Outrageous Escapism: Tafilalet Oasis, Morocco

A must-visit on any Morroccan road-trip itinerary, this glittering desert oasis provides a snapshot into Tafilalet's prosperous and storied past.


Tafilalet Oasis, Morocco


Approaching the oasis from the dusty roads backed by the ochre-hued gorges and Atlas Mountains feels like stumbling onto a mirage. The largest desert oasis in the Sahara is an explosion of date palms, fortified kasbah villages and glittering pools of water that seemingly challenge the surrounding dunes. Take time to wander around the mud villages known as "ksours" - the panoramas from the roofs over the necklace of palms bursting from the arid valleys are pretty spectacular.

The surrounding towns and villages were once a crucial stopping point on the Saharan caravan route, while the ancient city of Sijilmassa was the birthplace for many royal dynasties. Be sure to visit the archaeological ruins - they'll likely be void of other visitors and will give insight into the prosperous history of the region.

Stop over in Rissani - the gateway town to the oasis - stroll through the souk and soak up its energy. Miles away from the tourist hullabaloo of Marrakech, here you'll find residents haggling over date prices, textiles and day-to-day essentials.

Where to stay

Bordering the oasis is the ancient town of Rissani. Pitch up here for easy, early morning access into the desert - by camel, of course. Kasbah Hotel Ziz Palace is our pick thanks to the spacious, traditionally decorated rooms and a pool in the hotel's centre.

What to pack

This Jacquemus stretch-knit maxi dress will take you from date-picking to dinner.

Travel tip-off

Stop by the Wahati cooperative in Tafilalet. Here you'll find locally grown dates, jam, syrups and Moroccan tea harvested by the woman-only group.

How to get there

Work visiting Tafilalet into your Morroccan road trip itinerary. Fly into Ouarzazate Airport and then travel the five-hour drive to Rissani by car.

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