James bond movie locations around the world.
The Devil in the Desert
Morocco – gara medouar crater near rissani // spectre (2015).
Deep in the Moroccan desert is an oddly shaped crater – hideout of Bonds nemesis Blofeld. Read here how to get there and have your own desert experience. A strong wind is blowing from the east, bringing tons of sand from the Sahara. The Sahrawi people here at the outer edges of Morocco call these winds “sharqi”, who turn the heaven yellow and whos dust covers everything. Suddenly a huge sun-baked mountain becomes visible out of nowhere. It’s the Spectre crater – the desert hideout from Ernst Stavro Blofeld.
The Rolls Royce drives towards the Spectre Crater in Morocco
Why Bond was here In the 24th James Bond film, the secret agent (Daniel Craig) uncovers that a sinister organization was behind numerous terrorists attacks in the past. The organization is a network of criminals, led by Blofeld (Christoph Waltz), Bonds foster brother Franz Oberhauser. So the mission gets from professional to personal – Bond travels deep into the desert, where Blofeld operates from a secret lair built inside a meteorite crater. He befittingly gets pickep up with a Rolls Royce.
How you gonna get there The crater is called Gara Medouar – and is neither a crater nor a volcano, as it is also described from time to time. Gara Medouar is a strange circular erosion, the opening fortified some centuries ago with a mud brick wall by the Portuguese. Inside the circle are smaller mountains, trees and rough cliffs. Thus, the plateau from the movie is just a computer illusion: The Spectre crew had built both Blofeld’s villa and command center outside the mountain and later combined both.
A fake villa was photoshopped into the crater – modeled after a luxury home in Marrakesh
Gara Medouar is located about 12 kilometers east of the town Rissani and 20 kilometers southeast of Erfoud. The best way to reach the Spectre crater is by car. It is just a ten minute drive from Rissani. Follow route N12 out of the city and after a short time you will see Gara Medouar. To get to the Spectre crater just get off the road and drive across the desert. Many will advise you to take a 4×4, but you can safe the money. We managed the ride with a little, sturdy Hyundai. We advise to rent a car already in one of the bigger towns like Marrakesh or Fez (book online to safe some serious money!) and then drive into the desert. You can manage one way within a day, and Moroccan traffic is much less painful then in other Arab countries. If you don’t fancy riding your own car, there are daily buses connecting Erfoud and Rissani with the bigger towns in the east and north of Morocco. But you then need to find a local driver for the trip to the Spectre crater.
Take a 360-look at the Spectre Crater:
Good to know Though the Spectre crew had set camp in Erfoud, the city itself is actually boring. When in this part of Morocco, you should rather spent your time in Rissani and the desert town of Merzouga further south. Rissani is the remnant of what was once the capital of Alawite rule in ancient Morocco. Old Ruins and precious palaces still remind visitors of the glorious past as a trading post between the Sahara and the Atlas Mountains. On Thursdays a glimpse of that past comes to live at the weekly souq al-himar, the “donkey market”. Farmers bring their donkeys (you can buy one for around 500 dirham), as well as sheep and cows to the city and bargain about the fittest livestock. In the adjoining alleys, traders offer olives, fresh fruits and fish, others sell Berber clothes and furniture. In those hours Rissani is as Arabic as it’s gets, leaving the touristic frenzy of the Marrakesh markets way behind.
An hour south of Rissani is the small desert town Merzouga, more hotel collection than actual city. That is because of Erg Chebbi, a vast Sahara dune just at the doorstep of Merzouga. Morocco travelers come here to get their share of desert romance, hotels offer camel rides, trekking, 4×4 and Quad rides and even overnight stays in desert tents. Finding a decent hotel in Merzouga isn’t particularly hard. When looking for an accommodation definitely opt for one that offers breakfast and even better half-board as there are no restaurants in the “town” itself. You’ll find small cafés offering traditional chai (tea that shouldn’t be more than 10 dirham) or juices (not more than 15 dirham) and kiosks selling water (big bottle for 6 dirham) and snacks.
Impressions from the beautiful Erg Chebbi dune and the market of Rissani:
We decided for a midrange hotel called “Riad Nezha” that offered a double room with half-board for 800 dirham per night. They also had a nice pool for a cool down in the torrid afternoon hours (it’s always better to make your trips in the morning hours before it gets too hot). The breakfast was served on the roof terrace overlooking the Erg Chebbi dune, while you could enjoy their home cooked, traditional 3 course menu in their lush garden. Brahim, Ahmed and the whole staff are very nice and extremely helpful speaking multiple languages – so don’t be afraid when you’re not familiar with neither Arabic nor French. The best advice we got was actually where to go for our own private sunset tour: Just drive some kilometers out of Merzouga towards the border town Taouz. When an auto museum comes up to the right, take another one or two kilometers. Then enter the dunes to the left, after some single palm trees. From there it’s an easy walk into the dunes – and normally no tours cross your way there. But if you opt for a camel tour: A trip shouldn’t cost more then 150 Dirhams per person. It will take about two hours, whereas the dunes turn from golden yellow to glowing red. And a big and peaceful silence, called hudu’ in Arabic, covers the sands.
