Ait Ben Haddou Travel Guide

  • Aït Benhaddou
    Aït Benhaddou
    by al2401
  • Aït Benhaddou
    Aït Benhaddou
    by al2401
  • From Within the Walls of Ait Ben Haddou
    From Within the Walls of Ait Ben Haddou
    by DSwede

Ait Ben Haddou Highlights

  • Pro
    johnsakura profile photo

    johnsakura says…

     The most well preserved and beautiful Kasbah in High Atlas Region 

  • Con
    johnsakura profile photo

    johnsakura says…

     People now ask for entrance money 

  • In a nutshell
    johnsakura profile photo

    johnsakura says…

     Fantastic place to get a view of an old fortified village with amazing view to the Valley 

Ait Ben Haddou Things to Do

  • visit a kasbah inside the village of...

    For 5 dirham you can go up inside to the top of a kasbah and get a basic idea of the layout in which up to 4 families lived in these fortified homes.Its rather dark especially down in the lower areas where the animals lived and grains were stored as you make your way up the mudbrick stairways to each level as more light appears from the open roof...

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  • Entrance to the fortified village of...

    Down the cobbled path with the (hustlers) shops with the usual scarves, pottery, jewellery, rugs and all sorts of trinkets and anything sellable on either side and then cross the river - which may be a dry river bed, or with a bit of water in it hop over on the stepping stones (or if lots of water then head further up the river to the far end of...

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  • Stop at the viewpoint for a panoramic...

    When approaching the village of Ait Benhaddou there is a viewpoint with parking area on the right side of the road - pull in here for great views of the multilevelled old town of multi kasbahed Ait Benhaddou - as it graduates up the hill to the fortress and granary on top of its hill from the plain in the valley its built on.As well as a great...

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  • What's real and What's not?

    Viewing Ait- Benhaddou from the front entrance, or from above - the fortified wall of the exterior looks like it is part of the history of this architecturally preserved Ksar. Well, the impressive looking entrance gateway was added late last century, in order to provide an aesthetically pleasing backdrop for Mr. Russell Crowe et al to fight it out...

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  • View from The Granary

    Climbing to the top of the Ksar of Ait Ben Haddou is well worth the effort, for the views over the hammada (stony desert ), the Palmyra landscape, and views over the riverbed.The Granary-or Agadir is the best viewpoint - Please see my previous tip for more information. I'd advise doing it early morning or late afternoon as the sun isn't as fierce,...

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  • Meet the donkey!

    I first spotted this donkey as we approached the Ksar - it was carrying water bottles up a pathway near the entrance, guided by its owner..Later, while enjoying a glass of mint tea in one of the locals houses, I was startled by it suddenly appearing and braying loudly in the doorway, right next to where I was sat.I nearly spilt my mint...

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  • Ait Ben Haddou

    Ait means 'belonging to'. So this is the Ksar of Ben Haddou!This Unesco protected Ksar is well worth a visit, whether to recognise the place from some of the block buster films that have featured this place- Gladiator, Alexander, Jesus of Nazareth, Lawrence of Arabia etc,or to wander around the narrow lanes, seeing some typical Moroccan life, or to...

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  • Ait Benhaddou - The Granary (or Agadir)

    Apparently, invading troops didn't kill the inhabitants of the kasbahs or ksars outright, instead they stole their grain etc, therefore starving to death the inhabitants - Nice eh?So at Ait Benhaddou, the prominent granary, sited at the top of the hill, is fortified, and positioned so that any approaching armies could be spotted well in...

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  • step inside the houses

    Stepping inside of the houses of the old part of Ait ben haddou is mostly no problem at all, as these houses are mostly not used any more for living by the local population. You will learn a lot about the way these houses had been constructed, you will see the shady inner-courts, the store-rooms and a lot more !To construct one of these houses,...

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Ait Ben Haddou Hotels

Ait Ben Haddou Restaurants

  • great food and restaurant decor

    Have stayed here several times now over the past 2 years - 2010-2012 for 1-2 nights at a time and had several breakfast. lunch and evening meals here which have all been very good. We prefer to stay here now as regular patronage to an establishment creates a rapport and the family that run this hotel appreciate that and look after us even...

