Welcome to Tizi n’Tichka
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, check with the Gendarmerie of the Col du Tichka that the pass is open.
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 Benhaddou. You'll find the turn-off to Telouet on the southern side of the road some 20km after the pass. While the road is pockmarked and bumpy, it is possible to navigate all 36km to Aït Benhaddou with a 2WD. The worst section of road is the 11km stretch between Telouet and Anmiter.
If you're not in a rush, it's worth staying in one of the superb guesthouses in the area. I Rocha and Dar Isselday both make fine bases to explore this region, and are located about 40km south of the Tizi n’Tichka pass.