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The Meteorite Crater that Wasn’t: Reflections on SPECTRE
Gara Medouar from above, thanks to Google Maps
Ouarkziz crater, near the Algerian/Moroccan border
Blofeld’s volcano lair from You Only Live Twice (1967)
Oberhauser : Do you know what it is? Madeleine Swann : It’s a meteorite. Oberhauser : Yes, exactly. The Kartenhoff, the oldest in human possession. The very meteorite which made this crater. Think about it: so many years up there – alone, silent – building momentum until it chose to make its mark on Earth… a huge unstoppable force. James Bond : Except it did stop, didn’t it? Right here.
Iron meteorites, like this one, are pretty alien looking.
Tagish Lake meteorite, possibly the oldest meteorite in human possession, looks like a boring Earth rock.
Vredefort Dome, 2 billion years old
Meteor Crater in Arizona, 50,000 years old
It’s not the oldest meteorite, and it’s not the oldest crater. Either Oberhauser has been badly misled when it comes to his collection, or the writers really didn’t care very much about getting the science right in this case. Does it really matter? Perhaps not, but it’s certainly a missed opportunity. With just a little bit more research, they could have turned real science facts into support for their story. It wouldn’t even have been that hard. Oberhauser seems to be talking about himself in this scene, using the meteorite as a convenient vehicle to talk about his own journey and motivations. Call me crazy, but incorporating some dialogue about refining a central iron core that’s ultimately flung onto a crash course with humankind by a violent event deep in the past doesn’t sound completely out of line with the Bond villain archetype. It’s a far more fitting metaphor than “the very meteorite which made this crater,” seeing as the parts of the (much bigger) impactor that actually made the crater wouldn’t be around any more to provide a backdrop for this conversation. 9 The meteorite is the part that survived — the resourceful, resilient fragment of a much larger entity. Given a chance, the science here really could have augmented the story, but SPECTRE passed on that chance, and I can’t help but feel a little disappointed that it did.
- Fans of The Mummy (1999) might recognize Gara Medouar as Hamunaptra, the City of the Dead, and it was also featured in Th e Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010) . ↩
- The word “crater” itself can apply to an impact structure or a volcanic caldera. Fun fact: although it’s commonly used by scientists in the impact context today, it started out purely in the volcanic realm and was first borrowed to describe lunar features by Johann Schröter in the late 18th century. The volcanic connotation of the word influenced the interpretation of lunar and terrestrial craters well into the 20th century. ↩
- For impact craters, the height of the rim above the surrounding plane scales approximately as 4% of the crater’s diameter, less than half what we see here. ↩
- That’s for simple craters, which are relatively small. Complex craters, which have diameters above ~15km on the Moon and ~2-4km on Earth, are even shallower. ↩
- Gilbert’s first biographer described this work as his “lunar excursion.” ↩
- All right, fine, it’s hundreds of miles away and in a completely different country, so that’s not probably not feasible for filming. ↩
- Sigh, James Bond…see what I mean? ↩
- The composition of the Sun itself is another good clue, but it’s hard to measure some elements, so we turn to meteorites to learn more . ↩
- Impact energies are so large that much of the impacting body doesn’t survive the impact. ↩
7 Responses to The Meteorite Crater that Wasn’t: Reflections on SPECTRE
It seems that the site is *not* a volcano either, but just a remnant pile of sediments eroded in a neat way [1, 2]. If I remember correctly, it’s roughly Cambrian or thereabouts. On Google Earth you can see how similar it is to other nearby hills and mountains, and that the insides of the “crater” are in fact layered in a way not at all typical to a volcano. (Note also that the page you refer to  says that it’s “an extinct volcano, where one can find etrilobites and anmmonites”… sounds fishy.)
I fell into the exact same trap myself: I wrote a very similar the-movie-crater-is-not-an-impact-site blog post a couple of weeks ago  and like you immediately thought it was a volcano and didn’t check it. Then a Moroccan guy pointed out that it’s not a volcano.
 https://doc.rero.ch/record/6196/files/these_RobertCharrueC.pdf  http://antimonyworld.com/index/documents –> Geologic map of Morocco  http://ardeth-bay.de/project/hamunaptra/  https://kraatterit.wordpress.com/2015/11/10/impact-crater-in-the-movie-spectre/
Thanks for the context and links!
[…] you seen SPECTRE? Were you wondering if that’s actually a meteorite […]
Hello I am managing the Unofficial a James Bond fan site in Japan. Please let me introduce to translate the You of great article in Japanese.
[…] True Anomalies: The Meteorite Crater that Wasn’t: Reflections on SPECTRE […]
As a professional geologist of over 35 years experience I was disappointed in the ‘crater’ selection. Any impact crater of that sort of size will possess at least two distinctive features: 1. signs of catastrophic disturbance of any existing stratified (bedded) rock sequences due to the force of the impact and 2. an asymmetrical x-section profile from crater floor outwards (to the crater margin) caused by fallout. This had neither and (to me) stood out like a sore thumb! In most other respects though film was brill!
When I first saw the trailer, I thought it was Fort Rock in Oregon, which is a volcanic tuff ring that looks very similar.
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January 14, 2024
Gara Medouar – The Spectre volcano lair that isn’t a volcano
Bond villains have had some quite impressive lairs during the long history of the Bond films – from the volcano in “You Only Live Twice” to the underwater base Atlantis in “The Spy Who Loved Me” or even the Space Station of Sir Hugo Drax in “Moonraker” . While the latest Bond film “Spectre” features some truly magnificent locations, the volcano lair of villain Oberhauser does not possess the significance of earlier evil hideouts and is only seen briefly in its 20 minute screentime. Moreover, a recent analysis of the area reveals that Gara Medouar isn’t a volcano at all!
