Ait Ben Hadou
Ait Ben Hadou is an ancient fortified village on the route from Marrakesh to the Draa Valley. Historically, the village had significant strategic importance as its location was the main route to the Sahara via the Tizi n’Tichka pass.
The village itself is pretty much like most remote villages, but the fort or kasbah is the real attraction.
The village or ksar is located on a hill next to the Ounila river. It is thought that the building methods to create this fortress date back to the 11th Century. The internal buildings are grouped together making the main village, ranging from simple rooms to complex towers, all surrounded by a defensive wall and gates.
Most of the internal buildings are now shops and galleries as rather than being family accommodations, the buildings create a souk-type environment, aimed at tourists.
As a visitor, you are not hassled by the vendors and the area is very chilled, giving you a chance to take in the surroundings without constant pressure. Personally, we had a very chilled experience and wandered around all over the place.
At the top level, there is a cafe where you can sit and look over the valley and the breathtaking scenery around you.
Many films have been made here, but Gladiator is one of the most well-known. A complete amphitheater was built here for some of the major fight scenes, but it is all gone now, so just pictures of the structure remain.
We also loved going down into the trees near the river. A perfect place to just chill out to the sound of running water and the shade of the olive trees.
There are lots of small hostels for accommodation in the area, but mostly visitors only stop for a brief visit passing through.
Personally, I loved it here and wished we stayed longer. We stayed in the Riad Paradise of Silence which was really good and recommended.