Ouarzazate, South Morocco and movies
Originally a Berber hamlet of the 17th century, perched on a small hill at 1105 m altitude, the village of Taourirt and its most famous kasbah are the geographic cradle of the current Ouarzazate.
The heart of the city, which dates back to the time of the protectorate, stretches from the bus station to the kasbah of Taourirt and articulates along the boulevards Mohammed V and Moulay Rachid where there are most services. Dominating the city, close to the historic center, Avenue Mansour Eddahbi hosts some great hotels.
The movies production industry occupies a primordial position in the economic landscape of Ouarzazate and its region. At the exit of the city, on the road toward Marrakech, the studios Cla and Atlas Corporation open their doors to the visitors, making discover some decors having served to the shoots of Astérix Mission Cleopatra, the Diamond of the Nile, the hill have eyes, Ben Hur, Kingdom of Heaven …
Ouarzazate, Town tour
Although Ouarzazate does not possess a vast historical heritage and just few museums, this city deserves however more than the simple role of city stage which is generally attributed to it.
From the authentic character of its souks, to the artificial decorations of its cinema studios, walks in the verdant palm grove to stroll through the labyrinth of pieces of the Kasbah Taourirt, Ouarzazate does not lack places to discover.
The palm grove of Ouarzazate extends from Lake Al Mansour to the outskirts of the studios on the other side of the city. It’s a patchwork of small farm plots lined with trails.
In full growth, Ouarzazate strives to meet the needs of the inhabitants of the city and tourists for the leisure. If it’s quite simple to find a restaurant in Ouarzazate, nightlife enthusiasts are less well off with the exception of a few hotel nightclubs.
Essentially focused on the discovery of the surrounding nature, the proposed leisure activities are often distinguished from excursions or bivouacs. Lovers of relaxation by the pool will also find their happiness.
Ideally located at the crossroads of the Ouarzazate and Dades’s valleys, the Ouarzazate tourist offices offer “à la carte tours” to explore the Atlas trails, the neighboring valleys and reach the dunes of erg Chebbi or erg Chegaga, ensuring a good organization.
Aït ben Haddou
At about thirty kilometers from Ouarzazate on the Tizi N’Tichka road towards Marrakesh, the ksar of Ait Ben Haddou, a seventeenth century old kasbah with a rich past, is a must visit.
Kasbah of Tifoultoute
At about fifteen kilometers on the road to Zagora, the kasbah of Tifoultoute and its incontestable sight on the valley of Ouarzazate’s oued worth the detour.
Oasis of Fint
More than a dozen kilometers away, do not miss the oasis of Fint, a veritable small lush enclave on the threshold of the Anti-Atlas.
About 40 km east of Ourzazate, Skoura is at the beginning of the road of the 1 000 kasbahs with its palm and its typical architecture of the South of Morocco.
The airport is only 2 km north of the city center.
There are 2 or 3 small souvenir shops and exchange services on the ground floor, as well as a bar-cafeteria on the first floor.
Taxis cost around 50 to 100Dh, and there are no bus shuttles.
From Paris, 3h10 flight, 4 direct flights per week. Tuesday: 14:10; Thursday and Saturday: 7.50 am; Sunday: 14:10.
From the main European and foreign capitals, a stopover in Casablanca or Marrakech is to be expected.
For Paris, 3h10 flight, 4 direct flights per week: Tuesday: 17h05; Thursday and Saturday: 11:10 am; Sunday: 16:25.
In order to reach the main European and foreign capitals, a stop in Casablanca or Marrakech is to be envisaged.
Bus station and large taxis in Ouarzazate
The bus station is located on Moulay Abdellah avenue at the western exit of Ouarzazate.
On the large parking facing the entrance large taxis are arranged according to their destinations and the small taxis are parked.
Supratours, Agency of Ouarzazate
Agency and departures: Tassomat Avenue. Open 7/7 7:30 – 12:30 and 16:00 – 21:30. Information: +212 (0)5 24 88 85 66.
CTM, Agency of Ouarzazate
Located at the bottom of Avenue Mohamed V, the agency is open every day from 7 to 22h. Information: 05 22 54 10 10.
em>* Please note that prices are increased by 10 to 20% during the Muslim religious celebrations, and from the end of June to the end of August.
Taxi prices toward nearby area
Price per passenger in a “6 passengers taxi + driver” …
Aït-Benhaddou – 25Dh; Oasis of Fint – 25Dh; Kasbah of Tifoultout – 15 Dh; Dam and Royal golf – 15Dh; Télouet – 60Dh.
Small taxis in Ouarzazate
The small taxis in Ouarzazate do not have a meter, but apply a fixed rate of 4 Dh per person during the day, rising to 5 DH from 8 pm.
For the airport, count 50 DH although it is 2 km from the city center.
To get to Tabount, small taxis can not get there, but the bus line 1 and the big taxis waiting a few meters from the Mouahidine square opposite the Mohamed V Avenue and serve Tabount, 4 Dhs per person and 5 Dhs from 8 pm.
3 lines serve the city
Departure to Place Mouahidine, go down Hassan II Avenue and cross the Oued Ouarzazate by the road from Zagora to the village Tiguemi Lajdid and passing by Tabount.