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  • Excellent pizza's in deserted village!

    Auberge la Goulade, chez Samie et Michel;We wanted to see what else there is in Ait Ben Haddou, and came across this small restaurant. Actually it's a guesthouse as well, they have rooms also. We ordered some pizza's and although it took a while to prepare them, it was worth waiting for them; DELICIOUS!We didn't see many other restaurants around in...

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  • Eating in our hotel

    Most visitors to Ait Ben Haddou eat in their hotels as there aren't too many independent restaurants. Our breakfast and dinner were included in the price of our hotel and we had all these meals in the large tent outside the hotel. There is also a dining room inside but as all the other guests were eating in the tent we chose to do so too. There...

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Ait Ben Haddou Transportation

  • New walk bridge over the river to Ait...

    In one of my Off the Beaten Path tips here I suggested missing the touts that are along the usual pathway that most people take down to where the river crossing is and over to the main entrance by going on up further past this pathway to cross the river - well now there is a new pedestrian bridge up there - which is a great improvement for both...

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  • The "current" way to get across the...

    I've seen people's reviews about taking the donkeys or the small boats across the river, with more details about how much they should cost, etc.Please note that those posts are now a bit out of date. There is a pedestrian walking bridge that spans the ~100m river and is completely free and open 24hrs of the day, regardless of the weather.Even on...

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  • Have you ever heared of a ROTEL ?

    I came to Ait Ben Haddou on a ROTEL-bustour that took us within 30 days from Munich through Spain and Melilla to Morocco. In Ait Ben Haddou we had a lunchbreak and were given the chance to walk over to the old part of the town on our own.There are about 40 passengers in a Rotel and all of them will have their own bed in the wagon. At the end of the...

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Ait Ben Haddou Shopping

  • Local crafts

    Walking through the Ksar of Ait Benhaddou, making our way up to the Granary, we passed by a few shops which were selling paintings, jewellery, clothing, scarves etc. It was a good excuse to stop and catch my breath, while looking at these goods!We stopped while a small boy demonstrated a form of pyrography, using a magnifying glass and the suns...

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  • Souvenirs and local craft

    I liked the last souvenir stall before we descend in the oued to the kasbah. Its decorations outdoors were nice.I took this picture because of the wooden pillar, to get some inspiration for the verandah-to-be in my garden at home.In the stalls you can find all kind of local craft, like pottery, objects of wood or leather.Prices are not that bad,...

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  • Souvenirs stalls

    If you head down to the oued and the kasbah, you pass some souvenir stalls.Some of them look really nice with the kasbah at the background.When you stand or ignore the first hassle of the vendors, you can find in one or two shops nice jewelry. Not in the displays in front, but at the back of the shops or in boxes. As I am interested in the jewelry...

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Ait Ben Haddou Local Customs

  • The Chellaba

    The " Chellabah " is that typical clothing for men - and it is quite good for the climate as your skin is not dried out by the sun, you also have a hood for the head, and at most places I have been in Maroc, there was always a bit of wind ( it was in March ).Mostly it is elderly men wearing a chellaba, younger men mostly are wearing suits in...

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  • some thoughts about children working for...

    Plenty of children are waiting for customers to guide them over the river, as there are only a few places and paths through the wide river, that may be used to get to the ancient town of Ait Ben Haddou.Mostly their whole family depends on that kind of extra-income...BUT just imagine, if these kids bring home more money that their father, who had to...

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  • Hopefully you never need this in Morroco

    Hopefully You will not get any problems with your teeth while travelling through Marocco !Real Dentists are rare & too expensive for most people in Morocco.Mostly this kind of business is done on the markets by special people without a real medical education.Soemtimes You will be able to watch them tearing out the teeth of the customers, who will...

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Ait Ben Haddou Warnings and Dangers

  • barryg23's Profile Photo
    Sign at the Kasbah entrance 1 more image

    by barryg23 Written Apr 13, 2007

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    At the entrance to the Kasbah you'll be met by a number of hustlers (mostly young locals) who ask for a 10Dh entrance fee to the Kasbah. They've even put up a small sign in French and English requesting payment which, they claim, goes towards the maintenance and upkeep of the Kasbah.

