Riad Caravane is a stylish yet simple riad with Berber touches located in the rustic and sophisticated setting of Ait Ben Haddou. Just a few steps away from the UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is the perfect stay for those looking for a night on the edge of the desert or a weekend getaway in a peaceful and secluded oasis.
As we depart from the busy city of Marrakech, we make our way through some of the most beautiful sites of the High Atlas Mountains with its natural landscapes and changing colors. When it comes to navigating your way through Morocco, never listen to your navigator! Google Maps is more reliable in that sense when it comes to ETA. However long the navigator tells you it will take to get there, add an hour. The navigator doesn’t take into account that most roads are winding and snake-like, so going 60km p/hour isn’t an option. Realistically, you’ll be traveling at 40km p/hour.
The desert landscape sets the scene as we wind in and out of canyon after canyon until the Kasbah of Ait Ben Haddou unveils itself. We pull up to Riad Caravane mid-afternoon in our now dusty rental car and are immediately greeted by the owner, Andréa, and her friendly staff who offer us mint tea and biscuits on the terrace upon arrival. Riad Caravane is set in a quaint, quiet and medieval looking village just outside of Ait Ben Haddou. The secludedness of the Riad adds to its charm giving you full access to a breathtaking view of Ait Ben Haddou and its Ounila Valley. Pat and I decide to freshen up in our room before proceeding out into the treacherous heat and explore the Ksar of Ait Ben Haddou.
Much like its French owner, the rooms are stylish yet simple. Spacious and well designed, the mud brick walls are accompanied by wooden furnishings, soft linens, and earthy tones to keep cool air inside. The simple touches of local Berber tradition found in the room adds to its rustic yet sophisticated charm. The rooms are so cool compared to the outdoors, that we don’t even feel the need to turn on the AC!
After wandering the sweltering hot streets of Ait Ben Haddou, Pat and I run back to Riad Caravane for a quick dip in the outdoor pool before watching the sunset on the rooftop. From our position, we are able to take in the way the sun reflects off the red mountains, Ait Ben Haddou and its Ksar, and the Riad’s neighboring clay and mud brick houses. One-of-a-kind and absolutely breathtaking!
Following the sunset, we proceed to the Riad’s Berber lounge area and dining room for a dinner prepared with the locally sourced fresh ingredients. After indulging in the Riad Caravane’s homemade regional specialties, we decide to go back up to the rooftop to stargaze. Exhausted, we lay back in a lounge chair and start talking about the most random things, as we look into the dark black sky. The sky in the middle of this valley on the edge of the desert is so clear, you would think you were in space. As our eyes easily adjust to the sky, we start to point out constellations and shooting stars as they dance across the sky. This has to be by far one of the most magical, relaxing and unique nights of our entire Moroccan trip.
- Riad Caravane Ksar d’Aït Ben Haddou, Ait Ben Haddou, Ait Ben Haddou – Ouarzazate 45000, Morocco; +212 5248-90916; Riad-Caravane.com
Although we did not get the opportunity to experience any excursions due to our short stay, we do recommend that you indulge in one of Riad Caravane’s many Berber experiences such as: Camel riding or Horse back riding in the Ounila Valley, a day trip and a picnic, renting a quad and making your way to the ancient Telouet Kasbah etc.
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