Best Morocco Travel

Kasbah Ait Ben Haddou what to see and do

Kasbah Ait Ben Haddou what to see and do

Kasbah Ait Ben Haddou what to see and do

Ait Ben Haddou, also known as Ait Ben Haddou, is a spectacular kasbah built as a village of clay and stone, surrounded by imposing walls. Located about 190 kilometers from Marrakech, this fortress is a popular excursion for tourists visiting the “red city”. It is considered one of the best places in Morocco and a must for those who want to explore and have great experiences in the desert and south of the North African country.

The kasbahs, including the one at Ait Ben Haddou, are architectural complexes built in adobe and mud, crowned by defensive towers, similar to medieval castles. In the past, these kasbahs were large Berber villages located between mountains they call it the road of a 1000 kasbah on the way to the Sahara Desert, surrounded by walls to defend their homes, crops, & palm groves. These people formed large agrarian and mercantile communities with a particular vision of Islam. The Ait Ben Haddou Kasbah is one of the best preserved and most impressive in Morocco, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1987.

Located in the Ouarzazate region, this fortress is an outstanding example of the traditional architecture of the area of ​​the Draa, Todgha, Dades, and Sous valleys. What is most striking about Ait Ben Haddou is its impressive strategic location facing a mountain, surrounded by angular towers and a defensive wall that protects it from possible attacks. The construction of the kasbah is a faithful reflection of the way of life of the Berber peoples, who inhabited this area of ​​the Moroccan desert.

Although the exact date on which Ait Ben Haddou was built is not known, what is known is that this fortress is very old and has been protected by the authorities since 1953. When visiting Ait Ben Haddou, it is possible to walk through its clay and stone streets, admire its buildings, and discover its history through the many legends that are told about it. In addition, it is possible to climb its towers and enjoy stunning views of the surrounding valley and mountains.

In short, Ait Ben Haddou is a magical place that will fall in love with everyone who visits it. Its beauty, history, and uniqueness make it an obligatory stop for all those wishing to discover the Moroccan Sahara and the south of the North African country.

How to get to tha Kasbah ait Ben Haddou

To get to Ait Ben Haddou from Marrakech, one of the most popular options is to travel by car or join an organized excursion. The car journey takes around 3 and a half hours and passes through the High Atlas, reaching an altitude of 2,260 meters at the Tizi n’Tichka mountain pass.

Alternatively, you can take a bus, but keep in mind that the hours and frequency might be more limited. Supratours and CTM are the bus companies that offer this service.

For a hassle-free experience, consider booking an organized tour of Morocco, which usually includes transportation to Ait Ben Haddou, a guided visit to the Kasbah, and possibly other nearby attractions like Ouarzazate or the Dades Valley. It’s essential to research the available options and prices beforehand to choose the one that best suits your needs and preferences.

Kasbah Ait Ben Haddou what to see and do

What to See in Ait Ben Haddou

The Kasbah of Ait Ben Haddou continues to captivate visitors with its extraordinary architecture, historical significance, and breathtaking panoramic vistas. Perched atop a hill, it was strategically designed to shield itself from weather elements and potential threats while serving as a crossroad along nomadic routes in the Moroccan desert.

Its allure extends beyond reality, as Ait Ben Haddou has played a starring role in numerous iconic movies and TV series. From Lawrence of Arabia to Game of Thrones, this kasbah’s timeless charm and architectural grandeur have graced the silver screen, leaving an indelible mark on the hearts of movie enthusiasts worldwide.

As one explores this remarkable site, one can envision the Temple of Jerusalem in Jesus of Nazareth, feel the mystique of ancient Egypt in The Mummy, or witness epic battles in Gladiator and Prince of Persia. Game of Thrones fans will recognize it as the scenic backdrop for the city of Yunkai in the third season of the celebrated TV series.

Ait Ben Haddou’s ability to transport visitors to different worlds through film and television is a testament to its enduring appeal and artistic significance. This unique kasbah stands as a living testament to Morocco’s cultural heritage and continues to draw travelers seeking an unforgettable journey through time and imagination.

Ait Ben Haddou’s allure as a movie and TV filming location stems from its natural beauty and rich historical and architectural significance. Surrounded by walls and two gates controlling access, the kasbah is divided into a public area housing a square, mosque, and Koranic school, and a private area featuring noble families’ ornate houses. Each house’s unique decorations and structure distinguish them from ordinary dwellings.

Beyond the kasbah, the Mosque showcases typical Islamic architectural elements, while the Cemetery displays tombs adorned with colorful mosaics. The impressive Palace, located atop the kasbah, houses rooms adorned with Moroccan art and crafts, offering an insight into the region’s heritage.

A visit to Ait Ben Haddou also reveals its thriving local handicrafts, with shops and workshops offering carpets, ceramics, jewelry, and textiles. Strolling through the streets and alleys, one can admire the intricately carved doors, semicircular arches, and wooden latticework balconies, providing a sensory-rich experience.

Travelers have the option to explore the kasbah independently or hire a knowledgeable guide to unveil its history and intriguing details. If choosing the guided option, it’s advisable to agree on the price beforehand. Guides can often be found by inquiring about hotels in the new part of the city.

In summary, a visit to Ait Ben Haddou is an extraordinary journey into Morocco history, culture, and craftsmanship. The awe-inspiring architecture, breathtaking panoramic views, and an array of fascinating sites make it an essential destination for travelers seeking an authentic Moroccan experience.

Ait Benhaddou

What to Do in Ait Ben Haddou

Visiting the Kasbah: Exploring the main attraction, the Kasbah is a must in Ait Ben Haddou. You can choose to wander through its streets and alleys on your own, taking in the ancient architecture and rich history. Alternatively, hiring a knowledgeable tour guide can provide you with deeper insights into the fascinating past and intricate details of this remarkable place.

