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Dades Gorge and Ouarzazate

December 16, 2021

Back down the switchback road to Dades this morning, and a stop at Abdou’s parents’ house for tea. We found his mother harvesting olives from a tree in front, and Abdou took us on a short tour of the garden, with its many fruit and olive trees. All seven of the kids live far away from the family home, so mom and dad rattle around in their six-bedroom house in town. Below is the highway through the gorge. I appreciated Zacchariah’s careful driving!

These guys love to have their photos taken. The image below isn’t very good, but I was determined to get a shot of the nomad trucks hauling their sheep, in this case whizzing down this treacherous road.

The region is known for its Damascus roses, and each May there’s a rose festival in an adjoining town. We stopped for a quick visit at the distillery, where rose oil (very precious at US$17,000 a liter), rose water, and all manner of lotions and potions are made. The distillery resembles a winery, with its stainless steel vats. No one was working today.

A nearby town was holding its Sunday market, so we stopped to have a look. Amid what looked like chaos to me, folks were picking up pretty much anything they needed, from produce to fish to jewelry to clothing to shoes. The image on the bottom is a typical display of shoes and clothing, while the vendor next door tried to keep things more tidy. These tok tok trucks were ubiquitous.

Ouarzazate is known as the Hollywood of Morocco, because there are several movie studios here. I had a tour of Atlas Studios, which produced, among many other films, Queen of the Desert, Gladiator, The Passion of Christ, Kudun, Cleopatra and Asteryx and Obelisk, along with some James Bond films and scenes from History Channel and National Geographic documentaries.

  1. Mary Madden permalink

    Amazing windy road….glad you got a short of it

  2. Cheri Anderson permalink

    Great photos of this area, Diana! That’s quite a road! So glad you toured the studio, too.

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