Wonderfully incongruous with the look of the name, Ouarzazate actually means 'without confusion' or 'without noise'. Which is quite true: Ouarzazate is a quiet town at the base of the High Atlas mountains in Saharan Morocco. For a long time a waypoint for traders between Africa and Europe, Ouarzazate has a labyrinthine Kasbah. And the best places to stay in Ouarzazate make a wonderful base from which to dive into the desert or the mountains.
Whatever method of transport you want to take into the desert, or into the mountains, Ouarzazate will set you up. There are numerous agencies here, offering transport by camel, bikes, motorbikes, or assisted trekking. And you've the Sahara in one direction and the High Atlas in the other. And after your journey Ouarzazate will be your oasis…
The centre of town has been developed quite a lot over the past couple of years, and it's now a spacious pedestrianised plaza. Quite different from the bustling trade capital rife with livestock it was for centuries, or the dusty French garrison town Ouarzazate became in the 1920s.
After the French left in the '50s Ouarzazate became a location darling of the film industry, and still is! - it's played Tibet, Somalia, Ancient Rome and Egypt, among others. You might still recognise Ouarzazate in Game of Thrones. If you fancy a trip to a film set, visit Atlas Studios where you can see sets from Cleopatra, Asterix & Obelix, Gladiator and Lawrence of Arabia, to name just a few.
A lot of what people travel to Ouarzazate to see isn't in the town, it's around it.
Still not sure? Browse through our list of all the best places to stay in Ouarzazate, or contact, one of our friendly gurus for advice. Alternatively check out our recommendations for places to stay in the High Atlas.
Traditional kasbah in Skoura's Palmeraie, four hours from Marrakech, transformed into a luxury and spoiling retreat. 14 sumptuous suites & villas, plus hammam, large pool & plenty of activities including quad safaris or hiking. Tailor made excursions including private dining under the desert stars.