Ait Ben Haddou is located 30 km away from Ouarzazate (known as “The Gate to Desert”) and part of UNESCO World Heritage, protecting those 500 years old mud made houses (kasba in Arabic) from erosion and destruction. In the past was the spot where caravans would stop when traveling between Marrakech and the Desert.
There’s no local bus to get here, since this is a “Tourist Village” and mostly of tourists either have their own vehicle or come with a tour. We are hitch hiking and the taxi from Ouarzazate was 100 DH (around 10€) just one way we decided to… hitch hike :) Not many cars pass by in this route and mostly ask you money but we managed to arrive after 3 rides, the second from the police. The way back was also easy, I’d say we are lucky bastards! And yeah, we made it for free. It´s also free entrance.
You know when you are trying to choose only few pictures for your posts so doesn’t get heavy but it’s so difficult that you just wanna show all the pictures? This is happening right now, this spot is so spectacular that even the pictures cannot show the true essence.
As soon as you get there you are blocked with the group of mud houses (I’d say cob houses) and the enormous ksar (castle) in the hill. When you enter the ksar you have these narrow streets with berber beautiful handmade stalls. The view from the top of the hill is excellent, a mix between palm trees, desert, mountains and low houses village.
It’s also considerated the “Cinema Village” since many movies were made there. Maybe you have seen Gladiator or Kingdom of Heaven or Prince of Persia or the newest movie The Queen of the Desert? It’s such an inspiring place, even Hollywood cannot miss it!
I’m glad we made it to Ait Ben Haddou but I highly recommend renting a car (about 300 DH/day) if you are in Ouarzazate. You can visit so many interesting places around the city like the other 2 castles and the Oasis. We left with this feeling we could see so much more and the need of a caravan came back to our deep thoughts.
Are you enjoying my trip in Morocco? I’m much happier in the South, it’s definitely my cup of tea with all these mountains surrounding us.