May 2009

Part 9: Taourirt and Telouet

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Ouarzazate and Taourirt (May 14th, day 17)

To Ouarzazate

After exploring the Dades gorge that morning we headed to Ouarzazate, the town that is the entrance gate to the Great South. Previously we had turned south here when coming from Marrakesh, so we'd now closed our loop. Ouarzazate is a nice place and not as touristy as you'd think. After checking into a hotel we visited the kasbah Taourirt on the edge of town.


The kasbah of Taourirt dates from the 17th century and is in much better condition than most kasbahs because Hollywood has used it as a backdrop in several movies, Star Wars among them. The kasbah includes a kasr (castle) and a village inside the walls.

Taourirt in Ouarzazate Taourirt in Ouarzazate
Low ceiling Lotte in hallway Nice light
View from a courtyard Inside the village

In the village we were once again being harassed by locals who tried to steer us around, blah. The town of Ouarzazate was nice though, that evening we could walk around without hassle there.

Telouet and Atlas (May 15th, day 18)

This was the last day of our 8-day car trip. We left Ouarzazate in the morning and drove into the Atlas, taking the turn to the kasbah of Telouet right before the Tizi n'Tichka pass.


At the start of the road to Telouet, which is 20km long, a young local guy asked if he could drive along, saying he lived in the village Telouet. This meant we couldn't really make stops to enjoy the landscape, but we could do so on the way back. All the time we were saying that we hoped this guy really just needed a lift and wasn't going to stick to us, but surely enough once in Telouet he walked into the kasbah with us and started guiding us until I told him off. Blah again.

Anyway, Telouet was the heartland of the Glaoui clan, which ruled Morocco as puppets for the French colonial authority and was much hated by the people. When Morocco became independent in 1953, the local people destroyed much of the Glaoui kasbah which has since been left to fall in ruins.

Entrance to the kasbah of Telouet Entrance to the kasbah of Telouet
Entrance to the kasbah of Telouet The main building in the kasbah of Telouet

When he was in power Pasha Glaoui had recruited 300 artisans to turn the kasbah into a palace full of splendour, and one hall (his receiving court) has been saved from destruction so we can still admire the artisans' work. It is perhaps the most splendid that we saw in all of Morocco.

The receiving court of the kasbah still has its ornamentation The receiving court of the kasbah of Telouet
The receiving court of the kasbah of Telouet The receiving court of the kasbah of Telouet

Some details...

Inside the kasbah of Telouet Inside the kasbah of Telouet
Inside the kasbah of Telouet Inside the kasbah of Telouet
Inside the kasbah of Telouet Inside the kasbah of Telouet

We could also get on the roof of the kasbah and enjoy the views.

On the roof of the kasbah of Telouet Round green tiles
Stork's nests on the tower Landscape around the kasbah of Telouet The village of Telouet

Crossing the Atlas

We crossed the Atlas by the Tizi n'Tichka pass once again. Though we'd passed here before I couldn't resist making several more stops to enjoy the landscape.

Atlas mountains Atlas mountains
A gay goat along the road
Atlas mountains Atlas mountains


As you may remember, driving out of Marrakesh had been quite a stressful experience because I ended up driving the wrong way in a one-way street and then had to make a huge detour in uncharted urban territory. I was sure I'd find the same street coming from the opposite direction now, which would make it easy to drive straight to our hotel in the center, but somehow we ended up driving into a one way street again, and once again we had to drive all around this big city and find our way on compass and instinct. No prob, after half an hour or so we found a street that was on our little map.

The car rental company hardly checked the car and handled everything correctly, very satisfied with them. Widad is their name, but we'd just arranged this car in hotel Central Palace. We spent another night there, now in a bad room without a bath room because they were almost full. That evening we enjoyed one more meal on the Djemaa el-Fna, next morning we were off to Casablanca.

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Vivien Sat 13 Nov 2010 @ 21:36
Beautiful photos and well narrated travelog. It gave us a good preview of the trip we planned for this April. We are planning a twelve day trip to Morocco following a similar itinerary. Thank you for sharing.

Curtis Reynolds Wed 28 Jul 2010 @ 04:20
Great photos... However I lived in Morocco in 1973 and my photos are also impressive. Give me a little fed back.


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