Ait-Ben-Haddou & High Atlas Mountain Road – a trip from Marrakech
If somebody would ask me: What should I see in Morocco? I would definitely answer:
Travel to Ait-Ben-Haddou!
Ait-Ben-Haddou is an ancient mud brick city which is an UNESCO World Heritage site. Because of its unique architecture this village has been a setting for many popular films such as Game of Thrones, Gladiator and Lawrence of Arabia. The village was build 1000 years ago and before, it used to be an important point along the caravan route. Now it’s one of the most attractive points along the tourist route.
How to get to Ait-Ben-Haddou?
The best way to get to there is renting a car with navigations system from Marrakech. Actually the High Atlas mountain road is an adventure for itself. If you love taking pics make sure you are planning enough time driving this panoramic mountain street. Take the Tizi n Tichka pass road located in the High Atlas Mountain to Ouarzazate. Around 20 km before Ouarzazate you have to take the road towards Ait-Ben-Haddou. Make sure you have a navigation system & a route map in your car – it’s absolutely necessary for driving around in Morocco. Don`t be afraid of driving by yourself – there are lots of gas stations and you will always find friendly people helping you.
Our drive over the Tizi n Tichka Pass
After picking up our rental car around 10 am in the morning we left Marrakech towards Ouarzazate. The landscapes began to change quite soon and we had been surprised by all the green! Slowly the road began to rise and we passed the first mountain villages. Take a stop at the cafe at Tiz Imguer! From there you will have a grandiose view of the red rocks and the valley. If you are lucky you will see lots of squirrels running around.
The road is winding up the mountain and there are plenty amazing photo motives and viewpoints just next to the road. On top you will see the High Atlas Mountains with its stunning white summits. If you are up to buy some minerals, you are definitely on the right place – the atlas road is popular for its stone sellers. Going higher the mountain the landscape was changing dramatically and the road zigzags its way up to 2260 meter.
After the Tizi n Tichka Pass, Driving down the mountain, the landscape then changes again. With arid peaks, rocky stone formations and some old stony villages you know you are coming in pre-Sahara direction. The scenery is becoming much dryer and suddenly we spotted the first camels just next to the street.
The best view to Ait-Ben-Haddou
The panorama of this village is just amazing and the colors are changing dramatically when the evening comes. Also with the morning light, Ait-Ben-Haddou is a wonderful photo motive. It felt like being in a completely different world watching this spectacle. The best view you will have from one of the few rooftop terraces of the nearby hotels.
How long should I stay in Ait-Ben-Haddou
We recommend at least an overnight stay! It’s so beautiful to see the Ksar in different lightening and when the day guests are leaving you will have this area for yourself.
There are plenty of amazing Kasbahs to stay – although it must be cool sleeping inside the village the view of the village is even more amazing. Having breakfast with a morning scenery like that is unbeatable. We stayed a night at Chez Brahim and we loved drinking mint tea and enjoying the unbeatable views.
What to do in Ait-Ben-Haddou?
It’s amazing starting the day very early in the morning, taking a nice hot cup of mint tea and enjoying the incredible sunrise. Take a walk along the river and enjoy the nature. After start to explore the village from inside – there are a few houses which are open for visits too! You will also find some souvenir shops and cute cafes on the way to the top of this village.
Once you reach the top, you will be rewarded with incredible views of the region which is in fact the best part of the tour. You will see the whole valley along the village, the village view, the rocky desert. I just can imagine how would have been a Berber life 1000 years ago.
List of popular movies made in Ait-Ben-Haddou
This village is also a popular movie set for international films:
- Game of Thrones
- Asterix and Obelix
- Prince of Persia
- The Mummy
- The Hills Have Eyes II
- Laurence from Arabia
Guided Tours from Marrakech
Booking Tours from Marrakech: If you don`t like to drive by yourself then we would recommend to book tours from Marrakech to Ait-Ben-Haddou. There are day trips, but also 2-day tours and 3-day tours with a visit to the desert can be booked. Here are the most popular trips from Marrakech:
Read more about traveling in Morocco:
Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links. Meaning that if you click on certain links, and then subsequently purchase a product, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.