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Ait Benhaddou

MOROCCO | Tuesday, 19 October 2010 | Views [344]

On the road to the kasbah

On the road to the kasbah

Unfortunately the weather took a turn for the worse so we decided not to do the four hour hike to the Sidi Chamarouch shrine in order to arrive at the Kasbah of Ait Benhaddou with enough daylight to check it out. This 'fortified city', or ksar, along the former caravan route between the Sahara and Marrakech is a UNESCO World Heritage site where numerous movies have been filmed, including “Lawrence of Arabia”, “Gladiator”, "The Mummy" & "Alexander". The drive to Ait Benhaddou was a bit scary as it took us through the highest Atlas road pass of Tizi-n-Tichka along quite narrow roads with crazy drivers who didn’t seem know what brakes are or which side of the road they were supposed to be on! Luckily our driver was taking it easy after we asked Khalid to tell him to slow down!

We arrived mid-afternoon and headed up to the Kasbah via a backdoor track to avoid the guys at the front demanding “payment” to enter the fort. We viewed the open area where the training fights in Gladiator were filmed and then headed up several flights of stairs for another awesome view of the village and surrounding desolate landscape.

We returned to the very cute mud-walled hotel via the local shops and I bought an alabaster fired camel for a third of what the seller was charging so I was happy with my bargaining. We were all looking forward to crashing in an actual bed after the hard mattresses on the floor of the gite. Before dinner we watched a demonstration on how to make tagine and couscous by the host’s wife. The couscous is made from scrap and takes over 1.5 hours! I think I will stick with the box stuff that takes 3 minutes thanks!

Tags: ait benhaddou, kasbahs, tizi-n-tichka

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