Ouarzazate (ورزازات) is a city in Morocco.
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.
- Inezgane(close to Agadir) twice a day, 120 dirhams, fixed price with CTM and a similar price with Supratours.
- As at 12th April 2009, the morning CTM bus from Inezgane departs at 09:30hrs.
- Marrakesh - There are two CTM buses a day (80 dirham), along with three local buses (also 80 dirham). You can also reserve a place in a grand taxi for around 100 per person.
Plane: Often two flights a day during the week from Casablanca, occasional flights to Agadir and other cities.
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.
- Machi Car Rental (Machi), Ouarzazate 45000 (No 13 Tabounte), ☎ , fax: , e-mail: / email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com. 9AM-8PM. DH300-600.
- Aït 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 impressive 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 an 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.
- Ecolodge Adventures, kasbah tawrirt bloc 2 nr 31, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Excursions and tours from Ouarzazate
- Ouarzazate Explorer, Lot du centre N 69, ☎ , 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, ☎ .
- Travel Exploration Morocco, 4 Lot El Hassania La Resistance, ☎ , 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.
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.
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.
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.
- La Gazelle. Clean, cheap hotel, safe parking in the courtyard, ATM just next door, bakery across the road. 156Dhm double room with hot shower.
- 1 Zaghro Hotel, 1.5 km sur la route de zagora, tabounte Ouarzazate, Ouarzazate, Morocco (From the airport or bus station you have to take a taxi (50 MAD/€5 during daytime or 100 MAD/€10 at night. At anytime you can have the hotel car to bring you to the hotel just call), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. It is located a bit far from the village but is neat and clean, has a restaurant and a pool to enjoy after some time in the desert. €7 to €20 per person with breakfast included.
- Hotel la Vallée (Hotel Ouarzazate), Km 1 route de Zagora, Taboute Ouarzazate Morocco (Located in Ouarzazate Tabounte district on the way to Zagora), ☎ . Offers accommodation, restaurant service, swimming pool, Moroccan caidal tent party lounge, tours and organized excursions in Morocco and 4wd / ATV adventure activities. Rooms decorated in traditional Moroccan style. 20 Euros to 30 Euros per person with breakfast and Dinner included.
- Hotel Royale. right in the centre, has ugly rooms (160 dh triple). It can get very cold in winter, and the street facing rooms are very noisy.
- Hotel Amlal (Hotel Ouarzazate), Rue du Marché Nº24-25 Centre Ville (Located on the town center, right in front of the big Somalian mosque), ☎ . Check-in: 11PM, check-out: 12PM. Simple and clean hotel located right on the town center. This is a nice cheap option and great quality price / facilities. All rooms have private bathrooms and tv. Breakfast served on downstairs restaurant. 1 person = 200 dirhams / 20 euros. 2 persons = 250 dirhams / 25 euros. 3 persons = 300 dirhams..
- Dar Rita (Riad Ouarzazate), Rue de la Mosquée 39 (Located inside Tassoumate old district on the entrance of Ouarzazate coming from Marrakech), ☎ . Check-in: 11PM, check-out: 12PM. New riad in Ouarzazate located on the typical district of Tassoumate near the river bank and palm trees. 7 Rooms with private bathroom, terrace tend, all amenities. Double room + breakfast + diner = 70 Euros.
- Hotel el Salam, Mohamed Ave. Hotel el Salam. 70 DH for single room with hot shower inside. Not bad for budget people, however cold in the night. 70.
- 2 Hotel Yasmina, Gorges Todra, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 300MAD.
- Dar Ahlam. 10-room hotel in Skoura, about 40 km from Ouarzazate. Expensive, but distinctive in every element: architecture, style, service, and food. They also have villas.
- I Roccha (Irocha), Tiseldey/Tisselday. Extremely friendly hosts and international mix of travellers. Quiet and relaxing place overseeing a valley in a small village of Tisselday. For New Year holidays, normally confirms booking only for those who visited previously (and hosts liked them).
- 3 Riad Ksar Ighnda (Ksar Ighnda), Douar Asfalou - Amerzane, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: email@example.com. On the edge of the desert, the Riad Ksar Ighnda opens its doors onto the Atlas Mountains. Authentic yet modern setting. ~100-240€.
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.
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.