as i mentioned in my last post, the road to the sahara is a long one. not only is it lengthy, it goes directly through the atlas mountains, which is windy and pretty slow. if coming from marrakech, many people stop in ouarzazate for a few reasons: the name itself [ouarzazate] means "without noise" and it is a very calm and peaceful city, half way between the sahara and marrakech. it's also home to aït benhaddou – the most famous kasbah in morocco. this striking example of moroccan architecture is actually made up of six kasbahs and nearly fifty ksours (individual smaller kasbahs). Up close the clay and straw buildings [local pisé clay method of building] are breathtaking.
aït benhaddou has also been a UNESCO world heritage site since 1987 and has gained even more recognition because of how many films have been shot there (indiana jones, gladiator, game of thrones, etc). we were lucky enough to find a really cool airbnb [$40 a night] owned by a french man + moroccan woman that have created a little oasis in the middle of the desert. they have a chilly pool, beautiful rooms, delicious food, a golden retriever, cold beers, laundry... and are extremely fun to chat with. we had a relaxing evening at their cozy spot before hitting the road to marrakech the following day by way of grand taxi [packing into a car with strangers for a windy road, yay]!