    Officially, there is no official entry price to the kasbah. I wouldn't mind paying 10Dh or more if it did go towards upkeep (which is much needed) but I'm pretty certain it goes no further than these guys. Most visitors seem to pay the 10 dh, as they otherwise face a lot of hassle and risk being followed by the guides. However, you’re perfectly entitled not to pay. If they give you any hassle just point out to them that there is no official entrance fee and if they persist ask them for a receipt, which they are obliged to provide. If you don’t fancy all this hassle, walk around to the far side of the Kasbah and go in by the unmanned gates.

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Ait Ben Haddou Tourist Traps

  • Don't enter via main entrance

    As all tourist trying to enter the main gate to the kasbah we were asked to pay a fee. When we refused they got angry and some old guy tried to make us pay. We left and entered the kasbah at the lefthand side (there are some shops at the entrance ), with no hassle there. I don't mind paying tips for some service, but just filling some guy's pocket...

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  • Do you pay to enter?

    There are men at the door that charge an entrance fee of 10 DHM. I asked them if they had any official credentials, which they didnt. 2 French tourists entered and didn't pay they quoted a passage in their French (can't remember if it was Fodors?) which said that officially it was free. They let me in for 5 DHM. I dont know who these guys were but...

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  • Ait Ben Haddou Hotels

    7 Hotels in Ait Ben Haddou

    46 Reviews and Opinions

Ait Ben Haddou What to Pack

  • Take a warm jacket for the desert - at...

    It sounds a bit funny at the first moment - but in the Sahara it is mostly a bit windy and your skin will dry out completely within a short time, when you will not cover your arms and feet completely.I had my winterjacket with me, stuffed with feathers inside and it was a perfect insolation against the hot sun !At night it will be rather cold...

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  • Ait Benhaddou - things to bring

    Light weight day sac for carrying camera, water etc. Travel lightly especially as it can be fiecely hot mid day mid summer, and the paths are quite uneven Sturdy shoes for walking around the Ksar - there are some loose stones etc. on the way upto/down from the granary, with some rocks to negotiate at one point. I was pleased that I'd brought my...

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Ait Ben Haddou Off The Beaten Path

  • Telouet

    Travellers from Marrakech to Ouarzazate (and vise -versa) often detour to Ait Benhaddou. Not far from this site is another place well worth stopping at for an hour or two- Telouet!The main reason for visiting Telouet is to visit the Telouet Kasbah - Built in the 1940's as a Glaoui palace, its crumbling red mud exterior belies the treasures held...

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  • Tamdaght Kasbah

    A further 7 km from Ait Benhaddou, of bitumen/tarmac road, is another Glaoui fortification the Tamdaght kasbah.I walked right around it as I was captivated by the almond blossoms in the valley below - from where there are also great views of the ornate turrets and stork nests on top.As to be expected there is a guardien/caretaker who has the keys...

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  • Almond blossoms at Ait Benhaddou

    Visiting in February was fantastic for almond trees in full blossom around the area! - not just lots of snow on the mountains to get me excited, along with the blue blue skies great for even more colourful photography, and the red and pinks of the earth and mudbrick of the traditional buildings and kasbahs in the area.So not only is the area around...

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Ait Ben Haddou Favorites

  • Hyper modern internetcafe!

    This is the only one internet cafe at Ait Ben Haddou. It looks like a prehistorical cave.Only one of the 2 computers is working actually.But the price is fair; only 10 dirham per hour!

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  • Ksar of Ait-Ben-Haddou

    Ksar of Ait-Ben-Haddou - the perfect casbah... a sight of amazing beauty built mainly in mud on the slope of a steep rocky hill. It is made up of a maze of multi-storey ancient dwellings and was once a thriving community on the caravan route. Very few families live in the village nowadays - most have moved to the adjoining modern town - mainly...

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  • Movies in Ait Ben Haddou

    With its spectacular location and, of course, the impressive Kasbah, Ait Ben Haddou is a popular place to film movies. Lawrence of Arabia, Gladiator and Jesus of Nazareth are just there of many big name movies which have been filmed here. The Atlas film studios is only a short distance away on the road to Ouazazarte and ensures that Ait Ben...

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