Between Marrakech and Ouarzazate lies one of the most scenic routes in Morocco. It traverses the High Atlas mountains via the stunning Tizi n’ Tichka pass (2260m) and is possibly the most beautiful route in Morocco.
On this Marrakech day trip to Ait Benhaddou and Ouarzazate the first port of call is Telouet, a village on the ‘Route of the Caravans’ from the Sahara over the Atlas Mountains to Marrakech. Telouet has one of the most spectacular Kasbahs in the Atlas, which was once the palatial residence and headquarters of the powerful Glaoui tribe.
After Telouet, the tour takes a little used back road (weather permitting) to Aït Benhaddou, a ‘fortified city’, or ksar, located approximately 20km before Ouarzazate. It is situated on a hill along the Ounila River and is known for its kasbahs. Most of the town’s inhabitants now live in a more modern village at the other side of the river; however, ten families still live within the ksar. Aït Benhaddou has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987 and several major films have been shot there, including Gladiator and The Mummy.
The final stop on the tour is Kasbah Taourirt and Kasbah Tiffoultoute, the ancient residences of Glaoui (Old Pacha of Marrakech), in Ouarzazate. Ouarzazate is the gateway to the Sahara and lies in a valley at the foot of the Atlas Mountains.
Ouarzazate is also the film capital of Morocco, boasting one of the largest film studios in the world. Several historical movies were shot there, including Lawrence of Arabia, Asterix and Obelix, and Babel. The studios are open to the public.
07h00: Depart Marrakech
10h00: Arrive Telouet Kasbah. Visit the Kasbah and continue on to Ait Benhaddou
12h00 Guided visit of Ait Benhaddou; lunch at a restaurant overlooking the Ksar (lunch and guide included)
14h00 Depart Ait Benhaddou to Ouarzazate
14h30 Explore Taourirt Kasbah
16h00 Depart for return to Marrakech
19h00 Arrive in Marrakech
Journey time: approximately 3 1/2 hours each way
105€ pp (based on 2 passengers)
95€ pp (based on 3 passengers)
85€ pp (based on 4 passengers)