Located just 26 minutes outside Erfoud in Morocco in the Errachidia Providence, Gara Medouar is actually a rock formation, a remnant of Cambrian/Devonian sediments as a recent study by the Institute of Geology and Hydrogeology of the Neuchâtel university in Switzerland revealed. You can find the report here and a geographical map here (in French).
Gara Medouar has actually appeared in other films before, most notably the 1999 adventure film “The Mummy” and its sequel “The Mummy Returns” (2000) where it was used as the ancient Egyptian city of the dead “Hamunaptra” in the spring of 1998. Nicknamed “the Portuguese Prison”, Gara Medouar once provided caravans with shelter during sandstorms and was later used as a base for the moroccan military for many years. At one point in its history, the formation was also used as a temporary holding area for slaves being sold from Africa to Portugal. The southern rim had been blown open with the loose stones being used for the construction of the 100 meter long entrance wall which stands 7-8 meters tall and is 2 meters thick. The u-shaped Gara Medouar has an impressive elevation of 858 meters.
Many legends surround the rock, including one that might have actually inspired the scriptwriters of “Spectre” . During the 1950’s it was reported, the formation contained an inscribed stone as well as a mysteriously vibrating metal object stuck in the ground that could not be removed. However, nothing of that sort has ever been found. Through the heavy use in film and frequent visits by tourists in the area, the vast natural fortress is today littered with plastic bottles and plaster remains from constructions needed for filming.
When you think, this remote location in Morocco doesn’t have a Bond connection beside its appearance in “Spectre” , you will be surprised to learn that it was also used as a filming location for “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time” (2010) for which it served as the Valley of the Slaves. None other than Bond Girl Gemma Arterton (Strawberry Fields in “Quantum of Solace” ) enters through the wall entrance together with actor Jake Gyllenhaal. It’s a minor connection but a neat coincidence.
The location was also heavily used in the 1988 Italian-German TV miniseries “The Secret of the Sahara” , starring Michael York, Andie MacDowell and Ben Kingsley. The miniseries, directed by Alberto Negrin, was first broadcast in 1987 in seven episodes of approximately 52 minutes each before having a limited cinematic release.
Published in Featured Articles and SPECTRE
Benjamin Lind became a James Bond fan at the age of 15 and has since closely followed the production of every film since 'Tomorrow Never Dies'. Apart from writing about Bond, he is a founding member of the James Bond Club Germany and holds a position as advisor in its executive committee. In 2016, Lind released a charity documentary film entitled 'A Bond For Life - How James Bond changed my Life' in support of UNICEF.
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The road to Gara de Medouar, Spectre’s headquarters in the James Bond film
Is the road to gara medouar paved, how long is the road to gara medouar.
What movies are in Gara Medouar?
Blofeld's (Christoph Waltz) Lair in 'Spectre'
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Explosive James Bond film 'Spectre' earns Guinness World Record
James Bond has always been known for doing things big. Now, a new stunt lands the film franchise in the record books thanks to one potent cocktail of a bomb.
"All one shot. Come up the stairs, some dialogue, largest explosion in the history of movies, exit frame, cut." -- Director Sam Mendes
In addition to kisses, kills and cocktails , James Bond films are filled with another trademark feature: explosions. Now, an enormous fiery blast in the latest Bond film, "Spectre," has outdone them all. The big boom has claimed a Guinness World Record as the largest film stunt explosion ever.
The explosion (see below) took 8,418 liters (2,224 gallons) of fuel and 33 kilograms (73 pounds) of explosives. The scene was filmed in Erfoud, Morocco, and takes place in the film right after Bond (Daniel Craig) and his love interest Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux) escape from a Spectre lair located in a meteorite crater. They watch the baddies' abode burst into fiery ruin from a safe distance away.
Imagining an arsenal of slick new James Bond gadgets (pictures)
The award was given out Tuesday and belongs to Chris Corbould, who served as special effects and miniature-effects supervisor on the film. He won an Oscar for his work on 2010's "Inception," and he's also special-effects supervisor for the upcoming " Star Wars: The Force Awakens ." Craig, Seydoux and producer Barbara Broccoli accepted the honor in his behalf. Unless it's unseated, the film's designation will be included in the "Guinness World Records 2017" book, as the 2016 edition is already on sale.
The previous Guinness record-holder for the largest film explosion category was 1994's " Blown Away " starring Jeff Bridges and Tommy Lee Jones.
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While you might not immediately think of films when you think of Guinness World Records (I tend to think of things like the most-pierced man and the largest playing card structure ), the organization does have a history of giving nods to the silver screen.
For example, it's designated 2011's "The Summer of Massacre" as having the highest body count in a slasher film and 2010's "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time" as the most expensive film inspired by a video game . And it's given the award for most expensive movie poster to one of only four that exist for the 1927 Fritz Lang film "Metropolis." The poster was sold by the Reel Poster Gallery in London to a US collector for $690,000 (about £456,407, AU$979,140) in November 2005.
"Spectre" debuted in the UK on October 26 and in the United States on November 6. It debuts in Australia on November 12. Its opening brought in $73 million (about £48 million, AU$104 million), second only to its predecessor, "Skyfall."
