The Zat valley is a place completely preserved from the drifts caused by mass tourism, it resembles what the Ourika valley must have been like decades ago. Here, everything is authentic and without artifice, from the invitation to drink tea to the generous smiles of the children and the splendour of the landscapes encountered. The passing traveler will have to do everything possible to keep this mentality alive. Be respectable in your dress to be respected and do not give a candy or a dirham to a child! Here, they don't ask for anything in exchange for their smile. By respecting these few basic rules, you will contribute to the development of this magnificent place without harming the fragile balance of its population.
The asphalt road leads you from Marrakech to Tighdouine on 52 kilometres. From there, a 4 x 4 is practically obligatory to cover the remaining 26 kilometres. Large taxis regularly travel between Marrakech and Tighdouine, via Aït Ourir.
Km 0. Take the road to Ouarzazate.
Mile marker 33. You arrive at Aït Ourir, a village built around the wadi Zat, it is the end of the Haouz plain. From the road, beautiful view of the high crenellated walls of the kasbah of the village, already announcing the large adobe kasbahs of southern Morocco. Souk on Tuesday. When you arrive in Aït Ourir, you have two possibilities at the big crossroads at the entrance of the village: on the left, it's towards the town centre and straight ahead, it's a bypass that crosses the Zat for the first time and then leads you into the valley.
Mile marker 36. Leave the beautiful road that goes straight to Ouarzazate and take the small asphalt road on the right, direction Tighdouine. It winds its way through olive and verbena plantations.
Km 52. Tighdouin, souk on Wednesdays. Last big town before the real entrance to the valley. This is where the tar stops. On the right, a track allows you to discover a different valley from the Zat valley, less steep but just as beautiful, simply different. This trail also gives access to a potters' village, just across the Zat, where watching the craftsmen work is a pure delight. After Tighdouine, the normal track, known as the high track, winds through the middle of the barley and alfalfa cultivated perimeters. These crops are grown on trellises because the slope becomes steeper and reduces the surface area of flat land. A low track follows the course of the Zat and crosses it several times, but its practicability is random depending on the level of the river, so be sure to check the state of the fords before venturing there.
Mile marker 61. A first bridge allows you to cross to the other bank, almond and fig trees line the track.
Mile marker 62. Second bridge to cross the Zat, a few houses including Azgour's shop. Here, no Internet or even telephone, but the warmth of a frank handshake and a tea offered wholeheartedly in the pure tradition of Berber hospitality.
Mile marker 63. New bridge to retract, this time, a hypothetical tributary of the Zat, and still these crops, mostly espaliered, of wheat, tomatoes or onions. In spring, the oleanders in bloom give the place an extra beauty.
Km 68. You're over 5,000 feet above sea level. For some time now, the track has been getting narrower and the turns have been getting tighter. At the exit of one of them, the village of Ouinimzen appears, superb, clinging to its mountainside, identical to what it must have been twenty or fifty years ago, or even more. Time seems to have stopped in this place.
Mile marker 70. A new impression of going back in time with the village of Tizirt and its houses clinging to the slope, its children, at first hesitating to go abroad, then thanking him for his hand greeting with a smile followed by bursts of laughter. Tizirt is planted with superb walnut trees that provide shade at the hottest hours of the day. In the shade of these trees, the Chez Tahalate boutique offers film for your camera, the only concession to progress in this motionless universe, as if frozen. The traditional invitation to drink tea is being renewed. It would be a real shame not to honour him at least once along the way.
Km 78. The trail gets narrower and narrower as you go along, the vegetation gets scarcer, the inhabitants too.
Mile marker 50. Together with the village of Ansa, it marks the end of the route, you are at more than 2,000 metres above sea level, it is time to stop, enjoy the place and breathe your lungs out.
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