Bus from Marrakech to Ouarzazate through High Atlas
It’s a noisy station. Men are shouting all the time. They are shouting out the various destinations for the many busses that will leave Marrakech this morning. The waterman is ringing his bell and the busses are constantly honking at each other. The engines are revving and the drivers are gesturing and discussing intensely. About what I do not know! Salesmen of all kind are everywhere, between and on the busses. They sell paper napkins, sweets, jewelry and sunglasses, everything you might need on a trip of a five to six hours.
Our suitcases are stowed in under the bus together with a moped and some boxes of unknown content. It’s the third time we take a bus from Marrakech bus station and the same procedure has taken place every time. We meet up the day before and at least five men take active part in our attempt to buy tickets. Next morning we are picked up by one of them quite a bit from the station and followed to the right bus. How they know when we are coming and from which directions, is a riddle, but still very satisfactory to be so good taken care off. They do expect a tip for this service of course. It also obvious that this service is especially towards foreigners.
We are taking the bus across High Atlas to Ouarzazate. The bus trip takes 5 hours or more. We took this bus trip some years ago in December. Then it was snow in the mountains and danger of slippery roads. This time its April and lovely weather. We are looking forward to see High Atlas in a spring green suit.
Gare Routiere is the main bus station in Marrakech and situated just outside the Medina Walls along Boulevard 11 Janvier. A bus ticket to Ouarzazate costs around $50. Crossing High Atlas with bus gives you the opportunity to experience Moroccan daily life and impressive mountains. About halfway the bus stops for half an hour in a small village. Here you can get a delicious tagine and use the bathroom.
Not long after the stop the bus passes the highest point on the route, the Tizi n`Tichka pass at 2260 m latitude. From there the road goes down towards the highland plains outside Ouarzazate at 1160 m latitude. On the way in to Ouarzazate we are passing some of the international film studios and can see film sets in the distance. Ouarzazate has become a famous film city and had an enormous growth the last years. The city is completely unrecognizable during the last years, since we were here 7 years ago.