Latest Bond adventure Spectre sets record for Largest film stunt explosion ever - watch incredible clip
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"SPECTRE" FILMING LOCATIONS AND SCHEDULES
whens the trailer out
Hello Adam. Teaser trailer will be released 28th of March and full trailer is scheduled to be released on 4th of September 2015.
Is filming over now its july
And any chance film brought forward
Hello Adam. Looks like filming is over. We have heard rumours that there is a wrap party this evening (July 5th). SPECTRE global release date is still 6th November 2015
Waiting for the schedule for Morrocco
Hello. We will update this information as soon as we know. :)
Morocco lovely, I lived there many years.
Should be wrap after the shoot in N.Africa right ..?
Hello Glenn. Yes, we think so. As far as we know they are about to film 10 days in Morocco at the end of June, but we don't have any material of the filming so far. We hope to get some photos soon!
Is there any possibility the filming could go farther than July 5th? To maybe mid-July?
At this point it seems that filming will be wrapped in the beginning of July. However, it is always possible that they will continue at Pinewood studios if needed.
Does anyone know what the church in the funeral scene shown briefly in the trailer is? It looks like a Modernist, exposed concrete one... Any clues much appreciated! Thanks.
Hello Miss Marie. James Bond was supposed to attend a funeral at Cemetery of Verano in Rome, Italy but the plans were blocked by a mysterious and ancient religious order. Archconfraternity of the Departed, a religious order which historically provided burial for the poor and destitute, and which still has sway over the cemetery, has refused entry to cast and crew. They didn't want an invasion of trucks and heavy goods vehicles inside the cemetery. The Mayor´s office received earlier a request that "SPECTRE" crew could film in the piazza outside the Museum of Roman Civilisation and reworked the funeral scene there.
How long will spectre be
Unfortunately we don't know yet
Running time is 2 hours and 28 minutes
Thanks for this blog, have been following it over the year. The film is fantastic - clearly all this hard work has paid off.
Thanks Gary :) SPECTRE is really awesome. Good plot, great cast and wonderful locations!
Where was the Spectre lair filmed (it was in a meteorite crater in the desert)?
Hello John. Exteriors were filmed near Erfoud, which is an oasis town in Morocco. Interior shots were made at Pinewood studios, England
Been through Erfoud, there's nothing like that there. There is a nice Palace, maybe they stayed there. But where did they actually film the crater?
Hi. We heard today that the set was built in desert: Gara Medouar, Rissani, where the crater is.
In the film credits at the end it says the location where it was filmed in Tokyo ? But cannot see this
Hello John. Tokyo sequence was filmed at the Pinewood Studios End credits of SPECTRE states that the film was made at Pinewood Studios, London, England and on location in Mexico City, Mexico, Rome, Italy, Lake Altaussee, Styria, Sölden and Obertilliach, Tyrol Austria, Tangiers, Erfoud & Oujda, Morocco, London, England
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Movie directed by Sam Mendes. Cinematography by Hoyte Van Hoytema. Gallery includes movie stills featuring Daniel Craig as James Bond, Léa Seydoux as Madeleine, Monica Bellucci as Lucia, Christoph Waltz as Blofeld, Ralph Fiennes as M, Naomie Harris as Moneypenny, Ben Whishaw as Q, Alessandro Cremona as Marco Sciarra, Dave Bautista as Hinx, Jesper Christensen as Mr. White, Andrew Scott as C, Rory Kinnear as Tanner and Stephanie Sigman as Estrella. Spectre won a Guinness World Record Award in 2016 for the largest film stunt explosion. Taking place in Erfoud, Morocco, the blast lasted for over 7.5 seconds.
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When you purchase through links on this site, we may earn an affiliate commission. read more., advertisement, spectre breaks the record for largest film stunt explosion.
SPECTRE has been awarded a Guinness World Records title for the Largest Film Stunt Explosion.
The explosion was filmed in Erfoud, Morocco and used 8418 litres of fuel and 33kg of explosives.
The explosion of Oberhauser lair in the film is very impressive, even more so when you realise that there is no CGI used to create the shot of the explosion and Bond and Swann.
The explosion is completely real and James Bond (Daniel Craig) and Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux) are actually there watching the explosion.
Watch the beind the scenes video with the explosion below:
Producer Barbara Broccoli, Daniel Craig and Léa Seydoux, accepted the record certificate in Beijing, China on behalf of winner Chris Corbould, who served as Special Effects and Miniature Effects Supervisor on SPECTRE .
SPECTRE Special Effect Supervisor Chris Corbould
Commenting on the announcement, Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, the producers of SPECTRE , said, “It is absolutely tremendous that the Guinness World Records have recognised Chris Corbould’s incredible work in SPECTRE in which he created the largest explosion ever in film history."
Guinness World Records editor-in-chief Craig Glenday added: "The James Bond movies are synonymous with pushing cinematic boundaries. The scene featuring the world's largest film stunt explosion is spectacular and will live long in the memory as one of the outstanding moments in the Bond franchise."
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Bond Lifestyle is an unofficial information resource and is not linked to the official James Bond production companies. © No Time To Die © 2020 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc., Danjaq, LLC, Eon Productions, Universal Pictures, United Artists. © SPECTRE © 2015 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc., Danjaq, LLC, Eon Productions, and Columbia Pictures, Inc. © SkyFall © 2012 Danjaq, LLC, United Artists Corporation, Columbia Pictures, Inc. 007 and related James Bond Indicia © 1962-2023 Danjaq, LLC and MGM. 007 and related James Bond Trademarks are trademarks of Danjaq.
