Ouarzazate has stood at the edge of the Sahara desert for hundreds of years. A city of palm trees, sandy streets and blocky, fort-like buildings, this is the Morocco seen in a hundred movies. The name Ouarzazate comes from the Amazigh for ‘quiet place’, and compared to many of its fellow Moroccan towns and cities, there is a certain calm to be found here. Inside its walls you’ll find new hotels and complexes, plus film studios which have made the most of their photogenic location. Outside the city is the reason most people come to Ouarzazate: the stunning Sahara. Take a trek out to the nearby villages and kasbahs, see the breathtaking Todra Gorge, and marvel at one of the world’s great natural wonders.

if you’re looking for one of Ouarzazate’s cultural festivals then May is definitely the time to visit the Door of the Desert.
The first festival to look out for is The Rose Festival. Just a short drive from Ouarzazate is Kalaat M’Gouna, the rose capital of Morocco. Miles and miles of rosebushes grow around this desert oasis, a wildly colourful sight that fills the air with a heady perfume. Rosewater is highly prized throughout the kingdom (it takes 3,000 kilos of petals to make just one litre) and people celebrate the harvest with dancing and singing through the night in the souk. Through a rain of rose petals a Rose Queen is elected to reign over the crop.
And like many places in Morocco, August is the month for Moussem – Ouarzazate celebrates Sidi Daoud with a pilgrimage, a special souk for craftsmen, and plenty of song and dance.
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