Touring Morocco by Bike (12): Zagora – Ouarzazate

Zagora – Agdz – Ouarzazate (Draa Valley)

Zagora – Agdz – Ouarzazate (Draa Valley)

Zagora – Agdz – Ouarzazate (168km)

Draa River is the longest river in Morocco, the section from Zagora to Agdz is the most stunning. there are countless Kasbahs all along the river, together with the lush palmeraies and breathtaking mountains, plus the interesting contrast of the dry valley to a wide river during the time of irrigation, It was truly a feast for the eyes.

The height difference of Zagora and agdz is only 250m, road is gently uphill along the upstream river, it was a pleasure ride as there was not much traffic. Draa Valley is quite densely populated compare to other valleys in Southern Morocco, there are villages in every few km, although most of them were not very lively, but they all have some impressive Kasbahs, which really shows how prosperous of this area was. Some Kasbahs were well-preserved and people were still living, some were renovated as hotels, some were just abandoned and new ordinary houses were built nearby, the mixture of new and old houses does tell the decline of this once important caravan route.

I was really impressed by those huge Kasbahs in the beginning, but became a little bored because there were too many Kasbahs everywhere. The landscape is getting more beautiful near Agdz, there is a river turn near Tamezmoute, about 35km from Agdz, where you have a nice view for the valley, then the road goes along the tranquil river, and you can gaze the tajine-shaped (Moroccan traditional cuisine) Jebel Kissane from far.

There are many places worth to visit near Agdz, including Tamnougalt Ksar, Casbah Caïd Ali, Glaoui Kasbah and numerous unnamed Kasbah are around the city, but I was tired for this already…

supplementary information: there are two routes from Zagora to Agdz, I took the national road which goes on the west bank of the river. There is a dirt road on the east bank, which is more scenic and remote, it is about 130km and I guess it is not easy to complete in one day, I am not sure if you can find any restaurants or campsites on the road, but bridges were constructing to connect two sides of the river.


I was already looking forward to go to Ouarzazate when I was in Merzouga, there’s nothing special in Ouarzazate, just because there are some mountains road before Ouarzazate. There is a road pass of 1700m between Agdz and Ouarzazate, and Ouarzazate is at the foot of Altas which means that is the starting point to cross this amazing mountain range again.

Starting from Agdz, it is about 3% uphill for 30km. It was a pleasure ride as there’s not much traffic, leaving from the vibrant Draa Valley slowly and in fact became less scenic when I got close to the pass, but it is always delighting to see things become smaller and smaller when you are climbing the mountain. The road is constructed at the top of a narrow valley and finally I was able to gaze the Altas Range from far, the view was quite hazy, but a chain of snow-top peaks was still refreshing. I was following the winding road to the pass, and overlooked the beautiful village in the valley, with the snow mountains as a backdrop, I enjoyed this breathtaking view with some biscuits, that was really a great return for the climb.

The downhill road is steeper and I quickly reached Ait Saoun, the village at the bottom of this valley has the only restaurant on the road, and then a gently downhill road after a small climb, the surrounding area are also relatively flat, it’s not so impressive but the road always towards the snow cap Atlas, so I was heading to Ouarzazate with excitement.

There’s nothing special at Ouarzazate, The Taourirt Kasbah is too touristic, but I met a festival at night by change, which was a great fun.

Ouarzazate-mawlid from San Travel on Vimeo.

Information / Accommodation:

  • Zagora – Agdz
    • This is a popular tourist destination, but not many restaurants/kiosks on the road, because most of them come with their own vehicle, auberge/hotels are more common options for accommodation.
    • Starting from Zagora, Camping Agrgour (GPS: 30.384907, -5.851482) at km10, Camping Oued Draa (GPS: 30.406867, -5.869992) at km13, Camping Char at km60, near Tamkasselt. You may find restaurant at km15, Tinzouline at km35, Kasbah Oulad Othmane with accommodation at km50.
  • Agdz : Central market is near the bus station, and there is a small supermarket (GPS: 30.69379, -6.448238) near the roundabout in the center.
    • Jardin Tamnougalt atTamnougalt (30MAD)
      • GPS: 30.67514, -6.400452
      • Tel: 524843614
    • Camping Kasbah Palmeraie (40MAD, WI-FI, Hot shower)
      • GPS: 30.712036, -6.445604
      • Tel: 524843640
      • Located just next to Casbah Caïd Ali. Caid Ali was the lead of Agdz and the campsite was like a garden for the family. The plants are still recovering after a serious drought disaster few years ago, this place is full of history and the buildings around is pretty nice too, they are trying to make it as a culture exchange center.
  • Agdz – Ouarzazate : There is only one restaurant at Ait Saoun, 30km from Agdz. Dar Afoursanne (GPS: 30.860929, -6.846225, Tel: 0670947798) is at 10km before Ouarzazate
  • Ouarzazate
    • Camping-Bivouac La Palmeraie (70MAD, WI-FI, Hot Shower)
      • GPS: 30.903977, -6.898131
      • Website: http://camping-ouarzazate.com
      • Tel: 676666064
    • Camping Ouarzazate (30MAD, WIKI, Hot Shower)
      • GPS: 30.923077, -6.887418
      • Website: http://circuitsudmaroc.com/camping-ouarzazate.html
      • Tel: 524888322, 667760364, 676522944
      • Basic campsite and new faclities is contrucsting, about 20 minutes walk to the center.

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