The Souss-Massa-Draa region is one of sixteen regions of Morrocco and the capital of the region is Agadir. However each region is further sub divided into provinces and Ouarzazate is the capital of the easterly Souss-Massa-Draa province of Ouarzazate.
The city has a population of approximately 53,000 making it the countries 51st most populated city. This relatively small population has kept the city compact and relatively charming. The city has two main functions for non residents. The first is to act as a gateway to the Sahara which is easily accessible through the town of Zagora.
The other main purpose is to support the nearby film studios. These film studios are significant to the world film industry and films such as "The Living Daylights", "Gladiator", "Salmon Fishing in Yemen" and "The Mummy" were all filmed here. Consequently the town has a remarkable number of upmarket hotels and the money generated from the film industry has had an impact on the town.
More recently the city has received attention for its role in sustainable energy with his Majesty King Mohammed VI recently presiding over the signing of an agreement for the financing, construction and management of the first solar energy plant of Ouarzazate; worth 800 million dollars. This is a vast solar energy project which maximises on the beautiful clear sunshine which is such a draw for the film industry.
However, for guests staying in Marrakech the city of Ouarzazate's main attraction is the three hour journey, on a fairly winding road, through the Atlas mountains into a pre-desert landscape. The journey is truly stunning with the reward of a decent meal in Ouarzazate before taking a return journey.
For those who wish to see this for themselves we can assist in arranging a luxury car and driver. Or alternatively for the more adventurous who wish to experience the Sahara we can assist in securing accommodation in Ouarzazate or we can assist you in finding 2-3 day desert trips out of Marrakech.
Riad Al-Bushra Home Page www.riadalbushra.com