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Spectre: the breathtaking backdrops to the latest James Bond film
James Bond films are not just about 007 sipping martinis, getting into car chases and indulging in dalliances with beautiful women. The dramatic, sweeping shots of iconic scenery and far-flung destinations are also a trademark of the hugely popular film franchise. We take a look at the jaw-dropping backdrops you can expect to see in Spectre , when a suited and booted Daniel Craig hits the screen as Bond at the world premiere at the Royal Albert Hall on 26 October...
OBERTILLIACH, AUSTRIA The snow-capped ski slopes of south Austria's Obertilliach - situated between the Lienz Dolomites and the Carnic Alps- top off 007's winter action scenes. The breathtaking area, which borders with Italy, is already famous for skiing
LAKE ALTAUSSEER, AUSTRIA Near the picturesque spa town of Altaussee in the Austrian Alps lies the beautiful Lake Altaussee. With mountains toweing over it, reaching up to 5,700 feet, this makes for the perfect dramatic backdrop for Spectre .
ROME, ITALY A high-speed car chase sees cars racing down the Rome's famous Corso Vittorio Emanuele II thoroughfare, as one crashes into the Tiber River and another is crushed by the Vatican.
The Vatican makes an appearance in Spectre .
BLENHEIM PALACE, OXFORDSHIRE, ENGLAND When cranes and Aston Martins were seen at Blenheim Palace in Woodstock, Oxfordshire in February, locals were hopeful that 007 was coming to town. And they were right. The iconic stately home, which is the primary residence of the Dukes of Marlborough, served as one of the film's locations.
OXFORDSHIRE, ENGLAND Blenheim Palace has previously featured in several films, including Gulliver's Travels and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix .
MEXICO CITY, MEXICO Daniel Craig and co. also headed to Mexico's capital, where they were busy filming the film's heart-pumping opening chase sequence over a 10-day shoot. Get ready for some spooky action, as 007 dons fancy dress while on a mission in Mexico City during The Day of the Dead...
MEXICO CITY Aerial shots of Mexico City's Zocalo can be expected with nail-biting helicopter scenes that involved 1,500 extras.
LONDON, ENGLAND Lots of filming for the latest highly anticipated Bond film took place in the British capital, so expect to see plenty of London's stunning skyline in action-packed scenes, including an epic boat chase on the River Thames and shots of Big Ben, Southbank, Notting Hill, Camden and Covent Garden.
TANGIER, MOROCCO Several of Morocco's mystical locations were chosen for Spectre and the port town of Tangier was one, as the last leg of the movie sees Britain's premier MI6 agent finding himself facing heat, sun, and a fair amount of desert dust in Tangier's old Medina and the Kasbah.Erfoud, located in Morocco's Sahara, was also visited by the film crew. Erfoud is no stranger to film crews; Prince of Persia and The Mummy were both shot in the area.
PINEWOOD STUDIES When not filming on location, plenty of scenes are shot in Pinewood Studios.The 24th Bond film, Spectre , is out this November, and stars Daniel Craig as Bond, Ralph Fiennes as the new M, Bond girls Lea Seydoux and Monica Bellucci, and Christoph Waltz as the head of the Spectre organisation.
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The James Bond Movie That Featured the Biggest Stunt Explosion Ever on Film
Explosion. Big explosion.
The greatness of the very best James Bond movies is not only measured by their storytelling but also by their abilities to pull off mind-blowing, awe-inspiring stunts. With only the Mission: Impossible franchise standing to challenge it, the Bond movies often push the limits of what action movies are capable of. The titular super spy is often put in life-threatening positions that he has to flip, jump, or detonate his way out of, often making for some of the most thrilling set pieces in their respective movies. Well with Spectre , 007's 24th outing, the series set a new bar for itself. In the biggest stunt explosion ever put on film, the Bond franchise set an incredible world record that is still yet to be topped.
'Spectre' Is Plenty of James Bond, But No Thrills
To get the full picture, first, we have to set the stage for the stunt. Spectre already had the tall order of following up the most highly acclaimed Bond film yet, Skyfall . This movie had nowhere to go but bigger. That meant a larger story, more characters, doubling down on the twists, and the expectation for the best action in the series yet. Well, unfortunately, the end results only ended up delivering on half of that. By 2015 standards, Spectre just might have had the biggest James Bond tale yet. It also had a gargantuan ensemble of characters, some new and others reintroducing some of the franchise's scariest Bond villains like Ernst Stavro Blofeld ( Christoph Waltz ).
That being said, Sam Mendes ended up missing the mark almost entirely. This is easily the most drab movie in the history of the 007 franchise. Everything is gray, there's a storyline that doubles too far down on Skyfall's storyline of Bond's troubled past , and way too many long, depressing conversations. Despite marketing itself as somewhat of a tonal return to the Roger Moore era, Spectre is the end result of Daniel Craig's era taking itself far too seriously. (Yes, even with that couch gag at the beginning of the movie.) You can feel Mendes trying to counteract the darkness of Spectre with little jokes here and there , but the balance is far too uneven.
