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Discovering Ouarzazate with Greca: A Complete Guide to Your Holiday

July 10, 2024 10 min read.

General Information about Ouarzazate

Ouarzazate is a city located in southern Morocco and is known as the "the Door of the Desert". The city is famous for its breathtaking desert landscapes and is a must stop for those wishing to explore the Sahara Desert.

If you are planning a trip to Ouarzazate, don't miss the opportunity to visit the famous Atlas film studio, where movies such as "Gladiator" and "Kingdom of Heaven" have been filmed.

In addition, you can visit the Ksar of Ait Ben Hadu, an impressive adobe fortified complex that was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

The city also has a wide variety of restaurants and local craft stores, where you can sample delicious Moroccan cuisine and buy unique souvenirs.

Finally, don't miss the opportunity to see the views of the desert landscape from the nearby Dadès Gorge.

In short, traveling to Ouarzazate is a unique and unforgettable experience that will allow you to immerse yourself in Moroccan culture and explore some of the most breathtaking landscapes in the world, so don't hesitate and book your trip to this beautiful city now!

Ouarzazate Location

Where is Ouarzazate? Take a look at the interactive map and clear your doubts.

Map of Ouarzazate on Google Maps.

History of Ouarzazate

Ouarzazate has a rich history dating back to the time of the ancient Saharan trade routes. The city was an important crossing point for camel caravans carrying salt, gold and slaves from Africa to northern Morocco.

In the 1920s, Ouarzazate was chosen as an ideal location for film production due to its sunny climate and unique desert landscapes.

For decades, famous movies have been filmed in the city, such as "Lawrence of Arabia" and "Babel".

Today, Ouarzazate is a popular tourist destination that attracts visitors from all over the world. The city boasts impressive traditional architecture, including the Taourirt Kasbah and the Glaoui Palace, which date back to the 17th century.

In addition, the city is the ideal starting point for exploring the Sahara Desert and its surroundings.

Visitors can enjoy a camel ride through the sand dunes, explore the Dadès and Todra Gorges, or visit nearby Ait Ben Haddou, an impressive fortified town that has been used as a backdrop for numerous films.

Places to Visit in Ouarzazate

Ouarzazate is a city full of history and culture that offers a unique and unforgettable experience to visitors. Below, you can see the main places of interest to visit on your vacations in Morocco.

Ksar of Ait Ben Hadu: The Ksar of Ait Ben Hadu is an impressive and emblematic place in Morocco. This ancient fortified village, built in adobe, is located on a hill near Ouarzazate and has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Kasbah of Taourirt: this impressive 18th century fortress is one of the city's main tourist attractions. Visitors can explore its well-preserved courtyards, towers and rooms.

Dadès Gorges: these impressive rock gorges offer spectacular views of the landscape and are a popular place for hiking and biking.

Fint Oasis: this beautiful oasis is located just outside Ouarzazate and is a popular place for hiking and picnics.

Atlas movie studio: Ouarzazate is known as the "Hollywood of Morocco" and the Atlas movie studio is one of the largest and most famous in the city. Visitors can take a tour of famous movie sets and see how special effects are made.

Garden of the Kasbah of Tifoultoute: this beautiful garden is located on the outskirts of Ouarzazate and offers a breathtaking view of the city and the surrounding area.

What to Do around Ouarzazate

Ouarzazate is a popular tourist destination in Morocco, with many activities to do during your visit. Here are some of the most popular activities:

Explore the Ksar of Ait Ben Haddou: this impressive fortified village is one of Morocco's most iconic sites and a must-see in Ouarzazate.

Go on a desert safari: enjoy a camel ride in the desert dunes of Zagora or Merzouga and experience the nomadic life of the desert dwellers.

Visit the movie studios: Ouarzazate is known as the "Hollywood of Africa" for its movie studios, where many famous films and series have been shot.

Discover the Kasbah of Taourirt: an ancient fortress that was home to the Glaoui family, one of the most powerful in Morocco.

Visit Lake Mansour Ed Dahbi: a beautiful lake surrounded by mountains, ideal for water sports such as kayaking or paddle boarding.

Taste the local gastronomy: enjoy traditional dishes such as lamb tagine or chicken pastilla in local restaurants.

Visit the museum of cinematography: a museum that shows the history of cinema in Morocco and the importance of Ouarzazate in the film industry.

Camel rides: you can take camel rides in the desert and enjoy a different and fun experience.

Kart adventure: in Ouarzazate you will find several buggy rental companies which are perfect for touring the deserts around the city and enjoy a bit of adrenaline driving through the desert.

Traditional Ouarzazate Food

If you travel to Ouarzazate, you can't miss the opportunity to try the delicious traditional food of the region. Local cuisine is a combination of unique flavors and exotic aromas that will leave you wanting more.

The most well-known dish in Ouarzazate is the lamb tagine, slowly cooked in a clay pot with a mixture of spices and vegetables. The meat becomes tender and falls apart in your mouth, and the sauce is so flavorful that you'll want to dip your bread in it.

Another popular dish is the pastilla, a chicken pie with a mixture of spices and almonds, wrapped in puff pastry and sprinkled with powdered sugar. It's a unique combination of sweet and savory flavors that will surprise you.

Additionally, you can't miss the opportunity to try harira, a thick soup made with legumes and meat, and couscous, a dish of steamed semolina and vegetables.

Ouarzazate Events and Celebrations

In Ouarzazate, several events and festivals are held throughout the year that attract visitors from around the world.

One of the most important events is the Ouarzazate International Film Festival, held every year in April. During the festival, films from around the world are screened, and special events such as tributes to famous directors and actors are held.

Another popular event is the Rose Festival, held in May in the valleys near Ouarzazate. During the festival, the rose harvest is celebrated, and cultural and traditional shows such as dances and poetry contests are held.

