Located at the edge of the High Atlas mountains, and at the beginning of the Moroccan desert, Ouarzazate whose name literally means “noiseless” in Berber is a small, calm garrison town established around the 16th century as a crossing point for African traders on their way to northern Morocco and Europe. Ouarzazate developed exponentially during the french protectorate, Ouarzazate is the home of the fortified residential complex Kasbah Taourirt which was owned by Winston Churchill’s friend lord of the Atlas Caid T’hami El Glaoui, The field guns displayed outside it were used to take over the Kasbah and display dominance.
Ouarzazate is known for its hot summers and dry cold winters. However, the weather is lovely in spring and fall. Ouarzazate is a small town but has a lot to offer either in the city center itself or the surroundings as we will explore in this Article the most interesting things to do in Ouarzazate, Morocco.
Visit Kasbah Taourirt and its surrounding museums.
Kasbah Taourirt has been built in the 17th century by a local powerful family, T’hami El Glaoui took over the Kasbah in the 19th century, the Kasbah displays beautiful Berber architecture and mosaics. Besides the Kasbah, there are cinema and photography museums which you can check out if you are a cinephile, the museum shows the development of cinema culture in Ouarzazate through the years and displays various artifacts from previous famous pictures and movies shot in Ouarzazate.
Kasbah Ait Benhaddou.
The Kasbah is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its location is on the slopes of a small hill beside a river called Ounila, the Kasbah’s building material is ancient techniques, rammed earth, and adobe, which brings up the need for restoration and preservation. Restoration and renovation were done in modern times prior to its inscription on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in 1987 and since the site was used in various Hollywood blockbusters such as Game of Thrones and Gladiator.
The Atlas Film Studios are the largest film studios in the world that cover an area of more than 322,000 sq. ft. They were named after the Atlas Mountains the edge of which the studios are located, the studios feature many artifacts and decors from previous Hollywood motion pictures shit here, as well as entire environments dedicated to shooting films such as pyramids depicting ancient Egypt, castles where Gladiator and Game of Thrones were shot and many more. The studios have produced some of the most famous films of all time like Lawrence of Arabia, The Mummy, The Last Temptation of Christ, Kingdom of Heaven, part of the Games of Thrones TV series, Gladiator, Prison Break, and many more.
Oasis de Fint in the middle of Ouarzazate .
Oasis of Fint is a small heavenly oasis in the middle of Ouarzazate’s desertic environment, chilling in this oasis gives you the feeling of a sea pirate who just found an island after being stranded on the sea. To get there Cross the river into Tabount, then take the road towards Agadir.
It is located on the same road as the previously mentioned Atlas Studios just half a mile on the road to Marrakesh, CLA has the Jerusalem set from “Kingdom of Heaven,” and a host of props and many more cinema’s artifacts.
The Ouarzazate’s local Souk.
Ouarzazate’s souk is a very diverse market, it contains several Moroccan traditional artifacts, mainly has what Ouarzazate is most famous for, traditional hand-made carpets of all kinds and colors, Ouarzazate has also a traditional carpets museum which you can check out to discover several models and colors of the Moroccan traditional carpet and the best of what Moroccan artists can create.
A night in the Desert at M’hammid El Ghzlan
If you came to visit Ouarzazate, one of the most memorable things you can do is plan to stay a night at M’hammid El Ghzlan. although they are a bit far from Ouarzazate (around 3 hours of the road towards the desert). M’hammid El Ghzlan is a desertic oasis town in which agencies organize quad tours during the day and expeditions and camping at the night. a night in the desert can truly be majestic as you can feel a unique calm and. The lack of lighting pollution allows you to wonder at the beauty of our milky way galaxy as it is clearly visible at night.
Quadding around Ouarzazate.
once you’ve gone bored of all the sightseeing around the city, which I’m sure you won’t. many quad companies around the city provide tours in quads. These tours are so fun, you can showcase your driving skills in the desert with friends and family and even race each other, you can use these quads to tour around the studios we already mentioned and old movie sets in the desert.
The Abandoned “Hills Have Eyes” movie set
The Abandoned movie set is located around 30 km on the road of Agadir. If you are going down this road, I recommend that you check it out, it gives you the vibes of a texas gas station and you’re on the legendary road 66, It also hits different if you have watched the movie. There is really nothing to do there except seeing this old movie set and taking memorable pictures.
Ouarzazate is a beautiful calm town, there are many beautiful sights in the surroundings that it’s impossible to get bored here, planning a visit here is something you can’t regret.
We are a couple of young Moroccan travelers who met at the university and share a passion for traveling and exploring, we visited many amazing and charming places all over Morocco. Our names are Adil and Nabil, Adil lives in the town of El Jadida but he is originally from the northern province of Taounat hence his knowledge of northern provinces, Nabil lives in Ouarzazate and originally from Errachidia and knows all about southern provinces and together we complete each other regarding our knowledge of tourism spots in Morocco that’s why we created this blog to share with you dear visitors our tips and knowledge of beautiful and amazing tourism spots in Morocco if you’re willing to visit.