'Spectre' Has an Epic Explosion
Nothing appears to try and make up for this lack of action and thrills more than the behemoth explosion that takes place towards the end of the film. After being tortured by the evil mastermind that is Ernst Stavro Blofeld, Bond and Madeleine Swann ( Léa Seydoux ) manage to escape his clutches and, in the process, blow up his entire base. We're not just talking about a little explosion that shatters some windows and sends some debris flying, either. Blofeld has a ridiculously sized Dr. Evil-like base, so in order to blow that sucker up on screen and do it for real, Mendes would have to go big .
The stunt was achieved on June 28, 2015, when the team was filming in Erfoud, Morocco. To pull this one off, the team detonated 8,418 litres of kerosene with 33kg of powder explosives, leading to an explosion that lasted over 7.5 seconds. This led to the total yield equivalent of 68.47 tons of TNT. So even if you haven't seen Spectre , it's probably not hard to imagine the enormity of this explosion. It towers over Bond and Swann's heads and engulfs the entire horizon in a blazing fire and thick, black cloud of smoke, but the two characters hardly seem phased. In a movie that's about as lifeless as the Bond series can possibly get, this scene sticks out like a welcome sore thumb.
Daniel Craig's 'No Time to Die' Also Sets a Record
Spectre wasn't the first movie in the franchise to have a gonzo stunt like this. The Bond movies are made of these! After a period of CGI-heavy Pierce Brosnan movies, the Craig era became filled with one practical stunt after another. The opening parkour chase in Casino Royale alone seems to try and make the point that these movies would be returning to more grounded action. We can't throw too much shade at Brosnan, though. After all, the opening of Goldeneye does have the most impressive stunts in the entire series with the opening jump off of the dam. Apparently you can't set a world record in one Bond movie and not try to again in the followup, because Spectre 's sequel, No Time to Die , went on to blow up the most high explosives ever in one single take. Let's make setting world records a franchise tradition! Despite being one of the most boring movies in the long history of James Bond movies, Spectre also managed to deliver one of incredible explosions ever put on screen. There's not much to remember about the franchise's 24th outing, but no one can take its world record title away from it.
The Big Picture
- Spectre attempted to follow up on the success of Skyfall with a bigger story and more characters, but fell short in terms of delivering thrilling action.
- The movie is criticized for its drab and serious tone, falling short of Daniel Craig's other James Bond outings.
- Despite its shortcomings, Spectre set a world record for the biggest explosion in a film, showcasing an enormous explosion that lasts over 7.5 seconds and engulfs the entire horizon.
Erfoud is an oasis town in the Sahara Desert , in the Drâa-Tafilalet region in eastern Morocco . It is divided into several districts: Hay Salam, Hay Jdid, Hay Ziz, Hay el Bathaa, Hay Annahda, and Hay el Hamri.
Due to its proximity to Merzouga desert village in the Erg Chebbi Dunes, Erfoud has developed tourist-related infrastructures such as hotels and restaurants.
Erfoud is a destination for filmmakers due to the beauty of the surrounding Sahara Desert and the town’s oasis areas. Erfoud has been a filming location for many films, including:
- March or Die (1977)
- The Mummy (1999)
- Prince of Persia (2010)
- SPECTRE (2015)
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A Comprehensive Travel Guide to Erfoud
Are you interested in seeing the beautiful palm oasis in Morocco? Then Erfoud and its surroundings are the best choice. It is one of the best places to visit in the south of Morocco on the way to the Sahara. It is located in the middle of the desert where the beautiful oases are located along with the tall palm groves that will lead you along the way. Known as the ‘Gateway to the Desert’, this is also a great destination for filmmakers due to the quality of the natural light and the beauty of the surrounding villages and desert oases. If you are considering going to the south of Morocco, you should definitely visit Erfoud to see its beauty and charm with your own eyes.
General Information About Erfoud
Erfoud is the starting point of four-wheel-drive excursions and multi-day camel rides in the region of Tafilalet. The town is located on the border of the Tizimi palm grove with the Tafilalet Valley, stretching as far as the eye can see between the Ziz Valley and the Rheris Valley.
Known as the “Gateway to the Desert”, Erfoud is a charming town in the south of Morocco that every traveler should definitely visit once for its beauty. It is also a paradise for fossil hunters. The most unique fossilized species were found here, especially the trilobites. From here it’s not that difficult to get to beautiful spots, in fact, you can easily take an off-road track directly to the dunes. You might be surprised to learn that this place has been used for some of the most popular movies of all time, such as The Mummy and the Prince of Persia. Because of its amazing structure, many become interested in traveling to this place to explore and discover what it has to offer.
In Erfoud, you can spend a lot of time exploring the local tourist destinations. This small town is home to a number of businesses, kashas, restaurants, etc. that provide plenty of entertainment, fun, and excitement.
The Moroccan Sahara and Pre-Sahara
Once beyond the Atlas, Morocco consists of a vast area that includes not only the Sahara but also a pre-Saharan area. This area connects Morocco with black Africa, beyond Mauritania. The current population consists of diverse residents from all regions. This area experiences more than 6 months of drought annually, while the amount of rain is usually lower. The summer drought is exacerbated by the high temperatures due to the continental nature of this region. The landscape seems empty in some places, the population is concentrated in oases with their irrigation cultures. The nomads, whose numbers are declining, can still be found in some rural areas. Despite the efforts made to reforest the area, these efforts were mostly unsuccessful, partly due to the somewhat unfavorable weather conditions, but also due to the lack of financial and human resources, resources needed to maintain and monitor it.
