a ? Re ratings as I don't want to assume that the person who has commented is the one that has added ratings.
      Perhaps it's my Englishness coming out - modesty etc ;-)

    • starship's Profile Photo
      Sep 5, 2013 at 3:24 PM

      I understand completely!!

  • aussirose's Profile Photo
    Jan 11, 2011 at 5:48 PM

    Fabulous page Sue! :o) ....and wonderful stories...especially the crystal rock one :o) Now I can't wait to go!! Hugs, Ann.

  • hunterV's Profile Photo
    Nov 7, 2010 at 5:31 AM

    What a wonderful trip you have made!

  • angiebabe's Profile Photo
    Jul 16, 2007 at 3:01 AM

    having been there so many times passing thru or getting essentials, just last week spent 2 whole days there ive enjoyed looking thru your pics and comments!!xxhi again, checked out your page, see youve got some new tips!


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