The capital of the Moroccan film industry, Ouarzazate, it is not by chance that it has a second unofficial name – Wallywood: the number of films shot here exceeds fifty. Ouarzazate owes such close attention to filmmakers for its both medieval and futuristic appearance – the local medina, with its ancient fortress walls of ocher-brick light, seems to have been transferred here straight from One Thousand and One Nights. Against the backdrop of the landscapes of Ouarzazate, the actions of Lawrence of Arabia and Asterix and Obelix unfolded, a gladiator Russell Crowe wandered here and the restless Cleopatra had fun. Well, in recent film history, Ouarzazate was featured in the mega-popular Game of Thrones saga. For Morocco climate and geography, please check TopPharmacySchools.
How to get to Ouarzazate
As elsewhere in Morocco, the most convenient way to get to Ouarzazate is by bus or minibus “gran taxi”. Traveling by bus from Marrakech will take 4-5 hours and will cost from 75 MAD. Six buses depart a day – three state-owned, CTM, and three regional. “Gran Taxi” will take you faster and will cost about 220 MAD per person, but they do not have a schedule – you have to wait until all the seats are filled. The path is unusually picturesque – the road passes through the passes of the Atlas Mountains.
Buses and minibuses from Agadir reach Ouarzazate in about 6.5 hours, the fare is from 175 MAD. The journey from Casablanca will take at least 7.5 hours and will lighten the wallet by 185 MAD.
You can also arrive in Ouarzazate on an Air Maroc domestic flight from Casablanca (two flights daily), a ticket will cost approximately 400 MAD. Planes arrive at Ouarzazate Taourirt Airport, located 2 km from the city.
The prices on the page are for December 2021.
Transport in the city
You can walk along the central streets of Ouarzazate – Mohammed V Avenue and the adjacent ones, as the sidewalks are quite wide and comfortable. Otherwise, it is recommended to use local taxis (red). At the same time, you should be prepared to pick up other passengers.
The main attraction of Ouarzazate is the medieval kasbah Taurirt, included in the UNESCO List.
Ouarzazate benefits greatly from its wild but pretty beauty – there are a large number of hotels, mostly modest, ready to accommodate a tourist fascinated by the Arab-African exoticism. The cost of accommodation per person per night – from 300 MAD.
To feel like a resident of Ouarzazate “with immersion”, you should stay in a traditional riad hotel – a 2-3-story building, the windows and doors of which open onto a courtyard, usually with fruit trees and a fountain.
Cuisine and restaurants
Restaurants, cafes and all kinds of eateries in Ouarzazate are more than enough – from eateries such as “working noon” to pompous “three-fork” gastronomic palaces overlooking the medina and the Atlas Mountains.
You can have a snack during the day with shawarma, sandwiches and pizza; for a more consistent lunch, you should prefer tajine or couscous. Democratic restaurants cluster on both sides of Mohammed V Avenue and serve an excellent tajine for about 50 MAD. Many eateries are also found in the central square of Ouarzazate, next to the city market. You can spend an unforgettable evening by candlelight in the Douyria restaurant overlooking the ancient Kasbah, and try French cuisine in the Major Accord (Accord Majeur) or Sandy Kasbah (La Kasbah des Sables).
Shopping and shops
Dozens of souvenir shops will meet you on Mohammed V Avenue and the central square of Ouarzazate, as well as in the old town and at the foot of the Kasbah. Popular gizmos are painted plaster copies of the kasbah, henna-painted pottery, straw mats with Berber symbols, and home carpets. The best place to buy the latter is the Cooperative de Tissage, located opposite the Kasbah, where carpets are sold at fixed prices – from 800 MAD per sq. meter, depending on the quality of the workmanship. It is also worth looking into the Horizon Artisanat souvenir “multi-mark” or Ensemble Artisanal state-owned stores. For food, water and household essentials, head to the supermarket on Mohammed V Avenue.
Ouarzazate is unofficially called Wallywood – the number of films shot here exceeds fifty.
Entertainment and attractions Ouarzazate
The main attraction of Ouarzazate is the medieval kasbah (fortress) Taurirt, 2 km from the city center, included in the UNESCO List. Its red massive walls in several tiers with tiny windows and fluffy date palms at the foot were repeatedly captured on film. At the foot of the fortress, the traditional streets of the medina of Ouarzazate seethe and rustle, here you can relax in a colorful coffee shop or buy a nice little thing.
From the last tier of the Kasbah Taourirt offers a magnificent view of the city. However, the building itself is better to admire from a distance.
Opposite the Kasbah is a small but interesting Film Museum, where you can learn all about the turbulent past and promising future of the film industry in “Wallywood”.
The Atlas Film Studio is another mandatory item on the local excursion program. On a solid area of 150 hectares, scenery for famous films shot in Ouarzazate is presented – however, some of them are already pretty old. Every hour there are guided tours. Another CLS studio, chaired by Dino di Laurentiis, offers a walk through the exact replica of Jerusalem from the 2005 film Kingdom of Heaven with Orlando Bloom and Liam Neeson.
In the evening, it is worth taking a walk along the central streets and the main square of Ouarzazate – it is very noisy and fun here, you can gawk at the locals and show yourself, of course.
Surroundings of Ouarzazate
The number one trip worth taking from Ouarzazate is a trip to the incredible oasis city of Aït Benhaddou, listed on the UNESCO List, where travelers will see outlandish houses built of raw brick and clinging to the slopes of the mountain, at the foot of which lies a luxurious oasis.
For everyone who is attracted by the Sahara desert, we recommend going to one of its two outposts – the town of M’Hamid. All roads end here, and only great sands lie ahead. Desert caravan tours depart from M’Hamid, lasting from a few hours to a week.