Ouarzazate (ورزازات) is a city in Morocco.
- Inezgane (close to Agadir ) twice a day 80 MAD (prices are negotiable, can be reduced till 50 MAD)
- Marrakesh- C.T.M Bus 70 MAD (twice a day, morning, evening), grand taxi 100 per person
Regional bus is cheaper, but not as nice, and
runs more often. Two bus stations.
often two flights a day during the week from Casablanca. Note that as with the rest of the town, the airport shuts down in the middle of the day for siesta (at least during the summer), so make sure you have cash with you when you arrive, or you may find yourself stranded at the airport!
The area around Mohammad V is very walk able. The
C.T.M 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 300Dh 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.
Ouarzazate is very safe, but don't wander into weird corners at night. Crime throughout the Moroccan south is minimal, but its best not to take (too many) chances.
- Visit Ait Benhaddou - one of the best preserved Kasbahs . Taxi can take you there for 300 MAD (probably possible to haggle cheaper price), 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.
- Plan an expedition out to Merzouga, M'Hamid and the Dunes of Erg Chebbi. 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 dessert). 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 400-500Dh. A grand taxi will also take you out that way and back for 1500-2000Dh. Everything out here is negotiable, so shop around for the best price.
Whatever you buy, it is likely you can't find it cheaper in Marrakech or Fes. Realize everything is negotiable!
Plenty of cheap restaurants along Mohammad V. Normal price for tagine should be about 30Dh.
Bottled water is cheap (10Dh) 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 Gazella- clean, cheap hotel (156Dhm double room with hot shower), safe parking in the courtyard, ATM just next door, bakery across the road.
- Hotel Saghro A bit out of town across the river (you'll need a grand taxi to get there), but the rooms are nice and there's a restaurant on site. They even have a pool.
Dar Ahlam is a spectacular 10-room hotel in Skoura, about 40 km from Ouarzazate. It is expensive, but distinctive in every element: architecture, style, service, and food. Possibly the best hotel in Morocco. Ask to stay in one of the 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).
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, note that on this line touts will join the bus at stops along the way and try to lever you into going on a 'discounted' desert tour. They are persistant 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.
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