Ouarzazate Kasbahs, Oasis of Fint & Film Studios
Duration: 9:00am – 6:00pm
Morocco Travel Included: Ouarzazate Siteseeing Tour at Famous Kasbahs, Teat at Oasis of Fint and visit to the Film Studios Morocco, Transport in Luxury 4×4, English, Arabic, French Speaking Driver, Marrakech Expert Licensed Guide
Starting & Finishing Point: Your Riad or Hotel In Ouarzazate
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“See Ouarzazate and die” are feelings often expressed by Moroccans with regards to this magical city that is the door to the Sahara desert. Located just four hours from Marrakesh, Ouarzazate is the main Berber city in the south known for its spectacular sunsets and dramatic mountain and desert scenery. Surrounded by breathtaking valleys, Ouarzazate was once crossing point for African traders seeking to reach northern cities in Morocco and Europe. During the French period, Ouarzazate expanded considerably as a garrison town and became the administrative centre of the Zagora region.
Ouarzazate became famous when it’s nearby Kasbah; Aït Benhaddou appeared in the 1962 film Lawrence of Arabia. This spellbinding quiet town is the perfect home base for exploring the southern region of Morocco which is comprised of ancient Kasbahs, the Oasis of Fint, the Dadès Valley, the Gorge of Todra, the Atlas Films Studios, Mount Mgoun, Skoura and El Kelaa Des Mgouna (TheValley of Roses), Merzouga and the Dunes of Tinfo in Zagora.
►Pick up at your Riad or Hotel in Ouarzazate. Begin your one-day excursion to the Oasis of Fint, the Atlas Film Studios, Aït Benhaddou & Kasbah Taouirt.
► Visit the Oasis of Fint. Take the pise (windy road) towards the Oasis of Fint passing the “Plateau de pierres“. On this road you will find a shining Oasis of palms. Take light trek around the Oasis palmerie region that hovers under the Atlas Mountains. Journey on a one-hour walk inside the Oasis. Option to have tea with the headmasters family Azziz Ouaziz and tour the surrounding area where date palm oases and dramatic desert scenery are king.
►After visiting the Oasis of Fint we will take the road to the Atas Film Studios
► David Lean filmed Lawrence of Arabia at The Atlas Film Studios in the early 1960’s. Since then many famous directors have followed in his footsteps to exploit the magnificent scenery. International blockbusters shot here in recent years include: the French version of Cleopatra, Bertolucci’s Sheltering Sky, Scorsese’s Kundun, Gillies MacKannon’s Hideous Kinky, Ridley Scott’s Gladiator,Black Hawke Down, Oliver Stone’s Alexander The Great, Ridley Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven, and Penelope Cruz’s Sahara.
► Next visit Aït Benhaddou.
►Aït Benhaddou is located 32 km from Ouarzazate lies the picturesque village. Aït Benhaddou of Aït Benhaddou is situated in Souss-Massaa on a hill along the Ouarzazate River. Lawrence of Arabia was filmed here and Orson Welles used it as a location for Sodome and Gomorrah; and for Jesus of Nazareth the whole lower part of the village was rebuilt. In recent years more controlled restoration has been carried out under UNESCO auspices. Aït Benhaddou is one of many locations in this region used for shooting Hollywood films.
►Your guide will lead you on a private tour through this Berber village of towered and crenulated Kasbahs that once guarded the lucrative caravan route through the Atlas Mountains. Explore the Kasbahs by foot.Make sure to bring along your camera and photograph this spectacular site and the stunning views that surround this Kasbah and its crenellated towers and dark red pise walls.
►By the river, you will find observe a collection of Kasbahs whose walls are decorated with blind arches and geometric designs. Make sure to take a walk behind the Kasbah and visit the series of ksars, individual plain earth houses still inhabited by Berber families. Your guide will share the fascinating history of Aït Benhaddou which once served as the former caravan route between the Sahara and Marrakech in present-day Morocco. Most of the town’s inhabitants now live in a more modern village at the other side of the river; ten families however still live within the ksar. Aït Benhaddou was once a significant stop for traders carrying gold, salt and slaves along the famous Southern Caravan route moving through the Sahara.
►For lunch, relax on a terrace with clear views of Aït Benhaddou and enjoy a traditional Moroccan or Moroccan salada and a hearty tajine.
►Only six miles away, is the village, dominated by the canyon walls of a Glaoui Kasbah. The Kasbah is famous and you will find its towers inhabited by storks. Walk outside the Kasbah’s lush terraced gardens and witness the same desert scenery that used in Gladiatorand Alexander the Great of Tamdaght.
►End the day with a short visit to Kasbah Taouirt which was was built by the PashaGlaoui. Kasbah Taouirt’s location was strategic for trading routes and in the 1930’s when the Glaoui ruled the South it was then one of Morocco’s largest Kasbahs. Explore its nooks and crannies and discover some local female painters who sell their art inside as well as the many quality silver shops just steps outside the Kasbah.
►The tour ends with a short drive back to Ouarzazate’s city center, at sunset, with the reassuring feeling that you have seen spectacular scenery and experience a day rich in Berber history.