Enjoying Panoramic Views: From the hilltop where the kasbah stands, breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding valley await. The picturesque landscape makes for a perfect backdrop to capture stunning photographs and immerse yourself in the awe-inspiring scenery.

Go up on Valley Hikes: The Ait Ben Haddou region boasts beautiful natural landscapes and opportunities for hiking in the nearby Draa, Todgha, Dades, and Sous valleys. You can opt for camel rides or 4×4 vehicle tours to explore the diverse terrains and charming villages in the area.

Buying Handicrafts: The kasbah and its vicinity are home to numerous workshops and shops where you can purchase authentic Moroccan handicrafts. Ranging from intricately woven carpets to elegant ceramics, exquisite jewelry, and vibrant textiles, these souvenirs make for cherished reminders of your time in Morocco.

Savoring Local Gastronomy: Relish the delights of Moroccan cuisine by dining in restaurants and cafeterias within the kasbah or nearby villages. Treat your taste buds to flavorful dishes such as couscous, tajine (slow-cooked stews), and refreshing mint tea, all representative of the country’s culinary richness.

Hiking in the Region: Nature enthusiasts and hiking lovers can explore various routes in the Ait Ben Haddou region, uncovering the area’s natural wonders. Whether it’s a stroll or a more challenging trek, getting yourself in the breathtaking landscapes promises an unforgettable experience.

Kasbah Ait Ben Haddou what to see and do

shopping and crafts

Ait Ben Haddou is a haven for finding exquisite local handicrafts and products. With an array of rug shops, jewelry stores, and souvenir stalls, visitors can immerse themselves in the rich craftsmanship of the region. Artisans at workshops demonstrate their skills, showcasing the production of hand-woven Berber rugs, a traditional craft passed down through generations. The marketplace also offers a delightful selection of silver and gold jewelry, finely crafted leather goods, beautiful ceramics, and warm woolen fabrics.

Beyond handicrafts, Ait Ben Haddou’s market boasts an assortment of local spices and food products. Argan oil, renowned for its nourishing properties, dates, dried figs, and the famous tajine, a staple in Moroccan cuisine, tantalizes visitors’ senses.

When shopping in Ait Ben Haddou, it’s essential to embrace the local custom of haggling. Bargaining over prices is a customary practice, allowing visitors to reach a fair deal. While vendors may start with higher initial prices, polite negotiation often leads to finding the right price for both parties. This interaction adds to the unique experience of shopping in the vibrant markets of Ait Ben Haddou.

Where to Eat in Ait Ben Haddou

In Ait Ben Haddou, an array of restaurants awaits, offering a delightful fusion of local and international flavors. Among the notable dining establishments are:

  • Kasbah Valentine Restaurant: Highly rated on TripAdvisor, this cozy spot serves a diverse selection of authentic Moroccan and African dishes, delivered with warm and friendly service.
  • Auberge Azaddou Tamlalt: This restaurant blends Moroccan and Mediterranean cuisines in a pleasant setting, offering generous and delectable dishes, including vegetarian options.
  • Restaurant Bagdad Café: Discover genuine Moroccan flavors in a tranquil ambiance, where dishes are artfully presented and portions are abundant.
  • La Terrazza: For a change of taste, this Italian restaurant serves a tempting array of pizzas, pasta, and salads on a terrace boasting breathtaking views of the valley.
  • La Fibule D’or Restaurant: A charming venue for savoring Moroccan and Mediterranean delights in a welcoming atmosphere, accompanied by amicable service and reasonable prices.

Overall, Ait Ben Haddou’s restaurants cater to diverse tastes at affordable prices. Don’t miss the chance to indulge in typical dishes such as tagine, harira, and couscous, and relish the delectable Moroccan pastries, all complemented by the renowned hospitality of the region.

Accommodations in Ait Ben Haddou

In Ait Ben Haddou, visitors have a diverse range of accommodation choices to suit their preferences and budgets. One popular option is to stay in a traditional kasbah, with some restored and transformed into boutique hotels. These kasbah hotels offer rooms adorned with traditional Moroccan décor, featuring arches, mosaics, and hand-woven rugs. Many provide on-site restaurants and terraces, and some even boast swimming pools for added comfort.

Another delightful option is to choose a riad, traditional Moroccan houses transformed into hotels or guest houses. Riads offer an authentic experience, with central courtyards featuring fountains and lush plants, along with terraces boasting breathtaking panoramic views. They typically offer rooms with private bathrooms and may provide meal services and massages.

For budget-conscious travelers, more affordable accommodations like pensions or hostels are available. These options offer basic rooms with shared bathrooms and often have on-site restaurants and common areas for socializing with fellow travelers. Whether travelers seek a luxurious kasbah hotel experience, an authentic riad stay, or budget-friendly lodgings, Ait Ben Haddou has accommodation options to cater to every traveler’s needs.

Desert Tours from Marrakech

Discover Morocco’s mesmerizing landscapes with our thrilling desert tours from Marrakech. Enjoy yourself in the Sahara desert of Morocco and experience the traditional Berber lifestyle, exploring historic towns along the way. Tailored to diverse preferences and budgets, our trips offer luxury with opulent accommodations, exquisite cuisine, and exclusive activities. Alternatively, opt for budget-friendly options, enjoying cozy lodgings, delicious local food, and unforgettable moments. Our dedicated team ensures a memorable journey through Morocco captivating desert scenery, leaving you with cherished memories of this remarkable adventure. Embrace the beauty and culture of the Sahara on an unforgettable experience with us.