Day trip from Marrakech to Ouarzazate and Ait Ben Haddou Overview
This full-day tour from Marrakech to Ouarzazate and Ait ben Haddou Kasbah is suitable for people who cannot live without the tranquility at some point, but want to take a peek at the majestic desert of Morocco . Visit this UNESCO World Heritage Site which was a perfect location for several Hollywood blockbusters.
Travel the High Atlas Mountains in a comfortable 4×4 or minibus following traditional caravan routes and pass a series of lush oases, spectacular kasbahs, and fortified imperial villages. Marvel at one of the cultural treasures of the world listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and therefore the backdrop for many Hollywood films, the fortified Kasbah of Ait Ben Haddou.
Visit the awe-inspiring Taourirt Kasbah in Ouarzazate which is a historic fortified residence, once there you can test your camel riding skills at a laughter festival and show yourself the important Moroccan hospitality of the desert (not included in the price).
Discover the great scenic beauty of the High Atlas Mountains on a day trip from Marrakech to Ait Ben Haddou.
Ouarzazate nicknamed The door of the desert, is a city and capital of Ouarzazate Province in the Drâa-Tafilalet region of south-central Morocco. Ouarzazate is at an elevation of 1,160 meters (3,810 ft) in the middle of a bare plateau south of the High Atlas Mountains, with a desert to the city’s south.
Berber-speakers make up the majority of the town’s inhabitants, who were responsible for the creation of many of the prominent kasbahs. Ouarzazate is a primary tourist destination in Morocco for holidays, as well as a starting point for excursions into and across the Draa Valley and the desert. Aït Benhaddou (a fortified village) west of the city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Ouarzazate area is a noted film-making location, with Morocco’s biggest studios inviting many international companies to work here. Films such as Lawrence of Arabia (1962), The Man Who Would Be King (1975), The Living Daylights (1987), The Last Temptation of Christ (1988), The Mummy (1999), Gladiator (2000), Kingdom of Heaven (2005), Kundun (1997), Legionnaire (1998), Hanna (2011), The Hills Have Eyes (2006), and Salmon Fishing in Yemen (2011) were shot here, as was part of the TV series Game of Thrones.
The nearby Ouarzazate solar power station, co-funded by the Arab League, was connected to the Moroccan power grid in February 2016.
Ait Ben Haddou Kasbah
The site of the ksar has been fortified since the 11th century during the Almoravid period. None of the current buildings are believed to date from before the 17th century, but they were likely built with the same construction methods and designs as had been used for centuries before. The site’s strategic importance was due to its location in the Ounila Valley along with one of the main trans-Saharan trade routes. The Tizi n’Tichka pass, which was reached via this route, was one of the few routes across the Atlas Mountains, crossing between Marrakech and the Draa Valley on the edge of the Sahara. Other kasbahs and ksour were located all along this route, such as the nearby Tamdaght to the north.
Today, the ksar itself is only sparsely inhabited by several families. The depopulation over time is a result of the valley’s loss of strategic importance in the 20th century. Most local inhabitants now live in modern dwellings in the village on the other side of the river, and make a living off agriculture and especially off the tourist trade.
Ait Ben Haddou & Ouarzazate day trip from Marrakech Highlights:
- Drive across the High Atlas Mountains
- Enjoy the scenery of snow-capped Atlas peaks and Tizi Ntichka Pass
- Explore the Berber fortified village of Kasbah Ait Ben Hadou
- Visit Ouarzazate and its film studios
- Duration: 1 day
- Departure time: 8 / 8:30 am
- Starting point: Your hotel/riad in Marrakech
- Ending point: Your hotel/riad in Marrakech
- Price: Depending on how many people are at the trip
Itinerary of Day trip from Marrakech to Ouarzazate & Ait Benhaddou Kasbah
We will begin our full-Day Tour from Marrakech to Ait Ben haddou and Ouarzazate at 8 am, traveling in the direction of Ouarzazate. Along the way, enjoy the spectacular views that the valleys of the area provide, and visit Berber villages engaged in the sale of semi-precious stones. As we move southwards, the mountainous landscape transforms into a Marrakech semi-desert. In this area, we will visit the famous Kasbah, and discover typical small houses constructed with mud and straw.
Arriving at Ouarzazate, we will visit the former residence of the Pacha El Glaoui, the Taourirt kasbah, and the kasbah of Ait Ben Haddou declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the best-preserved fortified cities in the country. Its unique architecture and environment have made it the ideal filming choice for many film and series production filming. Some of the movies and TV shows in which we have viewed this fantastic kasbah include Gladiator, Kingdom of Heaven, Babel, Prince of Persia, The Mummy, and, of course, Game of Thrones (it is the city that Daenerys Targaryan releases in the last chapter of the 3rd season).
