OUARZAZATE - THE HOLLYWOOD OF MOROCCO
Ouarzazate is located in the southern part of Morocco and it is also known as the Gateway to the Desert, it is a mandatory stop for those traveling to the Sahara Desert.
It is a medium-sized city located at the foot of the High Atlas Mountains. Until the 1920s it was a French garrison and administrative center.
Ouarzazate became famous thanks to the Atlas Corporation Studios and now it is know as the Hollywood of the desert. With grandiose sets set in the desert and wilderness, these film studios have been chosen for internationally renowned films (The Gladiator is one of them) and television series including Game of Thrones.
In Ouarzazate, like all the cities in Morocco, there is a big difference between the center and the suburbs. The center is very well maintained, tidy, clean with streets, sidewalks, banks and clubs. The suburbs, on the other hand, are just the opposite: ruined houses and dust everywhere.
Talking with shopkeepers, they told us that because of the pandemic and the movie theater crisis there are no more tourists. Years ago it was a very “lively” city with superstars filling hotels and restaurants.
OUARZAZATE - THE HOLLYWOOD OF MOROCCO - WHAT TO SEE
Ouarzazate does not offer particular attractions except for the kasbah of Taourirt, which is one of the most beautiful in Morocco.
We did not have much time to visit the kasbah, so we only looked at it from outside; I think it is very beautiful at the inside.
You do not miss Ait Ben Haddou, an hidden gem. It is a fortified city called Ksar. It was built on a hill over the banks of the (dry) Pued Ounilla River. It has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Amridil is a very beautiful kasbah located 30 kilometers, more or less, from Ouarzazate, in the village of Skoura. It is perhaps the most famous in Morocco as it was pictured on the old 50 Dirhams bill and was also chosen as the setting for the Lawrence of Arabia film.
Mohammed Nassiri Skouri built Amridil Kasbah in the late 17th century. It is well preserved, if you are a lover of photography you can take beautiful pictures here.
It is not much frequented by mass tourism, you will probably be the only visitors.
OUARZAZATE - THE HOLLYWOOD OF MOROCCO - WHAT TO STAY
We stayed in a beautiful place: Ecolodge l’ile de Ouarzazate, It is located a bit outside the town center and is nestled in the middle of nowhere. The rooms are all Moroccan style and overlook a manicured garden. There is a swimming pool in the garden, great for warmer days.
It is possible to dine in the lodge; we spent 13 euros each. Dinner includes typical Moroccan dishes like soup and tajina.
The breakfast was serve in the garden and it is very good and also excellent and abundant.
If you are looking for an hotel, please use the map below, there are accomodation of all prices.