Ait-Ben-Haddou: Guide for Morocco’s famous Ksar
Ait-Ben-Haddou in Morocco is a beautiful mudbrick ksar located in the southeast of the country and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987. The small village was built around 1000 years ago and was then an important point along the caravan route. Today, Ait-Ben-Haddou is one of the most interesting places to visit in Morocco and the most attractive stop for round trips across the country. Due to its unique architecture and incredibly magical ambience, the Kasbah Ait-Ben-Haddou has become a film set for many famous movies. For example, Game of Thrones, Gladiator and Lawrence of Arabia were filmed here. Yes, this pretty place is really impressive and so every Morocco traveler should have seen the country’s biggest Kasbah. But what to do in Ait-Ben-Haddou, what are the highlights and the best attractions?
This blog post is a complete guide for Ait-Ben-Haddou in Morocco. Here, we show you the most beautiful impressions and pictures of the Kasbah. In addition, there is plenty information and tips about getting there, best accommodation and the most beautiful viewpoints on the mud city.
How to get to Ait-Ben-Haddou from Marrakech
Ait-Ben-Haddou is about 180 kilometers southeast of Marrakech and can be reached either by rental car or on a guided tour. Actually, the journey from Marrakech to Ait-Ben-Haddou is fantastically beautiful. Your trip will lead over the High Atlas and past the Tizi n Tichka Pass. You will enjoy grandiose landscapes, a unique mountain world and finally reach the beautiful south of Morocco. If you love taking pictures, then you should allow yourself enough time to drive over this panoramic mountain road.
Passing the High Atlas Mountain
Starting from Marrakech you go to the direction of Ouarzazate and then to Ait-Ben-Haddou. Here is the way the goal, cause this road is just amazingly beautiful. After Marrakech the landscapes begin to change quickly, and you will be surprised by the rich green colors. After some time, the road begins to rise and you pass the first quaint mountain villages of the Atlas Mountains.
Tip: Make sure you take a break in the café at Tiz Imguer! From there you have a great view of the red rocky mountains and the wide valley. With a little luck you can see some meerkats here.
Further, the road will take you up to the Atlas mountains and finally you will get to the Tizi n Tichka Pass. Many amazing photo opportunities and viewpoints can be found right next to the road. One more reason why we loved to travel on our own with the car through Morocco. Once at the top you can admire the High Atlas with its breathtaking white peaks. This zigzag road goes up to 2260 meters. If you’re interested in minerals, then you’re definitely at the right place. Because the Atlas Street is known for its stone sellers.
After Tizi n Tichka Pass, as the mountain descends, the landscape changes dramatically again. Dry hills, rocky rock formations and ancient kasbahs are the heralds of the Sahara. The area around Ait-Ben-Haddou is already very dry and suddenly, as if from nowhere you can already spot the first camels.
What to do in Ait-Ben-Haddou
Taking A walk is the perfect thing to do for exploring the beautiful mud city Ait-Ben-Haddou. As you cross the river, you’ll get an idea of this spectacular city. Walking inside the huge Kasbah, you have the opportunity to explore some of the old houses from the inside. The entrance fee of these small museums often costs only 1 Euro and gives an exclusive insight into the life of earlier times.
On the way to the top of the village Ait-Ben-Haddou you will find plenty of souvenir shops, some restaurants and really lovely cafes. Some of these are really popular spots for Instagram shots. In former days, this fortified town was huge, and it’s hard to believe that 2,500 people lived here until 50 years ago. Once at the top, you will be rewarded with an incredible view over the barren desert landscape. This is in our opinion the best part of the tour. You can see all over the valley along the village, the many beautiful clay buildings, rocky lunar landscapes to the white peaks of the Atlas Mountains. One can imagine the Berber life 1000 years ago.
No wonder this magical place has become that famous. Because Ait-Ben-Haddou served as a movie set of many Hollywood strips. Here are a few of the films filmed there: Gladiator, Game of Thrones, Asterix and Obelix, Aladdin, Prince of Persia, The Mummie, The Hills Have Eyes II, Babel, Alexander, Laurence of Arabia and many more.
Best views of Ait-Ben-Haddou
The entire panorama of this village is just amazingly beautiful and the colors of the city change depending on the time of day. Ait-Ben-Haddou offers wonderful photo opportunities at morning-lights and not only professional photographers can look forward to taking unique pictures here.
Tip: The best views of Ait-Ben-Haddou are from one of the many rooftop hotels and accommodations around the desert city.
Admission and Opening hours
The entrance to Ait-Ben-Haddou is completely free. A small admission fee is only for visiting certain private museums. There are no official opening times, so you can visit the town on any time. But especially nice are exploration tours in the late afternoon or early morning, when most of the tourists are gone.
How long should I stay in Ait-Ben-Haddou?
If you have enough time, we recommend staying one or two nights in Ait-Ben-Haddou. When the day’s guests leave, you can experience the desert city almost all to yourself. Otherwise you will also have the possibility to explore Ait-Ban-Haddou on a daytrip from Marrakech.
Trips from Marrakech to Ait-Ben-Haddou
Certainly, there is the possibility to join a guided tour from Marrakech to visit the mud town of Ait-Ben-Haddou. There are either day trips, but also multi-day tours with subsequent desert visit offered. Here are the most popular trips from Marrakech:
Hotels and Accommodations
There are really lovely places to stay at Ait-Ben-Haddou! We recommend that you choose a hotel directly in the mud city or an accommodation with a view of the beautiful Kasbah. Having breakfast in such an ambience is unbeatably beautiful. Here are our best hotel tips:
- Guest House Bagdad Café: The Guest House Bagdad Café is a great deal with a lovely pool and nice rooms. Located near the old town center of Ait Ben Haddou.
- Paradise of Silence: The beautiful Paradise of Silence delights its guests with lovely rooms, a pool and really delicious cuisine!
- Chez Brahim: As a cheap alternative we can recommend the Chez Brahim to you. The view from the roof terrace is incredible and surely one of the best in town.
Conclusion: Ait Ben Haddou is definitely worth a visit and should not be missed on any Morocco round trip. Not only is the place breathtakingly beautiful, also the drive from Marrakech to Ait-Ben-Haddou is spectacular and a true experience.
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