Also, to complement this Marrakech to Ait Ben Haddou tour, we will visit the Atlas Films Studios, where many scenes of the movies mentioned have been recorded. Thus, we will have the opportunity to discover the cinematic importance of this area of the country. Entry to the kasbah is free, but if you want to explore it with a guide, you must pay them separately at the time (about € 2 per person).
What's included: in day trip from Marrakech to Ouarzazate
What's not included: in day trip from Marrakech to Ouarzazate
NOTE: If this day trip from Marrakech to Ouarzazate and Ait Ben Haddou does not match what you’re looking for, don’t hesitate to Contact us and we will prepare the trip to your needs and requirements.
Day trip from marrakech to Ait Benhaddou & Ouarzazate Reviews
Unforgettable day trip from Marrakech to Ait ben Haddou and Ouarzazate
If you are a Game of Thrones fan … this place is a must see! The trip to Ouarzazate and Ait Ben Haddou was worth the long drive. Four hours on the road may seem like an eternity, but Hassan makes the ride enjoyable and comfortable! He picked me up from my Riad by the time the trip starts at 7am and we started the journey through the High Atlas Mountains, making short stops for photos and tea / coffee. Hassan is friendly and very professional, and his knowledge and passion for his country is impressive! We talk about culture, politics, history and his beginnings in tourism. I got to know Hassan not only as a guide / driver, but also as a friend. The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ait Ben Haddou is beautiful beyond words, I wanted to travel back in time! The Kasbah of Taourirt is also a wonderful place to visit, as well as the Atlas Studios where movies like The Mummy, The Passion of the Christ and The Prince of Persia have been shot, to name a few. On the way back we stopped for a drink with a view of the mountains and Abdul showed me how Moroccans drink mint tea from him and introduced me to eat cactus or tunas as they call it. I returned to my Riad around 8 p.m., tired but satisfied. Hassan is an excellent and safe driver, and his truck is comfortable and well-maintained. I recommend it to anyone who is thinking of traveling to Marrakech. Thank you Hassan for making my trip memorable!
Best Morocco Tours Company
Our guide / driver said, it was a real gem! His English was excellent, he drove very carefully, his photography skills were impressive and he engaged us in a fascinating conversation. We have learned a lot about the history, culture, government, economy and nature of Morocco. The SUV was new, spacious, comfortable, and air-conditioned.
We had a great time in the beautiful Morocco with its varied landscapes, nature and rich culture, we stopped at charming riads, hotels, desert tents, local restaurants and we customized the tour, with many activities, camel trekking in Merzouga, mountain biking in the sand dunes. , guided walking tours in the old medinas of Tangier, Assilah, Fès, Chefchaoune, Ait Ben Haddou, Essaouira, Marrakech, also discovery of the Ouzoud waterfalls and experienced zip lines, addicted park, paragliding …
It’s an unbeatable value with the potential for customization. I highly recommend experiencing this travel agency as it is a truly unique way to see so much in Morocco.
Full day Trip Marrakech to Ait ben Haddou
We had a great day with Hassan, it was a long day but it was worth it. We drove through the High Atlas Mountains, stopping at scenic spots for photos and a nice coffee at a small cafe, the largely treeless Red Mountains opening up to a reddish, stony desert, c It was like visiting another planet, the only greens that could be seen where the river plains were fed by the water coming out of the mountains. We visited Ouarzazate, where we visited a 17th century palace and film studio where they filmed scenes from “Gladiator”, “Romancing the Stone” and more. Then we visit the ancient Berber town of “Ait Ben Haddou”, which is located on a hill overlooking the valley, for me it was a real highlight. Hassan was a great host for the day and went out of his way to provide us with a truly inspiring day.
Fantastic Day trip from Marrakech
So pick this one! This visit to the city of Ouarzazate, to the Kasbah of Taourirt, to the Atlas Studios, then to the Kasbah of Ait Ben Haddou through the High Atlas Mountains and the Berber villages offered magnificent landscapes with many photo opportunities. This long journey starts at 7 am and we return around 12 hours later crossing winding roads, so be careful if you have seasickness issues. However, our guide Said was very considerate and frequently stopped the van to get some fresh air and rest without my asking. I feel like we spent too much time at Atlas Studios on a tour that didn’t provide much information and was conducted in two languages as only half of the group spoke English. Ait Ben Haddou is beautiful but it was very hot and the climb to the top of the city was worth tiring a bit. One thing I did not like about our lunch break at Ait Ben Haddou, which was quite a touristy place and the waiter would not allow us to order a la carte even though a table next door could. As such it was our most expensive lunch in Morocco and our worst meal in Morocco. Fortunately, the scenery, sightseeing, and conversations with Said made up for this lackluster lunch experience. If you only have time for a day trip from Marrakech, definitely take this one as it is an incredibly informative and incredibly beautiful tour to Ait Ben Haddou.