Morocco’s own special home of film, Ouarzazate lies in a valley at the foot of the Atlas Mountains. Most of its visitors are tourists who are making their way to the Sahara Desert. They stop here to stock up on provisions before making their way out to one of the greatest desserts in the world. Whether you are visiting just to see the sights or if you too are headed out to the Sahara, you should make time to see some of the attractions in Ouarzazate.
Most visitors find that on first glance, Ouarzazate is not all that spectacular. Apart from its desert-like setting and prettily designed architectural layout, it would seem to have very little to offer. A scenic daytrip to the surrounding areas will soon have you entertained as you visit ruins of ancient Kasbahs, date palmeries and remote villages. Once you’re done seeing the older sights of the city, you may as well head to your accommodation where you will likely be treated to traditional Moroccan food as well as a display of Moroccan singing and dancing as a group of woman in traditional garb entertain the guests. Some hotels have a swimming pool which can be most useful for beating the extreme desert heat.
On your second day you should definitely make arrangements to visit the studio. It is situated right outside of Ouarzazate and is quite impressive to see. Most days it is open to the public for tours and if you are lucky you will get the chance to see them filming a movie. Quite a number of well-known movies have either been filmed here in their entirety or have had their desert scenes shot here. Films such as Lawrence of Arabia, Star Wars and The Gladiator all have the Ouarzazate desert in common. After you finish your tour of the studio, you might try your hand at shopping, but might find that goods here are more expensive than they are in other parts of Morocco. The Kasbah has been recently restored and is worth a visit as is the Artisans Cooperative. Ouarzazate has an international airport to cater to the influx of international visitors involved in the film industry.
At the end of the day you might find delight in dining at the famous Chez Dimitri restaurant. The restaurant serves pasta and salads and is a great change from the usual local food. It is also a welcome delight before heading into the hot sandy desert. Certainly Ouarzazate has more to offer than initially meets the eye!