Tizi n'Tichka

High Atlas Mountains

Higher than Tizi n’Test to the west but an easier drive along the N9, the Tizi n’Tichka (2260m) connects Marrakesh with the southern oases. It was built to bypass the old caravan route to the Draa, which meandered through the Ounilla Valley and was controlled throughout the 19th century by the powerful Glaoui clan.

If you have a date with the desert, you can make it over Tizi n’Tichka from Marrakesh within three hours. As you pass Aït Ourir, the road ascends and takes a turn for the scenic amid oak trees and walnut groves. Past the village of Taddert, the road gets steeper and the landscape is stripped of colour, except for hardy wildflowers and kids along the road selling geodes dyed shocking red. In winter, the Gendarmerie of the Col du Tichka occasionally close the pass if the road is deemed too dangerous.

Once over the pass, you can choose one of two routes to Ouarzazate: the quicker journey is to continue along the N9, while the more scenic route takes you via the splendid Glaoui Kasbah in Telouet and the lush green Ounilla Valley all the way to Aït Ben Haddou. You'll find the turn-off to Telouet on the southern side of the road some 20km after the pass. While the road is on occasion bumpy, it is possible to navigate all 36km to Aït Ben Haddou with a 2WD.

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