Aït Ben Haddou is one of the most famous ksars in Morocco because it is impressive, rather well preserved and perfectly representative of what a ksar is. It is also famous for having been the location of several films, including the famous Gladiator.
Aït Ben Haddou: A Bit of History About Ksar ...
Aït Ben Haddou is a ksar that was built in the Unila valley. This valley was one of the crossing points between Marrakech and the south of the Sahara for caravans.
The oldest elements of Aït Ben Haddou date back to the 17th century. The Ksar of Aït Ben Haddou has retained its authenticity in terms of organization, construction but also materials. He uses red earth, very common in the south of Morocco.
Within the ksar (or ksour) of Aït Ben Haddou, we find among others, a mosque, two cemeteries (a Muslim cemetery and a Jewish cemetery), a public square, an attic and other elements related to culture and grain harvest. The granary made it possible to store the harvested cereals in the event of drought for the following years, a common phenomenon in this region of Morocco. The ksar of Aït Ben Haddou also has a caravanserai which made it possible to accommodate the caravanners during their long crossing between Marrakech and the south of the Sahara.
The Ksar of Aït Ben Haddou is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is an example of southern Moroccan architecture but also a model of life and organization in this region of Morocco at the time.
Visit Aït Ben Haddou, The Most Beautiful Ksar In Morocco!
To visit Aït Ben Haddou, it is preferable to have a car as in most parts of Morocco outside the big cities. There are 2 roads to get to Aït Ben Haddou. The first possibility is via Telouet leaving the N9 about a hundred kilometers from Marrakech. This road is longer and not always paved, 4 × 4 preferable but not essential …
Map of Ait Ben Haddou in Morocco
The second, much simpler possibility is to leave the N9 about thirty kilometers from Ouarzazate. You can take this paved road with a classic passenger car! There are about ten kilometers between the N9 and Aït Ben Haddou. A very small detour 🙂
Ocher earth wall in Aït Ben Haddou
Once you arrive in Aït Ben Haddou you can park your car in the “new” village of Aït Ben Haddou, then cross this village to arrive at the ksar of Aït Ben Haddou. A small wadi is to be crossed in winter but in summer it is totally dry. In winter, you can cross it by walking (a few centimeters of water and sandbags are placed in the wadi to make a sort of path) or on a donkey (for a few Dh, if available, this business seems to disappear. ). Finally, a bridge also provides access, but it is less charming 🙂
At many entrances to Aït Ben Haddou, a famous scam is still present. The entrance to Aït Ben Haddou is normally free but people wait at different entrances and ask you 10 Dh to return with a false sign and all that goes with it… Go on your way, take a tour of the ksar of Aït Ben Haddou and you can enter for free at the main entrance.
You can then stroll through the ksar of Aït Ben Haddou, in its small alleys between houses made of ocher earth, typical of southern Morocco.
You also have the possibility of climbing to the top of the mountain on which the village of Aït Ben Haddou is attached.
At the top of the ksar, at the level of the last dwellings (before the climb to the top of the rock), a small terrace has been fitted out with a few tables to be able to drink a glass of mint tea, while admiring the panorama from the heights of ‘Ait Ben Haddou!
Tea with a view at Ait Ben Haddou
Or, on the way back, you also have the possibility of stopping in one of the restaurants to enjoy a mint tea while admiring the ksar of Aït Ben Haddou from the new village, the view is magnificent. All the restaurants on the correct side of the road have a terrace with a view of the ksar.
Aït Ben Haddou is also famous because it served as the setting for some films including the famous film Gladiator. Other well-known films have also chosen Aït Ben Haddou, such as Babel with Brad Pitt, Alexandre or Lawrence of Arabia.
Spending half a day in Aït Ben Haddou is very pleasant, between a stroll in the ksar or around the ksar of Aït Ben Haddou.
If you are traveling to southern Morocco, take this detour via Ait Ben Haddou. This ksar is impressive and although touristy, it is one of the most beautiful in southern Morocco. There is a good chance that you will take the Marrakech / Ouarzazate road during your trip in the south of Morocco. Going to Ait Ben Haddou will only take you a short detour.
Remember that Aït Ben Haddou is one of the must-sees on a road trip in Morocco and it is clearly the most beautiful ksar in the kingdom!
If you are planning to go to Aït Ben Haddou and have any questions on the subject, please feel free to comment on this post. I respond quickly to comments posted on the blog! Our discussions will certainly be useful to other readers of the blog who also plan to include the ksar of Aït Ben Haddou in their travel itinerary in Morocco!