Ait Ben Haddou

ait_ben_haddou_2

Aït Benhaddou is a fortified city along the former caravan route between the Sahara and Marrakech in present-day Morocco.

This giant fortification is a great example of earthen clay architecture.

Aït Benhaddou has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987 and many Hollywood films have been shot there, including:

Lawrence Of Arabia (1962)
Sodom And Gomorrah (1963)
Oedipus Rex (1967)
The Man Who Would Be King (1975)
The Message (1976)
Jesus of Nazareth (1977)
Time Bandits (1981)
Marco Polo (1982)
The Jewel of the Nile (1985)
The Living Daylights (1987)
The Last Temptation of Christ (1988)
The Sheltering Sky (1990)
Kundun (1997)
The Mummy (1999)
Gladiator (2000)
Alexander (2004)
Kingdom of Heaven (2005)
Babel (2006)
One Night with the King (2006)
Prince of Persia (2010)
Son of God, Game of Thrones (2014)

Ouarzazate

Taourirt_Kasbah_OuarzazateOuarzazate, or ‘The door of the desert’, is a city and capital of Ouarzazate Province in the Souss-Massa-Drâa of southern-central Morocco. Ouarzazate is at an elevation of 1,160 metres (3,810 ft) in the middle of a bare plateau south of the High Atlas Mountains. To the south of the town is the desert. For a long time, Ouarzazate was a small crossing point for African traders on their way to northern Morocco and Europe. During the French period, Ouarzazate expanded considerably as a garrison town, administrative centre and customs post.

The town is chiefly inhabited by Berber-speakers, who constructed many of the prominent kasbahs. Ouarzazate is an important holiday destination in Morocco, as a base for excursions across the Draa Valley and into the desert. The fortified village (ksar) of Ait Benhaddou west of the city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Ouarzazate area is a noted film-making location, with Morocco’s biggest studios inviting many international companies to work here. Films such as Lawrence of Arabia (1962), The Living Daylights (1987), The Last Temptation of Christ (1988), The Mummy (1999), Gladiator (2000), Kingdom of Heaven (2005), Kundun (1997), Legionnaire (1998), Hanna (2011), and Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (2011) were shot here, as was part of the TV series Game of Thrones.


Telouet

telouet2 Telouet is a Kasbah along the former route of the caravans from the Sahara over the Atlas Mountains to Marrakech. It lies at an elevation of 1,800 metres (5,900 ft) and was the seat of the El Glaoui family’s power.

It can still be visited but it is steadily becoming more damaged and is slowly collapsing. In 2010, work was underway to restore the property.

 

telouetAfter over half a century of decay this kasbah’s interior still stands out with its paintedsalon walls, the bright Zellij (tiles) and labyrinthoflocked doors with dangling silver knockers. The kasbah boasts iron window grilles and finelycarvedceilings decorated in a painterly fashion using Safron and Henna. All of the rooms that still remain include the harem, the kitchens, the cinema and roof top view which is a risky trek but enables you look down upon some of the old courts.


Fint

fintThe oasis of Fint is located only 10 km from Ouarzazate, but it lies in entirely different world. Peaceful Berber oasis tucked in a tiny valley with palm trees, rivers and beautiful rock formations.

 

 

 

 


Zagora

zagora2Zagora is a town in the valley of the Draa River in Souss-Massa-Drâa in southeastern Morocco, a popular tourist destination.

Each year the festival of the Sufi saint moulay Abdelkader Jilali is celebrated at Zagora. Languages spoken in the city include Moroccan Arabic, Tachelhit and Tamazight. A well known sign at the town border states “Tombouctou 52 days”, the supposed time it takes to get to Timbuktu, Mali on foot or camel.


Merzuga

MerzougaMerzouga is a village in the Sahara Desert in Morocco, on the edge of Erg Chebbi, a 50km long and 5km wide set of sand dunes that reach up to 350m high.

Most people are here to take a camel safari into the dunes, and to get a taste of remote Berber life.

Best time to visit Merzouga is February to April. Winter months are cool but sunny, with daily high temperatures slightly over 10 C but cold nights. Spring time is pleasant, with temperatures from 25 C up to 30 C in the afternoons, and with cool nights. Summer months are hot. In winter and spring there is occasional short rain or drizzle (a couple of days per month, on average), but heavy rain is unusual.


Tafraoute

TafraouteTafraout is a small town in Tiznit Province, Souss-Massa, Morocco with around 5000. It is located in the Anti-Atlas mountains in mid-southern Morocco.

Tiznit province is 78 km south of Agadir, connected by a major road. The roads to Tafraout are difficult to traverse – narrow, winding, and mountainous. But its scenery is exception.

 


Todra & Dades Gorges

todragorgeTodra and Dades Gorges are from two sister canyons in the eastern part of the High Atlas Mountains in Morocco, near the town of Tinerhir.

The last 600 m of the Todra gorge are the most spectacular. Here the canyon narrows to a flat stony track, in places as little as 10m wide, with sheer and smooth rock walls up to 160 m high on each side.

Nowadays, Todgha Gorge is popular among rock climbers. More than 150 routes rated French Grade 5+ to 8 have been bolted in the canyon.

Berbers built many kasbahs in vicinity of these two gorges with defence purposes. With the natural beauty of the place, this area is a must-see on your way to the Sahara.