The southern Moroccan town of Ouarzazate is particularly well situated, providing a crossroads between the major route from Marrakech (over the High Atlas), and onwards to the Draa Valley and Zagora (and the Sahara) or Tinerhir and the Dades Valley.
The town lies 204 km southeast of Marrakech, across the High Atlas mountains and along a good surfaced twin-lane road. The drive takes around 3.5 hours (depending on stops en route).
It is growing in popularity as a destination in its own right with a growing range of activity pursuits and quality accommodation, and some interesting attractions nearby. The town also has a good range of amenities and services.
Strategically built at the merger of three rivers, the town has a longstanding military presence. It is now the home to one of the largest movie studios in the world where several historical movies have been set, recently including “Gladiator”, “Alexander” and “Kingdom of Heaven”.
Visit the Taourirt Kasbah, a village within the town which has maintained its unique Berber atmosphere as well as the Ksar of Aït Benhaddou. The most popular attraction, just out of town, is the Atlas Corporation Film Studios – where a guided tour reveals some of the best, though fading, sets.
Ouarzazate is a starting point for hikes, 4WD trips, quad biking, horse-riding, mountain biking adventures or camel treks in some wonderful landscapes.