Morocco is a hot country, you will tend to drink a lot. So you have to make sure that your body stays hydrated. Do not quench your thirst with tap water. Don’t listen to the Moroccans who assure you it’s not a problem and it’s drinkable because it could get worse. It is true that the population drinks it without any problems, but it is because their organism can withstand it. Soft drinks and fruit juice are widely available. Alcoholic drinks can be bought in restaurants, hotels, and supermarkets.
The Berbers are the first inhabitants of the country and they are of course everywhere in Morocco. Their name comes from the Latin Barbarus because the Romans considered anyone who was not part of their culture or who they could not understand as barbarian. The Berbers call themselves Imazighen or free people, the semi-nomads you mainly find on the lower flanks of the Middle Atlas. Their ancestors founded the Almoravid dynasty. They cultivate the land. In the Middle Atlas, the soil is very fertile. Along the route from Errachidia to Ouarzazate, however, except in oases, the ground has dried out due to too little rain. Many of these Berbers left their homes to study or work in major cities across the country, and it is very common to see Berbers performing important jobs. However, they continue to maintain close ties to their native village and tribe. Their language was not officially recognized in the Moroccan constitution until 2011 after years of repression and tension.
It seems that “les gazelles” roam all over the country, from the Atlantic Ocean to the desert, because that’s what tourists are called! Don’t get it wrong: it’s meant to be kind! Gazelles, which also mean Al-Ghazal in Arabic and Tamlalt in Berber, have a friendly meaning: honey, it also means beauty. So don’t get confused if someone calls you “gazelle”. It can also be a compliment, depending on where and how you say it.
This is not a joke at all. Those looking to experience something unusual while traveling in the desert can enjoy the many health benefits associated with a sand bath. During the dry seasons, many Moroccans, also from abroad, come to take a sand bath as a remedy for rheumatic diseases, back pain, arthritis, and some skin disorders. It seems that if you lie in the sand for at least an hour, you will feel the difference. If you have any health concerns, consult a medical professional before undergoing this treatment.
Let’s return to the beauty of the landscape, the charm of small villages, the joy of living in a country where life is truly an art. Below are a number of villages that are located near Erfoud.
If you travel from Tafilalet to Ouarzazate you will pass through Erfoud and Jorf. Here too, the landscape shows a series of kasbahs and palm groves. But beyond the Jorf slope you can see an old irrigation system, hundreds of small potholes about a meter high on either side of the road. In fact, they are wells that go deep into the ground to reach the groundwater, for over a great distance.
Towards Tinghir is a platform from which one has a beautiful view over the old part of the town with its clay and straw houses and palm groves. Before the entrance to the town, if you take the road on the right, you will come to the gorges of the Todra which are truly spectacular. The jagged rock walls reach a height of 300 meters in several places. The river Todra runs through this gorge, which needs to be crossed to reach hotels and restaurants. To visit the Todra Gorges, the road winds past numerous villages and past special rock formations. A pass takes you through the gorge to a wonderful starting point for hikes.
Rissani has been the capital of the Tafilalet area for centuries and was the last glimpse of civilization for caravans heading south. Here, packs of cloth, dates, and especially salt are loaded onto camels on their way to Sudan. In 1640 the current ruling Alawite royal house of King Mohamed VI settled in the old part. The king is a descendant of Moulay Ali-Cherif, the first sultan and founder of the dynasty. On the way to Erfoud is a beautiful ksar with a wonderful panorama of the oases of Tafilalt, further on you can see the scattered ruins of ancient Sijilmassa.
Rissani is today an important center where the inhabitants of the region make their purchases. The bustling market takes place three times a week and it is an advantage to get to know the traditions of the locals, here is also a meeting place for traders and residents of the region, they meet every market day that they would never see otherwise. Not only are the necessary purchases made here, but all kinds of news are also exchanged. In the souks, the price is still negotiated the old-fashioned way. Nearby is the historic mausoleum of Moulay Ali-Cherif, the founder of the Alawite dynasty. Behind this mausoleum are ruins of the ksar Abbar. Furthermore, you can see the Ksar Oulad Abdelhalim.
Merzouga and the dunes of Erg Chebbi
This cannot be missed! from Erfoud, it is about 55 km via a tarmac road. The best times here are at sunset or sunrise. It is so interesting to watch the sun sink into the horizon and take on a beautiful sky color. An overnight stay in a luxury desert camp at the foot of high orange sand dunes is highly recommended. It will certainly be a fun experience.
Getting into the City
You should be somewhat familiar with the modes of travel in Morocco to reach Erfoud easily. The moment you step into southern Morocco, you have to go straight to Rissani. There you also get easy access to the dunes of Erg Chebbi. To make your journey more adventurous, you have to drive about 13 km on asphalt road and then another 26 km on the desert track and then you will come to the famous Sahara dunes. Don’t let this discourage you. If you are a real thrill-seeker, this won’t be a problem for you. Before the construction of the asphalt road between Rissani and Merzouga, Erfoud was especially popular with travelers and was known as a base for visiting the sand dunes of Erg Chebbi. Now that this is no longer the case, the city is in danger of falling into long winter sleep.