Cross the city by Boulevard Mohammed V from the panoramic point of view of Aït Qdif to the level of the lake Al Mansour Addabhi until the studios on the road of Marrakech. Every day from 7:30 am to 8 pm. 1 bus / 30min approximately. 2 Dh 50.
This is a secondary one with the panoramic viewpoint at Aït Qdif ascending, going up Avenue Al Maghrb Al Arabi and Boulevard Moulay Rachid and then descending Avenue Moulay Abdellah to the bus station and in the opposite direction.
4 departures per day: around 8am, 12pm, 2pm, and 6pm.
The center of Ouarzazate is located along the boulevard Mohammed V, the main artery of the city, where there are most services, travel agencies, car rental.
Place Mouahidine and the adjoining pedestrian streets shelter shops, pressings, restaurants as well as what remains of the covered little souk, wiped out by the flames in July 2012.
Have a drink in Ouarzazate
For drinks, the bars of large hotels open to non-residents also serve alcohol. Ouarzazate is not a nocturnal city; however some large hotels have cabarets open to all.
The star of the South is a cabaret near the Taourirt kasbah, it offers every evening a dance and singing show to a male clientele sipping rather beer than mint tea.
From the small tavern to the cozy restaurant, Moroccan or international cuisine, Ouarzazate offers an enough choice of restaurants to satisfy the varied appetites of travelers.
A day at the pool
Want a cool bath at the doors of the Moroccan South?
The municipal swimming pool of Ouarzazate is located down the street of the victory, it’s open only from June to the end of September.
Admission: 15 Dh for adults and 10 Dh for children (-12 years).
Hotels pools in Ouarzazate
Although few hotels allow access to their pool for non-residents, it’s possible to enjoy the one of the Ibis hotel (Av. Moulay Rachid). Admission: 50 Dh.
Regional Tourism Delegation
An office offers a few flyers, and a very friendly staff should answer your questions.
Av. Mohammed V, in front of the post office.Tel : 05 44 88 24 85. Open from Monday to Friday from 8:30 am to 4 pm.
Av. Mohammed V, a little further down the CTM agency, on the road to Zagora. As well as Boulevard Moulay Rachid, also have a “western union” service.
Mostly along Mohammed V Avenue, banks and their exchange services are generally open from Monday to Friday from 8:15 am to 3:45 pm, or from 9:30 am to 2 pm during Ramadan.
In case of foreign exchange needs outside the opening hours, the Banque Populaire’s cash machine also acts as a foreign exchange.
For mandates via Western Union, you wille find several agencies Avenue Mohammed V . Money Grams is located opposite the Banque Populaire, boulevard Moulay Rachid.
Health in Ouarzazate
Hospitals: State hospitals are cheap, but have limited means.
Hôpital Sidi Houcen, neighborhood of the same name, tel 05 24 88 21 22.
Bougafer Hospital, at the bottom of Mohamed V Avenue near the road to Zagora, Tel. 05 44 88 24 44
Chifa Clinic: The care offered at this private facility is more expensive, but the clinic has a good reputation.
Boulevard Moulay Rachid tel 05 24 88 52 76
Ambulances: 05 24 88 66 88.
Service stations on the outskirts of Ouarzazate and Avenue Mohamed V should be able to help you in case of small mechanical problems.
In the industrial area in the north west of Ouarzazate, the Rizk garage is well known to local drivers.
tel : 06 13 58 60 69.
Built in the early 1930s for the French soldiers families established in the region, the church, one of the few active in Morocco, is run by 4 Franciscan sisters of Mary.
The mass is celebrated on Sunday at 7 pm – 7 rue Da ou Gadim, in the center of Ouarzazate.
Hotels and B & Bs in Ouarzazate
The choice of accommodation in Ouarzazate is sufficiently developed to satisfy everyone’s wishes and budgets.
The cheap hotels are mostly located on Boulevard Mohammed V and in the vicinity of Mouahidine Square. The hotel complexes are grouped around Al Mansour Ad-Dahbi boulevard, and in its extension avenue Moulay Rachid. Outside the city, some campgrounds, guest houses and classified hotels in Tabount, road to Zagora.
The Ouarzazate cinema studios
With the series ‘Encountering …’ A guided tour of the scenes behind the scenes with Amine Tazi, Director of the Cinema Pole.
A very interesting and instructive retrospective of the history of this site full of potential for the development of the Moroccan cinematographic industry.
Ouarzazate in pictures
Documentary about the geographical and strategic position of this city with modern architecture. Next to it, the footprint of the past dominates the Taourirt Kasbah, the former home of the Glaoui, Pasha of Marrakech.
An enriching summary of the creation of Ouarzazate by the French army and cinematographic studios. A music that sticks well to words, sympathetic.
Discovery of Aït ben Haddou
Another episode of ‘Encountering …’ with Musatfa Naji, curator of the site. A very sympathetic explanation of the role of the old ksar on the caravan routes between the Moroccan North and the Sudan. But also the important one, the different communities that lived there and the renovation work in progress.
Ouarzazate – From 35 €
Ouarzazate – From 49 €
Ouarzazate – From 85 €
Ouarzazate – From 42 €
Ouarzazate – From 108 €
Ouarzazate – From 46 €