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Ouarzazate, Morocco
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Ouarzazate

 

Photo by Valentina Marconi

The garrison town of Ouarzazate is a great base for exploring southern Morocco. Not only is this French-built city located at the crossroads of three rivers, it is situated at the foot of the Atlas Mountains just 4 hours from Marrakech. Journey north to Ait ben Haddou, Morocco's most spectacular ksar. Traverse the Draa Valley and visit an oasis or two. Travel east to the Dades, as the Valley of a Thousand Kasbahs is formally called. And while Ouarzazate is hardly historic, it has two attractions of note. The Glaoui kasbah of Taourirt provides insight to feudal Morocco. A tour of Atlas Film Studios offers a peek at this film industry hub.
Getting There
 
Ouarzazate is located in southern Morocco and is situated 204 km (126 miles) southeast of Marrakech. Marrakech is the best place to start a road trip to Ouarzazate and on to the Dadès and Drâa valleys. Both Easy Jet and RyanAir service Marrakech. Royal Air Maroc offers daily flights to/from Casablanca and Ouarzazate. There is no train service in this part of the country.
When to Travel
 
The best times of year to visit Ouarzazate are spring (March - May) and fall (October - November). The daytime high often exceeds 40°C (104°F) in summer and, in winter, the nighttime low can fall below 0°C (32°F).
Health & Safety
 
Heat exhaustion, dehydration and sunburn are the most common ailments afflicting travelers to the Sahara Desert. Dysentery is the most common ailment afflicting travelers to Morocco. Pack high factor sunscreen and apply it to all exposed areas, including your child's nose, ears, and toes, before you set out and repeat applications throughout the day. Encourage the children to drink regularly but take care about what they swallow. Drink bottled or sterilized water only.
Things to Keep in Mind
 
While most hotels claim to have heating, in winter, the rooms aren't always warm and the hot water is not always hot.
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