Locations of Thrones: Ouarzazate
As you may know, we love Morocco. We also love George RR Martin’s epic ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ book series and the new HBO show based on it, ‘Game of Thrones‘. I love it so much I have five shirts I want to buy and am re-reading the books feverishly in anticipation of ‘A Dance with Dragons‘ – the sixth book which has been six years in the making.
Since ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ fans are about as devoted and rabid as any, we thought we’d spend a little time on the filming locations, should people (yes… people…) want to travel to them in the future. In the case of Ouarzazate, I was very disappointed to have missed it when we were in Morocco – so it’s also research for one of our next trips!
The ‘Game of Thrones’ pilot was the only episode filmed in Ouarzazate in Season 1, but there’s discussion on Winter is Coming, a Game of Thrones blog, that Season 2 may return to Morocco to shoot the young exile Queen Daenerys Targaryen’s continued adventures on the other side of the Narrow Sea.
Ouarzazate has historically been a stand-in for other, less fantastical places since the 1950′s as the ‘Ouallywood’ of Morocco. For ‘Game of Thrones’, it served as Pentos, one of the Free Cities and the location of Dany and Khal Drogo’s wedding. It’s also where the desert and canyons truly begin, and the place from which many a camel (or dirt bike) journey into the dunes is begun.
Rental and travel agencies abound for tours and treks of all kinds, including week-long camel journeys. North Africa Horse (in French) will even occasionally put on shows that spotlight stunts from Gladiator, Kingdom of Heaven and more. If you’re there for the movies, you can visit Atlas Film Corporation Studios – just out of town, but easy accessible by transit – and get a guided tour of the sets. And if you’re also a Star Wars fan, the Taourirt Kasbah was in the movie, so has survived where others haven’t, restored with help from UNESCO.
Though it doesn’t look as if it should be far from Marrakesh, the trip takes five and a half hours by bus. However, the flight from Casablanca is an hour, so if you have the money, it may be worth saving yourself the time. The south of Morocco is stunningly beautiful, and I hope we’ll see more in the second season. I also hope Gary and I will make it there on our next trip to Morocco – I want to go on a camel trek!
Are you watching ‘Game of Thrones’? Have you been south of Marrakech? Let us know!