Moroccan cities: Ouarzazate

In the series with Moroccan cities today we focus the spotlight on Ouarzazate

Ouarzazate is a city in southern Morocco in the region of Souss-Massa-Draâ. The city is located high in the Atlas mountains and is known as the door to the Sahara. The region of Ouarzazate is rich in culture and has amazing architecture.

Ouarzazate has a rich history and an infinite mountain and oasis-landscape. The city has about 98,500 inhabitants.



The city was once a crossroads for African traders who were on their way to the northern cities of Morocco and to Europe. Ouarzazate expanded considerably during the French domination itself as garrison town, administrative center, and customs post.

The name comes from a Berber phrase meaning "without noise" or "without confusion". It is the largest town in the Moroccan Sahara.




A trip to the el Mansour Eddahbi dam tour is definitely worth it. The reservoir serves as permanent irrigation of the surrounding palm groves and agricultural fields. The dam was built in 1972. In addition, the dam is a major source of electricity for the whole Valley area of Ouarzazate, nice to have a look.


Ouarzazate has a nice market, where prices have slightly higher than in the rest of Morocco. Ouarzazate is known for the beautiful pottery and the beautiful rugs that there also are sold, and also to the cultural wealth in General. Take a look at the market and experience the cultural richness of Ouarzazate.


In the city is a beautiful Kasbah, the Taourirt Kasbah (2 km), this is partly restored by Unesco. Do you like history than is definitely worth a visit.


Take a trip in the desert! This can be done on foot, by mountain bike or quad. You also have the possibility to rent mountain bikes, motorcycles and ATV's for a trip in the rock desert. There are also many travel agencies that can help you with tours in the region.


The settlement of Ait Ben Haddou is one of the best preserved examples of the Moroccan architecture from the 18th century. The kasbah is a medieval fortified city located along the Ouazazate River. The city is built on a hill and the buildings are built according to traditional North African techniques which only Earth and wood are used reinforced with walls and corner towers. You can walk up through the narrow alleys where the remains of an old Castle. Once at the top you have a great view from the kasbah on the desert and the mountains.

Don't forget to bring your camera to take great pictures of the wonderful surrounding area. AIT Ben Haddou is a Unesco World Heritage site.


The Dades Valley is located between the High Atlas and the Jbel Sarhro mountains. With fertile ground houses the Valley many traditional Berber villages. It has very beautiful landscapes which are accessible by winding mountain passes around the Valley. The deep valley in the Dades Valley runs the Dades Gorge, this was formed by the glacier rivers that ran from the Atlas mountains, the gap has on its deepest point cliffs of 300 meters. Recommended if you like peace and nature.


By the market to visit in Ouarzazate you will also see more next to shopping and learn about the daily life of the inhabitants. It is a typical local market that sells all kinds of food and home items. You can also find nice to Nice local handicrafts as souvenirs to buy.


The Jebel Saghro is between the Atlas mountains and the Sahara, near Ouarzazate. If you like mountain climbing and walking, this is an ideal place. You are walking through various places through small villages and high can climb mountains, you can admire different landscapes there. Before you start the long walk you should be prepared, any experience is a must. The walks can winter, this also applies to mountain climbing. There are possibilities to hire a guide.


In the Centre of Ouarzazate is the large central square with plenty of restaurants and shops. The square is particularly atmospheric at sunset, where you can enjoy a meal or a drink while you enjoy the exceptional views. Would you like to get to know the habits of the population, then walk once in the evening along the main square behind the Mohammad V square when many local residents come out for a walk. Children play soccer on the square and people go out to eat.


Plan an expedition to M'Hamid for a night in the Sahara. Do you like adventure and excitement, stay a night in the Sahara. It is an unforgettable experience and the most exciting part of your Moroccan adventure. Ourzazate is the last major city in the South where this easy and cheap to do. There are many agencies in the neighborhood that a trek like this.



Ouarzazate has due to its location in the atlas mountains a particular climate. Ouarzazate is 1160 m altitude at the junction of the Draa and the Dadesvallei at the foot of the Sahara. In the summer the mercury can sometimes amount to far above the 40 degrees while there in winter snow lies in the nearby mountain peaks and regularly freezes.

Are you looking for a holiday in the Sun and you can well against the heat than the summer months are ideal. Would you rather cool off and less warm weather, then the months of February, March and april here best suited for.



Ouarzazate has an airport, the Ouarzazate airport. The city has no railway station, but has a bus network and taxis. There are also plenty of opportunities to rent a car.

Morocco has so much beauty and features beautiful spots, more on this next week in the next city!

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