Ouarzazate

Ouarzazate (ورزازات) is a city in Morocco.

Understand

Old housing around kasbah

Ouarzazate is relatively small (~60 000 inhabitants) 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.

Get in

Buses from:

As at 12th April 2009, the morning CTM bus from Inezgane departs at 09:30hrs.

Plane: Often two flights a day during the week from Casablanca, occasional flights to Agadir and other cities.

Get around

The area around Mohammad V is very walkable. The CTM station is there as well. Petits taxis for within the city (no more than 10Dh from the airport to the hotel), grands taxis for between cities (no more than 150Dh to Ait Benhaddou and back...though you can probably get it lower), including to Ait Benhaddou and surrounding Kasbahs.

Don't be surprised if during a local taxi ride the driver requests you to "transfer taxis" or has "a friend to pick up on the way." When this happens, a friendly English (or other language) speaking person will start pitching you outings, most of them to Erg Chebbi near Merzouga or Zagora. If you are not interested, just politely tell them so, but if you are, you can negotiate a reasonable price with them.

Car rental

See

Kasbah Taourirt in Ourzazate
Egyptan decoration at Atlas Studios
Kashba near Skoura

Do

Tours

Buy

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.

Eat

Plenty of cheap restaurants along Mohammad V street and in central square near market. Normal price for tagine should be about 30Dh.

Drink

Bottled water is cheap (5Dh) and widely available.

Sleep

Plenty of hotels of all ranges around town. Ask a cabby to bring you to one, but realize he'll pocket commission for bringing you there.

Nearby

Stay safe

Ouarzazate is very safe, but don't wander into weird corners at night. Crime throughout the Moroccan south is minimal, but it's best not to take (too many) chances.

Go next

Drive further through Zagora to M'Hamid for trips in the desert by camels, 4x4 or quad bikes.

There is a bus line which runs from Ouarzazate to Er Rachida, a mid-sized administrative town which can be a good launching pad for Merzouga and the desert. Touts will join the bus at stops along the way and try to lever you into going on a 'discounted' desert tour. They are persistent and will ask you about yourself. Claiming to be a 'veteran' of Saharan travel (perhaps more convincing if you can speak French) and already booked into a hotel at your destination may help convince them to let you be.

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Thursday, October 16, 2014. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.