Tizi n’Tichka, a dangerous road in the Atlas.

Tizi n'Tichka is a famous mountain pass in in Morocco
Tizi n’Tichka

The Tizi n’Tichka also called Col du Tichka in French is a well known dangerous mountain pass in the Atlas mountain. The road is quite strategic because it connects big cities in Morocco and is frequented a lot by locals and also by tourists.

Where is the Tizi n’Tichka located?

The Tizi n’Tichka mountain pass is situated in the high Atlas in Morocco.

It connects the citiy of Marakech with the city of Ouarzazate.

It is also the road that links the Marocan plains with the Sahara desert.

You can situate the road on the map below:

Enlarge the map

Facts about the Tizi n’Tichka

Road description:

The Tichka pass is situated on the national road number 9. It is an asphalted road and it is in quite good condition. Also, like a lot of mountain roads, you will not regret the landscapes you can see from the road.

Tizi n’Tichka is located at 2260 meters (7400 feet) above the sea level. It is the highest mountain pass in the North African region.

The portion between Marrakech and Ouarzazate is about 200 kilometers (124 miles) long. Within perfect driving condition and whether the drive from Marrakech to Ouarzazate will take about 4 hours.

This road portion has more than 800 turns, so be well prepared if you are usually sick in cars.

Tichka pass
Tichka pass


The name of the mountain pass comes from the berbere language: “Tizi” means “mountain pass” and “Tichka” means “pastures”. So, literally the name in English will be “pass of the pastures”.

The road was built during the period of the French colonization of Marroco. It was constructed in 1936 by the French army in order to have direct access from Marrakech to Ouarzazate.

It was along an old caravan trail, today it is part of the national road 9 but it was formerly part of the road P-31.

How to get to Tizi n’Tichka?

The pass is situated on the national road 9, and it links the cities of Marrakech and Ouarzazate.

If you are coming from the west you have to take the Ouarzazate direction, and on the opposite, if you are coming from the est take the Marrakech direction.

You can view the itinerary of the road on this map:

Things to do nearby

As it was already written in the article, this road connects the cities of Marrakech and Ouarzazate. So can’t miss these two cities!

Marrakech is maybe the most famous touristic spot in Morocco and you can obviously find any information about the city and what visit on travel guides. Ouarzazate is also a well known touristic destination as it is with Merzouga a “door to the Sahara desert”. Ouarzazate is also known for its cinematographic industries and its studios, many famous films were filmed here such as Asterix & Obelix: Mission Cleopatra, Prince of Persia or Gladiator.

Also, you have to visit the kasbah of Telouet and also the ksar of Aït Benhaddou. It is a fortified village built on a hillside back in the 11th century. It represents perfectly the architecture of the south of Morocco. This location was added to the UNESCO world heritage site list in 1987.

Is the Tizi n’Tichka open?

The road is generally open all year around. It can be closed in winter (generally between January and April) due to snowfalls.

Be very careful while driving on this mountain road: the conditions can be very dangerous: few security barriers, locals driving fast, and fast-changing weather are only some examples of what you should be aware of. In winter it can go from a warm day to a snowstorm in very little time.

Tichka road
Tichka road

We also advise you to avoid driving the road at night time because it is even more dangerous as the road is not lit.

If you are planning to drive the road, we also recommend you to come early in the morning to avoid heavy traffic. Indeed this a real strategic road and there is a lot of traffic on it, included trucks. For example, in July 2020, after the Morrocan government announced new confinement in big cities there were almost 10 hours of traffic jams on the road.

A preview of the drive:

We advise you to take a look at the preview of the drive. It will give you a good idea of what you can expect. Here is a youtube video of the drive:

If you are planning a road trip to Morocco you can pass through the Tichka road. First, the roads connect two important cities to visit: Marrakech and Ouarzazate. Secondly, it links the Sahara desert with other the West part of Morocco, and finally, it is just a breathtaking road that you can’t miss!

Pictures credits: jonl1973 on flickr

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