Ouarzazate: how to get there, where to stay, what to see and do

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Alejandra Rangel
@alejandrarangel
SOURCES CONSULTED:

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

Author and references

Ouarzazate also known as the gateway to the desert, is a city in the south of Morocco. It is a major tourist destination, given its proximity to the Atlas Mountains and the Draa River Valley.

In the past, the city was a small crossing point for African merchants trying to reach the northern cities of Morocco and Europe. Today Ouarzazate has grown into a supply town for this part of the country.

In the city there are major film studios in Morocco, where important international films have been produced, many of which are linked to history. The studios are located approximately 5km west of the city. In addition to its cinematic function, they represent a major tourist attraction.



Taking advantage of the existence of these film studios, the spectacular nature of its landscape and its buildings, Ouarzazate is the setting for various events related to the world of cinema and other cultural events.

To see

Visit Ait Ben-Haddou, one of the best preserved Kasbahs, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It is a very picturesque place, many films have been shot here, such as the Gladiator. Entrance fee 10 dirhams.

Visit the Atlas Studios film studios. They are located about 4 km from the city center. Among the films shot here: Asterix and Obelix Mission Cleopatra, Lawrence of Arabia, The Man Who Would Be King, Cleopatra, Kundun, The Gladiator, The Living Daylights and Alexander, Kingdom of Heaven and Babel. The entrance fee is 50 dirhams.

Visit the CLA Studios film studios, created in 2004 in collaboration with Dino de Laurentis and Cinecitt脿. The studios are on the same road as the Atlas Studios, approximately one kilometer closer to Marrakech. Some of the films shot here are: Tea in the Desert, The Black Hawk, The Mummy 1 and 2, Alexander the Great, Hidalgo, The Kingdom of Heaven, Sahara, Troy, The Exorcist 1 and 2. The cost of the entrance ticket is 100 dirhams.



To do

Excursion to M'Hamid. Most tours also include a night in the Sahara. Spending a night in the desert is one of the best and unforgettable experiences you can have in Morocco. The cost is around 300-400 dirhams.


Other excursions that can be done in the area are a half day trip to the beautiful Oasis of Fint, a small paradise of vegetation in the middle of the arid hills that surround the city. The duration of the tour is half a day.

Or a full day off-road trip in the Dades valley. During the journey you can admire spectacular views, meet shepherds and see many Kasbahs, some abandoned others for sale.

How to reach us

The best way to reach Ouarzazate is by bus. There are buses from Marrakesh (cost 80 dirham) or from Inezgane, near Agadir (cost 120 dirham). If you want to reach Ouarzazate from Marrakech by taxi the cost is 100 dirhams per person.


One can also reach Ouarzazate by plane from Casablanca and Agadir, although there are not many flights to Ouarzazate airport.

There are also organized tours one or two days from Marrakech.

Accomodation

There are many hotels and hotels of all categories in the city. They offer good value for money, so it is advisable to book a high-end hotel.

Check availability and book a hotel in Ouarzazate

 

Ouarzazate in Morocco - Photo from Istock
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