Welcome to Aït-Ben-Haddou, the most picturesque town in Morocco. Aït-Ben-Haddou is a ksar built into a hillside. A ksar is a fortified village, and in this case, it is entirely made of wood and clay. You might recognize Aït-Ben-Haddou, as it is often used as a filming location. Famous films and series such as Game of Thrones and Gladiator were shot here, and when we visited, a commercial was being filmed for a postal company from Norway. In this article, we share our tips for visiting Aït-Ben-Haddou.
The History of Aït-Ben-Haddou
During your visit to Aït-Ben-Haddou, you’ll feel like you’ve traveled back in time. It was built around 750 AD by the Berbers and has remarkably remained well-preserved. It is named after the leader Ben-Haddou, and it is said that Ben-Haddou is buried beneath the kasbah. This ancient city served as a hub for trade routes between Marrakech and the Sahara.
Aït-Ben-Haddou is located in the Atlas Mountains and is conveniently situated in the middle of the route between the Todra Gorge and Marrakech. We recommend staying overnight in or near Aït-Ben-Haddou because this journey cannot be made in a single day, and you can witness the sunrise here in the morning. The sunrise at Aït-Ben-Haddou is absolutely phenomenal, and it is not crowded at that time. Some people choose to visit Aït-Ben-Haddou as a day trip from Marrakech. Personally, we would not recommend this as it is a 5-hour journey one way. However, you do drive through fantastic mountain landscapes, so it won’t be boring but quite tiring. Aït-Ben-Haddou is especially enjoyable to visit when you are on a round trip of Morocco.
Watching the Sunrise at Aït-Ben-Haddou
As we mentioned before, watching the sunrise at Aït-Ben-Haddou is incredibly beautiful, and we highly recommend it. Aït-Ben-Haddou is located by a river that is mostly dry throughout the year. From here, you have the best view of the ksar. Witness Aït-Ben-Haddou turning orange in the morning sun and then walk to the bridge to further explore Aït-Ben-Haddou at your own pace. Since you’re there early, the shopkeepers are still setting up their goods outside, and you can peacefully explore the alleys of Aït-Ben-Haddou. This way, you’ll have a much better experience than when large groups crowd the narrow streets during the day. In the middle of the ksar, you’ll find a small coffee shop with a fantastic view of Aït-Ben-Haddou. It doesn’t have a name, but it’s easy to find if you’ve seen the photo below. The door is marked with large white letters saying W.C.
Our favorite places near Aït-Ben-Haddou
Immerse yourself in a fairytale at a beautiful hotel in the heart of Aït-Ben-Haddou. Kasbah El Hajja is one of the few hotels within the ksar. The staff is incredibly friendly and will teach you all about Aït-Ben-Haddou. There is a fantastic rooftop terrace where you can enjoy views of the entire kasbah and the surroundings. This is a cozy boutique hotel with only 4 rooms. Located near Aït-Ben-Haddou, in a peaceful location, is the beautiful Riad Paradise of Silence. After exploring Aït-Ben-Haddou, you can take a refreshing dip in the swimming pool here. In the morning, you’ll be treated to a delicious breakfast, and for dinner, you don’t have to leave the premises. They can cook fantastic meals here! Don’t forget to step outside in the evening to witness the breathtaking starry sky.
|Kasbah El Hajja
|Riad Paradise of Silence