Boulevard Moulay Rachid, BP 284, Ouarzazate, 45000, Morocco
More about Ouarzazate
Ksar di Ait-Ben-Haddou
Jardins de Ouarzazate, view from the garden
Travel Tips for Ouarzazate
Some Useful words
This might be of use during Your Trip
English-/ French- / Arabic-
Yes/Oui/Yeh ( Hay)
Thank You/ Merci /Choukrane
Very Much/ Beaucoup/ Bzef (Bzeff)
Please /S'il vous Plait /Minfadlik (Min Fadlik)
Good Day/ Bonjour/ Sbah El Khir (Sba 'Lkir)
Good Night/ Bonsor/ Massa El Khir (Massa 'Lkir)
Goodbye/ Au Revoir/ Bessalama (Besslama)
Water/ Eau /Elma
Coffee /Cafe/ Kahoua (Kahwa)
Tea/ The /Atay (Ateille)
Bread/ Pain/ Khobz (Khobze)
I found Lonely Planets Moroccan Arabic Phrase Book to be quite useful-As well as Moroccan Arabic, there are French and Berber translations.
I found that in Marrakech, just using Berber Please and Thank You, got me a discount (to locals price) in taxis etc!
Taouret Kasbah 2 - Guides
This kasbah was brought to life for me by Mohamed (my guide)- If I'd wandered around by myself, I wouldn't have had anywhere near the insight that he gave of the features, history and customs of the region and kasbah.
It's often quite easy to shun guides- (not just in Morocco) whether official or not- there is often a suspicion that these people are out to 'fleece us' - Well this chap certainly wasn't - he was very knowledgeable, and professional, he'd studied tourism at University - I just wish I could remember half of what he told me! His English was very good too.
After showing me around the kasbah, he took me to a nearby shop, which I initially thought was for a 'commision opportunity' (I think I was a bit jaded still from the ever present stretched out hands for the expected baksheesh in Marrakech for the slightest 'service'), but it was so that the elderly shopkeeper could proudly point out the place at the back of the shop that was part of the kasbah.
The ceiling of the shop in this part is typical of the area, with interwoven oleander roots.
I bought a few post cards, and tried to offer the shop keeper a tip for showing me around, but ths was smilingly declined, he just took the money for the post cards.
Leaving the shop, my guide was waiting to take me around the outside kasbah streets to an artisans shop.
Again, I'm ashamed to say, I was a bit cynical - was this another ploy to gain commission- No it wasn't
- it was simply people who are proud of their heritage and culture, wanting to share this with visitors. It was a bit of a wake up call! I hope this continues...
So I've got no hesitation to recommend Mohamed Saidi - Guide to Ouarzazate/ Morocco, he speaks English, French and Arabic.
Contact him on - GSM 061 61 05 14 or ask at the Kasbah ticket office.
About Ait Benhaddou
A can't miss!!!
Situated in the High Atlas Mountains of southern Morocco the medieval fortress of Ait Benhaddou guarded the trading route to Timbuktu. Today the once thriving kasbah is home to a mere handful of inhabitants though plans are afoot to utilise the abandoned town as a means of alleviating Morocco?s severe housing shortage. Built entirely of baked sand the fortresses remain cool even in the searing afternoon heat of the desert, the earthen walls acting as great insulators. The roofs are made of a bitter willow, the taste of which repels insects. Every door and window in every building has a purpose, be it spiritual, aesthetic or practical. It is incredible to think that this is a town built without architects, without blueprints, without a grand design.
Above all Ait Benhaddou is remarkably beautiful; rarely do man made structures compliment their surroundings so perfectly. It is little wonder that Hollywood has chosen to make over 20 movies in the vicinity, amongst them the multi award winning ?Lawrence of Arabia? and ?Gladiator?. In recognition of its magnificence and its place in both modern and ancient history the site was recently declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Ouarzazate is a useful base from which to explore the ksour and Kasbahs of Ait Benhaddou. However, there is not a lot to do in the town itself. During the 1980’s, the Moroccan government had big plans for this town, as the first stop on the "Saharan Adventure", there is even an airport here. The town became known as "Morocco’s Hollywood" as it has been used as a base for many "exotic" film like David Lean’s "Lawrence of Arabia", Bernardo Bertolucci’s "Sheltering Sky" and "Jesus of Nazareth". However, because of a recession, it now just seems to be a very clean, nicely built ghost town.
The local Glaoui Kasbah Taorirt and the centre artenasal (across from the Kasbah) are worth a visit. Ait Benhaddou is one of the most fantastic sights of the Atlas as the kasbahs are the most elaborately decorated and best preserved (thanks to UNESCO). They have been built and re-built as sets for such movies as Jesus of Nazareth, Lawrence, and Orson Welles’ Sodom and Gomorrah.
Popular Hotels in Ouarzazate