Tizi n’ Tichka, from Marrakesh to Ouarzazate
The road that passes through one of the highest road passes in Morocco at 2260 m, the Tizi n’Tichka, links Marrakesh to Ouarzazate and the Saharan oases.
As the narrow road rises in tight bends among oaks, walnut trees and oleander groves, the landscape changes into vertiginous contrasts and panoramic viewpoints along the route are sublime.
The horizon is on the left on the Jebel Tistouit massif. Shortly afterwards, as soon as you cross the pass below, you can see in a circus of majestic inhabited walls, the small village of Arhbalou and its kasbah in ochre adobe.
The flanks of this part of the Atlas are fed on pines, eucalyptus, small palm trees and broom. Going down the pass, you can see the village of Toufliat, known for its delicious white morels, picked up when the snow melts.
Passed the villages of Taddert 1 and 2, separated by barely 1 km where restaurants and grills line up, the road climbs in tight bends to cross the Tichka pass at 2 260 m from where 2 possibilities of travel are offered to us:
-The bifurcation on the left leads to the village of Telouet, a village where the impressive Kasbah of Glaoui, which was certainly devastated, is located, but some of the pieces of which are spared testify to the enlightened art of the Jewish, Arab and Berber master builders. Artisans to whom the Pasha of Marrakesh often called upon by abusing his power of yesteryear.
Beyond Telouet, through the oases that punctuate the narrow valley, we discover some ancient villages with abandoned kasbahs. The road runs along the wadi Melah to the famous ksar of Aït ben Haddou, classified cultural heritage by UNESCO. We reach the main road 9 km further down which leads to Ouarzazate.
-Otherwise, continuing along the initial route, the descent gradually crosses plains and rocky peaks to the village of Irherm-n-Ougdal at an altitude of 1970 m, dominated by a kasbah granary-fortress, which was restored by a German association.
Further down, we reach the ksar of Tadoula at the edge of a charming palm grove. Continuing in this direction, between the Iflilt ksar and Kasbah of Tiseldei, a road on the right provides access to the Imini mines, an important manganese deposit. At the exit of Agouim, wide view, on the right, on some high peaks of the Atlas.
Finally the Atlas is crossed and the few kilometers separating it from Ouarzazate are done in thick fringes of arid plateaus. At the crossing of a small pass, left point of view on the oasis and Tikirt ksour, at the confluence of the wadis Melha and Imini, turning the back to the volcanic mass of Jbel Siroua.
Tizi n’Tichka practical
The only access point between Marrakesh and Ouarzazate, the Tizi n’Tichka road, 200 km, is congested with buses and trucks commuting between the two cities.
All along the way, relaxing breaks with grills and tajines to satisfy appetites will be offered to you in particular at the 2 villages of Taddert halfway between where many small and simple stalls serve excellent grilled skewers or copious tajines with a good value for money.
Gasoline: The last gas stations are located at the entrances to the High Atlas. Remember to refuel before you take the Tizi n’Tichka road. Count three and a half hours without breaks.