Learn About the History and Visiting the Draa Valley in Morocco

Morocco’s Draa Valley is home to the largest river in the country, the Draa, and one of the oldest rivers in the world, the Dadès. With a total area of 23,000 km2, it spans from the city of Ouarzazate into the Sahara Desert. It is well-known for its kasbahs, or historic fortresses, which date back thousands of years. Beautiful Berber settlements, flowing sand dunes, lush green plains and the snow-capped Atlas Mountains can all be found there.

Because of its rich natural and cultural legacy, it has been designated as a RAMSAR and UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Temperature and Climate in the Valley

waterless in the dry season: a stone river and waterfall

With an average daily maximum temperature of 28 degrees, the Draa Valley has a desert climate with little precipitation and is regarded as one of the warmest locations in all of Morocco. Temperatures consistently exceeding 25 degrees, occasionally reaching up to 39 degrees, are considered warm to hot for several months of the year. 

The best time to travel is from July through August due to the better weather. The chilly months of November to March are less appealing. The river naturally obtains surface water from the Atlas Mountains, despite being warm.

What Attractions Are There in the Valley?

The Draa Valley is rapidly rising to the top of Morocco’s list of must-see tourist destinations due to its strategic location, natural beauty, and rich history. Here are a few of them:


Ait Benhaddou's clay kasbah, often known as a fortified city or ksar

Moroccan Kasbahs were built by each tribe to secure their leaders and other important people. Every tribe had to construct its own Kasbah because Morocco was a tribal country. The Glaoua are the ones who own and construct the majority of Kasbahs in Morocco, and they are responsible for building many of them.

  • The Kasbah of Tamnougalt
  • The Kasbah of Caid Ali
  • The Kasbah of Ait Hammou Ousaid
  • The Kasbah of El Caid Ouslim
  • The Kasbah of Oulad Outhmane
  • The Kasbah of Foum Achnna
  • The Kasbah of N’kob
  • The Kasbah of Tat Ifli
  • The Kasbah of Amezrou
  • The Kasbah of Ait Ali Tighramt Ouziguen
  • The Kasbah of Laglaoui
  • The Kasbah of Agouim Nouaadjou
  • The Kasbah of Tagounite
  • The Kasbah of Ait Bounou
  • The Kasbah of LaAllouj
  • The Kasbah of Oulad Driss
  • The Kasbah of Rgabi 


Oasis of Tamnougalt in the Draa Valley

Six sections of oases and palm grooves run the length of the Upper Draa Valley from north to south. The “green zone” is 3 kilometers wide on average, but it can be anywhere between 100 meters and 10 kilometers wide. Due to the lack of light and noise pollution, oases are ideal locations for stargazing. The Oasis, specifically Mezguita Oasis, Tinzouline Oasis, Ternata Oasis, Fezouata Oasis, Ktaoua Oasis, and Mhamid El Ghuzlan Oasis, are such breathtaking landscapes that visitors will assume they only appear in Arabian fairytales.


Ksar of Tamnougalt

The ksour/ksar is a typical pre-Saharan habitat that consists of a collection of mud structures encircled by high walls. The residences are packed tightly together within the defensive walls, which are fortified by corner towers.You can find these man-made archeological constructions in Ktaoua, Fezouata, Ternata, Tinzouline, and Mezguita.

Date Plantations

date palm at the oasis in the Draa Valley

Dates are essential for the local economy and a key component of the restricted Moroccan diet during Ramadan. Visitors can enjoy the sight of an infinite plantation, primarily made up of palm dates, on each river bank if you follow the river down from the High Atlas Mountains. Dates come in more than 100 different varieties in Morocco.

What Types of Activities Can One Engage in in The Valley? 

Desert Hiking

tree-lined sand dunes

The ideal activity to discover the breathtaking beauty of the Draa Valley is to go hiking in the Moroccan desert. Hiking will allow you to see the valley’s adobe settlements, oasis, and dunes. You will witness Berber settlements that have been there for many years and are still inhabited today.

Camel Riding

caravan of camels in the Draa Valley among the sand dunes

Without taking a camel ride, a trip across Morocco cannot be said to be complete. The Draa Valley offers a number of camel caravans.


a group of tents in the middle of some sand dunes

Your luxurious hotel stay in Marrakech will be followed by a camping adventure to the Draa Valley. After the stress and bustle of your daily responsibilities, sleeping beneath a starry, unpolluted sky will give you peace of mind and allow your mind to rejuvenate.

How Can Visitors Get There?

From Ouarzazate, it will take an hour and a half to get to Agdz (55 km), an hour to get to Zagora (95 km), and roughly five hours to get to M’Hamid (170 km). There are transportation options for trips include buses, taxis, and rental cars.

What Must Travelers Always Bear in Mind When Visiting the Draa Valley or Morocco in General?

1. Due to the fact that most Moroccans are of Arab and Berber descent, they have tight rules governing religion, the monarchy, alcohol, and conservatism. Avoid showing your affection in public. You should wear loose-fitting, arm- and leg-covering clothing in several areas of Morocco.

2. Decency is a must. Serious crimes in Morocco, such as high treason, terrorism, multiple murder, and rape, carry the death penalty. Sexual activity that occurs between people of the same sex or outside of marriage is forbidden. Also prohibited is the possession of pornographic material.

3. Ask the villagers or your tour guides politely if you may snap their pictures or pictures of the tourist attractions that feature locals. Always ask for permission before taking a picture when you are in a foreign nation as a gesture of respect.


Draa Valley is a historical, legendary, and artistic place. Visiting such a spectacular location would enable you to observe how the Berbers and nature itself protected the magnificence of the place.


[1] Morocco’s Date Palms Bring in MAD 2 Million Per Year. Susanna Spurgeon. Moroccoworldnews.com. Available at: https://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2019/10/285334/morocco-date-palms-2-million-year [Accessed on: January 27, 2023]