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Ouarzazate (ورزازات) is a city in Morocco.
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Points of Interest in Ouarzazate
- Ait Benhaddou - one of the best preserved Kasbahs. It has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Taxi can take you to Ait Benhaddou for 300 dirhams, however you can haggle (we managed to get to 220 after some serious effort), driver will wait couple of hours. Very picturesque place, lots of movies were shot there (Gladiator). 10 dirham to visit kasbahs. You don't need a guide, but locals will follow you pretending to help and at the end will ask for money. Careful not to get too wet from the river when crossing it, since there's been reports of Schistosomiasis contracted from the water.
- Walk along the central square behind Muhammad V at night when everyone comes out. The kids go out to play football on the square, people go eat and socialize, and you'll get a feel for the community just walking around.
- Go to Atlas Studios. It lies about ~ 4km from town center. Entrance ticket is 50 dirhams. Films such as Asterix & Obelix: Mission Cleopatra, Lawrence of Arabia, The Man Who Would Be King, Cleopatra, Kundun, Gladiator, The Living Daylights and Alexander, Kingdom of Heaven and Babel were shot there. Most of movie decorations are a bitt crumbled, but egyptan decorations is still impresive but in very poor condition, left to rotten unfortunately, a shame.
- Plan an expedition out to M'Hamid. A night in the Sahara is unforgettable and can be the best part of your Moroccan adventure. Ourzazate is the last big town in the south where this is easy and cheap to do. There are lots of agencies around that can arrange a trek like this, though this is the more expensive way to do it. A cheaper way, if you don't mind worrying about a few details, is to rent a car, go out there yourself, and negotiate an overnight in the desert with a Merzougan auberge (most of them offer overnights in the desert). Renting a car and driving the way is relatively easy if you drive a stick. The roads out that way are very good and easy to navigate. The overnight in the Dunes should only cost about 300-400Dh. A grand taxi will also take you out that way and back for 150-200Dh. Everything out here is negotiable, so shop around for the best price.
- CLA Studios. CLA Studios aka Dino de Laurentis Cinecitta Studios, is along the same road as Atlas Studios about a kilometer closer to Marrakech. If you have to go to only one of the two studios, this is the one to go to. The Atlas Studios tour is mosly TV movies and The Mummy Returns remake. The sets are unconvincing in person. CLA, on the other hand, has the Jerusalem set from "Kingdom of Heaven," which looks real in person, and a host of great props. 100Dh.
- Make a half-day trip to beautiful Oasis de Fint. A small paradise of vegetation in the midst of the dry hills surrounding Ouazarzate. Cross the river into Tabount, then take the road direction Agadir. After ca. 1 km there is a signpost, from here it is ca. 10km by mostly unpaved roads. At the Oasis there is a auberge with restaurant. You can get there by car, taxi or rent a bike in Tabount.
- Local agencies also offer trips to mountain Valley of Dadès. Be prepared to negotiate hard; otherwise, they will rip you off! Plan a full day tour by 4WD jeep. Make a shortcut off-road in order to avoid a part of the paved N10. The views are spectacular and you have a great chance to meet shepherds (often young girls) with their herd. In the area are many Kasbah's, some inhabited, some abandoned. Don't be surprised if you see a for-sale sign on an abandoned Kasbah.
Popular events in Ouarzazate in the near future
Ouarzazate is relatively small (~60 000 inhabitans) and for Morocco quiet town, built mostly along main street - Avenue Muhammed V. Ouarzazate is situated at an elevation of 1,135 metres. Its name comes from a Berber phrase meaning "without noise" or "without confusion". Once in its history, Ouarzazate had been crossing point for African traders seeking to reach northern cities in Morocco and Europe. During the French period, Ouarzazate expanded considerably as a garrison town and administrative centre. It is largest town in saharan Morocco.
- Travel Exploration Morocco, 4 Lot El Hassania La Resistance, ☎ 212-66148996, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. A Ouarzazate based travel agency that offers a variety of 4x4 Circuits to the Sahara Desert. 5% of all proceeds are donated to assist families in Berber villages.
- Ouarzazate Explorer, Lot du centre N 69, ☎ +212670719027, e-mail: email@example.com. 24. Expeditions to the heart of the desert of the south of Morocco, and to the mountains of the Atlas and the gorges of Toudgha and Dades with their canyons. Camel rides and bivouac nights. Camel meharees.
- Transport Tifinagh (Transport Tifinagh), N° 06, Rue Mansour Eddahbi, ☎ 00212 (0) 524 88 64 51.
Plenty of cheap restaurants along Mohammad V street and in central square near market. Normal price for tagine should be about 30Dh.
Bottled water is cheap (5Dh) and widely available.
Whatever you buy, it is likely you won't find it cheaper in Marrakech or Fes. Realize everything is negotiable! In Ouarzazate, there is souk, some local stores. At the towns center, there two western like shops with fixed (but pretty high) prices, but at these you can by alcohol including Judeo-Berber vodka and local wine.
This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Ouarzazate on Wikivoyage.