In August, the Honey Festival is held in the village of Imintanout, near Ouarzazate. Local honey products are showcased during the festival, and musical and dance performances are held.

Ouarzazate, the “Hollywood of Africa”

Ouarzazate is known as the "Hollywood of Africa" due to its long history as a filming location for movies and TV series. The city has been the backdrop for many famous films such as "Gladiator," "Lawrence of Arabia," and "The Mummy."

The main reason why this city has become such a popular location for filmmaking is due to its unique desert landscape and ancient adobe fortifications. Additionally, the city boasts a sunny and warm climate all year round.

Ouarzazate also has high-quality film studios that offer complete production services, such as lighting and sound equipment, editing and post-production rooms, and everything needed to carry out an international-level production.

How to Get to Ouarzazate

There are several ways to get to Ouarzazate, one of the most fascinating cities in Morocco, each with its advantages and disadvantages.

Below, we will describe some of the most common options for getting to Ouarzazate:

By plane: Ouarzazate airport has air connections to cities such as Casablanca, Marrakech, and Agadir. Once at the airport, visitors can take a taxi or bus to get to the city center.

By bus: Ouarzazate has a bus station that connects the city with other Moroccan cities, such as Marrakech and Agadir. Visitors can take a bus from the bus stations in these cities to get to Ouarzazate.

By car: Visitors can rent a car and drive to Ouarzazate. The roads are well maintained and offer impressive views of the Atlas Mountains.

Enjoy an unforgettable vacation in Morocco with Greca's customizable packages.

How to Move around Ouarzazate

To move around Ouarzazate you have different options. You can rent a car or hire a taxi to travel comfortably and freely.

You can also use public transportation, which are mini-busses that run through the main routes of the city. For a more original and ecological experience, you can rent a bicycle and explore the streets in a more fun way.

If you prefer to walk, you should keep in mind that Ouarzazate is a small city and walking through its streets is a pleasant way to discover its charm and explore hidden corners. However, the climate in Ouarzazate can be very hot most days of the year, so you should prepare in advance and wear comfortable shoes for the occasion.

Cultural Aspects of Ouarzazate

Ouarzazate is a city rich in culture and traditions. The population is mostly Berber, which is reflected in their customs, language, and music.

The people are friendly and welcoming, and proud of their cultural heritage.

The city is known for its handicrafts, such as handmade carpets, ceramics, and silver jewelry made by skilled local artisans.

Islam is the predominant religion in Ouarzazate, so visitors should respect the customs and religious norms. The Taourirt Mosque is one of the most prominent and is a place of great importance for local Muslims.

Fridays are sacred days, so many businesses and tourist sites may be closed.

The traditional music of the region is ahwach, which is played with drums, flutes, and castanets. The annual Amazigh song festival is also famous, which celebrates Berber music and culture.

As for cuisine, local food is a delicious blend of Berber and Arab flavors, with dishes such as tajine, harira, and couscous.

In summary, Ouarzazate is a city with a rich cultural heritage and fascinating traditions. Visitors can learn a lot about local culture through its handicrafts, music, religion, and cuisine. It's important to respect local customs and norms to fully enjoy the unique cultural experience that Ouarzazate offers.

How Much Does It Cost to Travel to Ouarzazate?

Travel to Ouarzazate can have varied prices depending on multiple factors such as the time of year, the duration of your stay, the type of accommodation, and the transportation you choose.

The average price of a hotel in Ouarzazate ranges from 20-80 euros on average, but you can also find higher quality hotels for a more luxurious vacation.

Food prices are quite economical, and you can find menus starting from 5 euros for traditional Moroccan cuisine.

Public transportation is quite limited, but taxis are quite affordable, and prices usually range from 3-5 euros per trip within the city.

Regarding shopping, Ouarzazate is famous for its handicrafts, and a variety of decorative objects and souvenirs can be found at reasonable prices in the city's souks.

In general, you can enjoy a vacation in Ouarzazate with an average budget of 50-70 euros per day, including accommodation, food, transportation, and shopping.

How to get to Ouarzazate?

Ouarzazate can be reached by plane, by bus or by private car.

What is the best time to visit Ouarzazate?

The best time to visit Ouarzazate is between September and May, when temperatures are milder.

How many days are recommended to visit Ouarzazate?

We recommend at least two or three days to explore Ouarzazate and its surroundings.

What are the most popular tourist attractions in Ouarzazate?

The most popular tourist attractions in Ouarzazate are the Ksar of Ait Ben Haddou, the Atlas film studios, the Skoura palm grove, the cinema museum and the kasbah of Taourirt.

What activities can be done in Ouarzazate?

Activities to do in Ouarzazate include visiting the tourist attractions, taking a quad biking tour, camel trekking in the desert, visiting the local markets and enjoying the local cuisine.

Is it safe to travel to Ouarzazate?

Yes, Ouarzazate is a safe city to visit. However, it is always advisable to take normal precautions as in any other place in the world.

What kind of food can I try in Ouarzazate?

In Ouarzazate you can try traditional Moroccan food such as tajines, couscous, pastilla and harira, as well as local dishes such as dromedary tajine and Berber soup.

What is the climate like in Ouarzazate?

Ouarzazate's climate is typically desert, characterized by cool winters and very hot summers. During winters temperatures range between 10 and 20 degrees Celsius, and in summer temperatures can exceed 40 degrees Celsius.

What documentation do I need to enter Morocco?

To enter Morocco, you will need a valid passport, and depending on the country of origin, you may need a visa. From Greca, we recommend consulting with your embassy for relevant doubts.

What is the currency in Ouarzazate?

The official currency of Ouarzazate and Morocco is the Moroccan dirham (MAD).

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