The most important Ksar to visit in road to Ouarzazate is Ait Benhaddou. It is around 180 km from Marrakech, situated 7m up a minor road off the route de Ouarzazate. From Ait Benhaddou, the journey is then 32 km to Ouarzazate. It’s definitely worth the diversion. Ait Benhaddou is perched on the side of a craggy hill which looms out of a palm-fringed plain. The remains of a defensive wall crumble along the ridge of the hill. This provides a great vantage point from which to study the assemblage of tapering towers, decorated in geometric style and crowned with stepped merlons. It comprises one of the most spectacular collections of Kasbahs in the whole region. ‘A multitude of picturesque towers rises from a rocky bluff overlooking a wide dry river bed, at the top of which are the prominent ruins of an agadir, a fortified granary, its bastions now so eroded by the rain they look like melted candles’, so wrote Michael Palin in ‘Sahara’.
For the historian, the motifs which ornament the sides of walls and towers have an additional appeal above their aesthetic satisfaction. The general form of the buildings is said to derive from the ancient city of Sanaa in Yemen, while specific motifs, such as the aforesaid merlons have their origins in the Ancient Near East. Ait Benhaddou deserves its status as UNESCO world heritage site, which should ensure its protection and preservation – and indeed there is a reassuring amount of building restoration happening all around.
Because of its beauty and relative accessibility, it’s a popular film location. But there are only a few families still resident. It’s possible to identify a typical house consisting of a kitchen, a bed and sitting room and occasionally a separate living room. Narrow stairs climb into the roof area used to hang washing, house cages for pigeon (a great delicacy in Moroccan cookery) or chickens and sometimes a goat shed.
|Duration||1 day (12 hours)||Tour Starts||Marrakech|
|Group Size||From 2 to 6||Tour Ends||Marrakech|
|Trip Type||Day Trip Explorer||Prices From||40€ pp|
|Operating Season||All Year Round||Departures||Daily|
Prices, Departures & Essential Booking Information
|40€ per person (based on 4 to 6 travellers)
55€ per person (based on 3 travellers)
80€ per person (based on 2 travellers)
|Included||Pick-up/drop-off at nearest parking to your Marrakech accommodation; travel in style in air-conditioned private vehicle with professional driver; English-speaking guide on arrival for short tour of the Ksabah.|
|Excluded||Lunch, drinks, entrance fees, tips and items of a personal nature.|
|Booking Deposit||15% (non refundable deposit)|
|Balance of Payment||on arrival in Marrakech|
|Price Validity||01 Jan 2016 to 31 Dec 2017|
|Departures||This day trip departs daily throughout the year and is subject to availability.|