Things To Do In Ouarzazate

Ouarzazate: A Star-Studded Jewel of Morocco


The ancient and stunning gateway to the Sahara Desert, and the backdrop to many a blockbuster movie that has also given it the title of “Little Hollywood” — or Ouallywood, in more recent times — the town of Ouarzazate tours are a firm tourist favourite in Morocco. It lies several hours’ drive southeast of Marrakesh and is the capital of Ouarzazate Province in the Drâa-Tafilalet region, a breathtaking area framed by the majestic High Atlas Mountains.

You can take a Ouarzazate day trip or perhaps a longer trip from your base in Marrakesh or any of the other major cities in the country, including Fes, Rabat or Agadir. And you can also travel to Ouarzazate and stay there in one of the many opulent hotels that will have you in the lap of luxury as you explore this fascinating and otherworldly part of the country.

Here’s a sampling of what you can see and do in Ouarzazate:

The Best Things to do in Ouarzazate


  • Taourirt Kasbah: The town’s main landmark, Taourirt Kasbah is a top tourist attraction in Ouarzazate. This impressive 19th-century fortress has nearly 300 rooms and 20 riads, or traditional houses, built around a courtyard in the centre. It’s open to the public from Monday to Saturday and although some parts are now in ruins, several areas have been restored, including the former palace and people still live in the kasbah and are all too happy to show you around, for a small fee.
  • Cinema Museum: Another place you must visit on a trip to Ouarzazate is the Cinema Museum, which is just opposite the Taourirt Kasbah. It’s easy to see both on the same day — and it’s a good way to see the area’s rich film history if you don’t want to go to the edge of the town to visit one of the big studios. At the Cinema Museum, which is quite small but packed with all kinds of interesting things, you’ll view authentic sets that were used in films as well as lots of props and old equipment used to make the films.
  • Atlas Film Studios: Just outside Ouarzazate is the sprawling Atlas Film Studios, which is said to be the biggest in the world, and is where such films as Kingdom of Heaven, Gladiator, Body of Lies and a Star Wars movie were filmed, along with many other Hollywood favourites. Spread over 20 hectares, you’ll see massive sets, props and sights you might recognise while on a tour of the studios, although some parts of it are no longer in use and have fallen into disrepair. It’s still well worth having a look around where Ouallywood began, when Atlas became the first film studios to open in North Africa, in 1983.

Other things to do in Ouarzazate include the hilltop Kasbah of Tifoultoute, which is a short distance away (around 8km) and is a striking sight as you approach it; CLA Studios, another place of major movie heritage in Ouarzazate; and the Old Synagogue, which is now a museum housing a large amount of Jewish artefacts.

And as the mighty Sahara Desert is just on your doorstep, you’re in the perfect position to head out and explore one of the most spectacular places on the planet. The challenging environment of the Sahara, however, means it is not a place you discover on your own but experience on a professionally organised tour with expert local guides who know the desert and its hazards, and can give you the best possible time out amid the vast and timeless sands.

There’s no better place to be than Ouarzazate if you want to experience the wonderful Sahara Desert. Book your experience with Desert Majesty today.

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