Planning a Trip
Ouarzazate is one of the major transport hubs of central Morocco and is well connected to the rest of the country by air or land. Most travelers arrive as part of an organized tour or on a self-drive holiday. Those traveling by public transport can easily reach the city by bus or grand taxi from the major cities of Agadir, Casablanca, and Marrakech, as well as the closer regional centers of Tinihir (from Er Rachidia or Erfoud) and Taroudannt.
By Plane -- Ouarzazate's small Taourirt Airport (tel. 024/882383) is only 2km (1 1/4 miles) northeast of the town. Inside the arrivals/departure building is a Banque Populaire bureau de change, but it operates with very sporadic hours and isn't to be counted upon. There is also a small cafe and souvenir shop. There is no bus service from the airport, but petits taxis are always around to meet incoming flights and will charge around 30dh ($3.75/£1.90) to take you to your hotel or into town. They will only accept dirham, but will stop at a bank in town or you can usually exchange money at your hotel. Most hotels will organize an airport pickup if you arrange this with them before your arrival. Remember that petits taxis are only authorized to travel within the town's environs, so if you intend to move on without staying in Ouarzazate, they can only take you as far as the bus or grand taxi station.
By Bus -- Ouarzazate is well served by the country's bus network, and buses arrive at least once a day from Agadir (8 hr.; 90dh-110dh/$11-$14/£5.65-£6.90); Casablanca (9 hr.; 130dh-140dh/$16-$18/£8.15-£8.75); Erfoud (7 hr.; 90dh/$11/£5.65); Er Rachidia (6 hr.; 65dh/$8.15/£4.05); Marrakech (5 hr.; 65dh-70dh/$8.15-$8.75/£4.05-£4.40); Fes (14 hr.; 150dh/$19/£9.40); M'hamid (7 1/2 hr.; 60dh/$7.50/£3.75); Taroudannt (5 hr.; 65dh-75dh/$8.15-$9.40/£4.10-£4.70); Tinerhir (5 1/2 hr.; 60dh/$7.50/£3.75); and Zagora (4 1/2 hr.; 40dh/$5/£2.50). CTM (tel. 024/882427) buses operate from their own station in the center of town on avenue Mohammed V.
All other bus companies operate from Mahta gare routière, 2km (1 1/4 miles) northwest of town off the N9 road to Marrakech, from where it's an easy (though often hot) 20-minute walk into the town center, or you can catch a petit taxi for around 10dh ($1.25/65p).
By Grand Taxi -- Grands taxis for Marrakech (4 hr.; 80dh/$10/£5) and Zagora (3 hr.; 65dh/$8.15/£4.05) operate from the gare routière, while those heading for Zagora depart from both the gare routière and the satellite suburb of Tabounte, across the river and south of the city center.
By Car -- Ouarzazate is fairly easy to navigate thanks to the one main road, avenue Mohammed V, which runs the length of the town coming from either Marrakech or Tinerhir and from which the majority of hotels and restaurants can be accessed. About halfway along avenue Mohammed V, opposite the post office, is the well-signposted turnoff south to Zagora and the Dra Valley.
The Delegation du Tourisme, at the turnoff to Zagora on avenue Mohammed V (tel. 024/882485; fax 024/885290), is open Monday to Friday from 8:30am to 4:30pm, but doesn't offer much more than a list of the hotels and restaurants in Ouarzazate.
Ouarzazate is a relatively small city, and its center is very easy to navigate. Some travelers don't even venture out of their hotel while in Ouarzazate, but if you do, most services and sights are along avenue Mohammed V, the main road running west-east from Marrakech to Tinerhir, and the small rue du Marché running parallel 1 block north. Petits taxis operate within the city and can be useful if you are wishing to travel during the heat of the day between the Taourirt Kasbah and your hotel.