O ksar of Ait-Benhaddou is a kind of king among the ksour Moroccan people. It is also part of the list of UNESCO heritage in Morocco.
In its genesis, like my friend João Leitão explains No. website Morocco, one ksar is a "small fortified village with the purpose of protecting the populations of the intempéries, of bandits, and nomadic tribes who assaulted the oases after the harvests. " In other words, it is a community strength.
Os ksour are built in mud and clay bricks and are very common in southern Morocco, including in the region of Ouarzazate. This is precisely where Ait-Benhaddou is located. the best preserved ksar from Morocco.
My visit to the ksar of Ait-Benhaddou
Car parked in the village of Ait-Benhaddou, the taxi driver Hmad took me to a huge restaurant, jammed by tour buses. I did not seem to understand how it was possible for me to prefer small, no-fuss places, and argued with the quality of food and poor sanitation in simpler restaurants.
The most I could do without being unpleasant was to go to a hotel-restaurant across the street, almost as expensive and touristy as the first, but rather quieter.
When we left the restaurant, the heat gave no respite. It was clear that he should have left Ouarzazate much earlier (or much later); but there being nothing to do, the solution was to make the most of the visit to Ait-Benhaddou. He had waited so many years to finally be there, that it would not be the inclement sun to ruin the experience!
And so we arrived at the pedestrian access bridge to ksar. To my right, I identified the spot by the river where I had seen hundreds of the most beautiful photographs of Ait-Benhaddou, with the ksar reflected in the puddles of the river; but I resisted the temptation and crossed the bridge.
On the other side, I passed a few small groups and guides, and I burst into the streets with the family. ksar, slope up. We climbed, following steep alleys, some of which with visibly recovered walls and façades.
At any rate, my parents gave up. Maybe it was the heat, the slope, or everything together - but the truth was they were not comfortable and decided to return. They were going to sit in a cafe while they waited for us.
So we went up to the fortification at the top of the hill, where we could appreciate the views over the valley Ounila. The children held up well, but the heat was too much (and, as a beginner, I had forgotten to bring water). In addition, I had my parents waiting and Hmad would take us back to Ouarzazate, so I did not stay for long in the fortress.
Shortly after, we ksar Ait-Benhaddou quietly but without wasting big time in shops and cafes. We went to find my parents drinking tea by the bridge, under an awning in the company of local women.
Visiting Ait-Benhaddou was an old dream, and here I was, in the flesh! But he felt a mixture of emotions: if, on the one hand, it was a dream come true, on the other hand he was not totally satisfied. It must be magical to the first rays of sun of a new day, at dusk or at night, when the town becomes more mysterious and practically without tourists. Now I know! Next time, I have to stay ksar.
The village of Ait-Benhaddou is about 30km from Ouarzazate. For those who travel on a more controlled budget, know that there are shared taxis (grand taxi) that allow you to reach the ksar economically. Alternatively, in the absence of buses, use a rented car or go by taxi.
Where to stay
I stayed in the Dar Rita, of the Portuguese brothers João and Rita Leitão, and I strongly recommend it. It is located in a traditional district of Ouarzazate, not far from the center; and is, most likely, one of the most welcoming hotels in the city.
If I went today, I would stay in Ait-Benhaddou. In this way, I believe I would have known the ksar in a much deeper way, taking advantage of the tranquility of the place after the tourists have left Ait-Benhaddou. In this case, few accommodations are as praised as the Bagdad Café (it's truly extraordinary)!
Other interesting hostels are the Paradise of Silence, in Dar Mouna La Source and Maison d'hôtes Dar El Haja, the latter located inside the ksar Ait-Benhaddou. For other accommodation options in Ait-Benhaddou, use the link below.
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