During our adventure in Morocco, we wanted to get out of Marrakech. Not wanting to fuss about with the responsibility of doing our own driving, we found a reputable-looking tour website and booked four seats in a commercial passenger van to travel from Marrakech to Ouarzazate. You’ve seen Ouarzazate; numerous movies and television shows that feature desert scenes are filmed there (including Lawrence of Arabia). On the way we were to stop at Ait Benhaddou, a fortified hillside city and UNESCO site. But before you arrive at either of these gorgeous locales, you must first cross over the Atlas Mountains.
The tour website we used to book said that the road from Marrakech to Ouarzazate would take roughly 2.5 hours, which was corroborated by a Google Maps cross-reference. This doesn’t include the following: an hour where you’re picked up from your hotel and brought to a central spot, where you and your fellow passengers are shuffled around a little while the drivers decide who will take which group; any sort of traffic delays (though your driver will careen around those like nothing); herds of livestock and small mountain villages with traffic congestion that seem to disappear as quickly as they arose; and finally, it does not include breaks for you or the other people in your bus to vomit. The final tally clocked us at just under five hours each way–and the way back was in the pitch-black of night. There are few lights on the mountain road. Read More »