Just deserts or just a desert*? The road to Merzouga, Morocco.

After leaving our hotel with the fantastic view mentioned earlier we made our way further into the Dades Valley and started to climb.  And climb.  And climb.  By the time we made it to the top, we were greeted with another Top Gear-esque mountain road that would make even the the most seasoned driver / maniac’s palms go clammy.

Hollywoodland in the sand and the one of the best hotel views ever – Ourzazate and Dades Valley, Morocco

A few hours east of the Tichka Pass is Ourzazate, the “Hollywood of Morocco” and a jumping-off point for most of the tours to Merzouga.  While Ourzazate is a sleepy looking town to drive through, the surrounding desert is home to enormous motion picture sets and a sprawling studio complex. The above photo is a small section of a huge series of desert studios.  The studio and surrounding desert are where Gladiator, Kingdom of Heaven, Lawrence of Arabia, Kundun and The Last Temptation of Christ were filmed. Oh yeah.  Two of my personal favorite films – The Hills Have Eyes…

The road to Merzouga – high above the world at Tizi n’Tichka, Morocco

V, WFD and I recently made the journey from Marrakesh to Merzouga.  For the readers that have yet to head to Merzouga this drive is approximately 350 miles east from Marrakesh to a place just miles away from the Algerian border. This is not a drive for those with weak constitutions. In order to make it to Merzouga, you must first proceed through the Tizi n’Tichka, the Tichka Pass.  The mountain roads gradually pick up altitude as you leave Marrakesh, though it’s easy to mistake the beginnings of the upcoming craziness for just an itty-bitty hill.  The gentle curving road…