Once used as a base for desert safaris, Ouarzazate is now making a bid to be a destination in its own right. Strategically located within reach of some of the finest ksour (fortified towns) and oases of the south, Ouarzazate is also famous as the centre of the Moroccan film industry.
...continued from Ouarzazate & Skoura page.
If the rocky terrain around Ouarzazate seems familiar, that’s because the area has been used as the backdrop for many Hollywood film productions. Ouarzazate has doubled up as Tibet, Egypt and every country of the Middle East in films like Jewel of the Nile, The Sheltering Sky, Kundun, Gladiator, The Kingdom of Heaven and Prince of Persia. You can see some of the props at the Atlas Film Studios just outside town.
Ouarzazate itself is a largely modern town, built as a garrison for the French Foreign Legion in the 1920s. The only historic building is the Taourirt Kasbah, home of the infamous Glaoui family, the ‘Lords of the Atlas’, who controlled access to the southern trade routes in the late 19th and early 20th century. The Taourirt Kasbah also has a Hollywood connection - it made a cameo appearance in Star Wars. Opposite is a small crafts area where you can buy carpets, carved implements and earthenware at keener prices than in Marrakech.
If you prefer to stay somewhere more atmospheric, Skoura, a small town 35 kms east of Ouarzazate with a lovely palmeraie and kasbah, makes a good alternative for exploring the pre-Sahara.
A traditional Kasbah surrounded by a Garden of Eden, on two hectares of land. The property is located at the gateway to the Southern Moroccan desert, 40km east of Ouarzazate, in a palm grove named Skoura.
Very charming, small French run hotel, in the beautiful palm groves of Skoura.
An ideal location to combine relaxation with stunning views of the lake and exploring the Draa Valley, the Dades and Todra Gorges.
8 room hotel set in the village of Ait Boulmane, close to a UNESCO World Heritage site; views over the Atlas mountains, heated pool.
The Berbere Palace is built in the Kasbah style, with a mix of Berber and traditional crafts.
A 12-room hotel set on a hill overlooking the palmeraie, with views of the Atlas mountains and desert.
The Lawrence of Morocco map displays the locations of the destinations and accommodation that we have selected and visited; for each item, hovering over or clicking the marker will display a short summary and photo of that place or hotel, and hotel pricing. Follow the links in the info box to the full page listing which has much more information.
Note that the online map offers both a satellite view (click satellite in the top right) and, for some locations, a street level view (Drag the person in the top left onto the map). These let you explore the country; and when you wish to explore in person, or if you have any questions about the places you see, give our staff a call, or request a quote. Our staff regularly visit the places and accommodation that we feature.
When you book a holiday with us we will provide full driving instructions for reaching your accommodation, where necessary; these can be used by yourself, or you could enjoy the luxury of a driver. Alternatively we will arrange private (car rather than coach) transfers for you; helicopter transfers are also possible for some destinations.
We could not have been looked after better.
Thanks for arranging such a great trip for us. Splitting our time between the mountains & Marrakesh was just what we needed.
Maroc Lodge was fantastic. We could not have been looked after better. The highlight was the guided tour with Latife. She was exceptionally knowledgable and we really enjoyed hearing a woman's perspective on life in the ...
Deputy Editor of Harper’s Bazaar, Sasha Slater, travelled with her family to Marrakech and Ouirgane with Lawrence of Morocco in April 2014.
When travelling around Morocco it is not (contrary to common belief) necessary for women to ‘cover up’ out of respect for local modesty traditions. Morocco is a very mixed society with Moroccans who dress as westerners and more traditional families dressing in a more traditional way.
The only areas of the country where it is advisable for women to cover up their legs and shoulders would be in some parts of the High Atlas Mountains (very remote areas) where the locals are rarely visited by foreigners. It is highly unlikely that you will be visiting these areas on any holiday arranged by Lawrence of Morocco.