From the oasis to the desert… through the High Atlas

The road from Marrakesh to Ouarzazate, iwas one of the most remarkable things in this Morocco trip. In less that 200 kilometers we leave the green plains of Marrakesh, filled up with orange, pomegranate and olive trees and reach Ouarzazate, where the landscape shows up dry and arid, preparing us for the arriving of the desert that waits for us as we move further East.

The road N9, cross the High Atlas Range reaching the 2260 meters high when it cross the Tizi-n-Tichka high pass, that in October are already covered with snow.

Through the bus windows we can watch the change of the colors of the mountains, with a wide pallets of greens and browns, where occasionally small groups of houses nest in the less steep slopes. Behind, farther and farther, are the peaks of the snow-capped mountains. It’s a long journey of almost 8 hours, where the changes of light enhance the tones of the landscape, making the last part of the trip, on the East slopes of the Atlas, looking like an hypnotic sequence of smooth hills where we can find all the shades of brown characteristic of this almost desert area.

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Road N9… around one our driving away from Marrakwsh, no the way to Tizi-n-Tichka high pass

Hight Atlas... road N9 from Marrakesh to Ouarzazate
Hight Atlas… road N9 from Marrakesh to Ouarzazate

Hight Atlas... road N9 from Marrakesh to Ouarzazate
Hight Atlas… road N9 from Marrakesh to Ouarzazate

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How to go from Marrakesh to Ouarzazate

Despite the good Morocco railway network, the train doesn’t reach the Eastern part of the country, where is the desert and te big dunes, so the best alternative are the long distance buses. Both SupraTours and CTM provide a good service, with modern and comfortable buses, and both practice more or less the same prices.

The CTM bus from Marrakesh to Ouarzazate costs 90 Dirham, plus 5 Dirham for the luggage. Is advisable to buy the ticket one day in advance, online or directly at the CTM bus terminal/office.

CTM bus departure from its own terminal not far from the train station, in the modern part of Marrakesh, around 5 kilometers away from the medina. Gate Supratours is also close by.

The trip takes around 3 hours. If you take the CTM bus it will drop you at the CTM gare that is very close by the main square of Ouarzazate. The Supratours has its terminal at Gare Routiere (mains bus terminal) about 2 km from the center.

 

N9 High Atlas Road
N9 High Atlas Road

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