"Ouarzazate - The Door of The Desert" Top 5 Page for this destination Ouarzazate by suvanki
Ouarzazate Travel Guide: 145 reviews and 457 photos
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.
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: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!
This kasbah was brought to life for me by Mohamed (my guide)- If I'd wandered around by myself, I wouldn't have had... more travel advice
The journey from Marrakech to Ouarzazate is part of the fun! I travelled by local bus from Marrakech. The P31 road... more travel advice
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