If you go to the town of Erfoud via the N12, you have to drive through Rissani or directly across the river to Erfoud. If you plan to travel to the city by car, there are two main roads. One is the R702 which connects Erfoud with nearby towns such as Jorf, Tinghir, Tinejdad, and especially Ouarzazate. The second is via the N12 which connects the region with the province of Zagora. The other road is the N13 which connects Errachidia and Erfoud itself.
Road distances from Erfoud to other cities of Morocco:
- – Erfoud to Rissani : 19 km (N12)
- – Erfoud to Merzouga: 55 km (R702)
- – Erfoud to Errachidia: 80 km (via N13)
- – Erfoud to Ouarzazate: 315 km (N10)
- – Erfoud to Fez: 440 km (N13)
- – Erfoud to Marrakech: 510 km
Traveling to Erfoud by Bus
If you choose to travel to Erfoud by bus, you will take a different route from the western part of the city. If you are traveling from Marrakech, you have the choice of taking the road that runs through the Draa Valley or the Dades Valley. You can buy the ticket from 3 of the most popular ticketing agencies. Actually, you only have 3 options: the Supratous Ticket Office , bus counters at the bus station and finally the CTM Ticket Office .
From Marrakech, there is a daily bus from the company Supratours. Depart from the company’s main train station at 08:30 and arrive in Erfoud around 20:00. The ticket costs about 17 euros.
Once in Erfoud, you can explore the region on foot or by rental car. You will find many reasons to travel to Erfoud as it has a lot to offer for every traveler.
My name is Youssef, but my friends call me Icho as this is my Berber name. I work as a driver/guide. I also organize tailor-made adventure tours for groups, families, and individual travelers through Morocco. My passion is learning different languages as in my job I meet a lot of people from different countries and it is great to speak their languages.
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What to see in Erfoud, top things to do and discover
In this article, we are going to talk about the top things to see and discover in the city of Erfoud. Moreover, we going to see the main activities to try there, where to stay and more.
Erfoud (Arfoud) is a small town in southeastern Morocco, in the Tafilalet desert oasis. The city is administratively part of the Draa-Tafilalet region (Maghreb region). Also, it is situated near one of the world’s greatest deserts, the Sahara desert of Merzouga. Erfoud is known as the “Gateway to the Sahara” among visitors. It is a small Moroccan city that is really exciting. During the French invasion of the region, French troops conquered it last and used it as an outpost.
Built by the French alongside the path of the Ziz River, never running out of water, the small town of Erfoud lacks the charm of a centuries-old settlement. Its red-sand buildings, however, stand out with striking contrast against the sprawling palm trees (nearby is the Tizimi oasis) and against the surrounding desert. With good hotels, restaurants, and a lively souk, Erfoud is a great starting point to explore and see the surrounding landscapes and desert oases.
For several decades, the Tafilalet tribes attempted to retake the area, but the French were able to station a garrison there and turn the small town into an administrative base. After Morocco’s independence, the region of Erfoud served as a military base.
Erfoud sights and attractions
The most famous attractions to see in the city of Erfoud are:
- The royal palace.
- The fortress walls of Ksar Maadid.
- Macro Fossiles Kasbah Museum.
- The market (souk).
The most fascinating thing is the Macro Fossiles Kasbah Museum, where you can see ammonite fossils. In fact, scientists estimate that these fossils are 500 million years old. Also, the fortress walls of Ksar Maadid are among Morocco’s oldest fortifications. Visitors to Erfoud often head to Merzougato to experience a camel ride or a 4WD trip to see the golden sand dunes. The Erg Chebbi sand dunes can reach heights of 150 meters.
Shopping in Erfoud
Erfoud, like other Moroccan cities, has a number of oriental bazaars. Every Saturday, the Erfoud Central Market Souk is open. On one hand, you could purchase there oriental sweets, textiles, and souvenirs made by local artisans there. On the other hand, a wander around the bazaar itself is an excellent way to learn about Moroccan customs. The souk (oriental bazaar) is particularly interesting on Saturday mornings when it is especially vibrant and crowded.
Hotels and resturants in Erfoud
Erfoud has a population of around 24 thousand inhabitants, but the area has a well-developed infrastructure. There are several hotels to satisfy all of the visitors who want to ride the sand dunes. The main well-known are:
- The four-star Hotel Belere, which is ideal for both recreational and business travelers.
- The four-star Xaluca Maadid Arfoud Hotel is conveniently situated near most local attractions and business centers.
- Chez Gaby Hotel, a three-star hotel with a tour counter, a beauty salon, and several swimming pools.
- Ksar Assalassil, a three-star hotel in a convenient location.
- Kasbah Tizimi, a four-star hotel with several swimming pools, a beauty salon, and bicycle rentals.
Restaurants in Erfoud are known for their warm hospitality, excellent service, and delectable cuisine. Firstly, the restaurant Benhama Erfoud is ideal for those who enjoy French and Italian cuisine. Moroccan and Mediterranean cuisine can be tasted at Maison Boutchrafine and Chez Aicha. Dakar Restaurant is a popular lunch and dinner destination for young people who value the availability of free Wi-Fi and high-quality fast food.
Activities to try in Erfoud and its surroundings
From the main square of Erfoud, you can cross the bridge of Bab el Oued and follow the track of a steep hill to the military fortress of Borj-Est. This fortress was built as an outpost of the French Army and was occupied by the Foreign Legion. From there, the views of the entire region are truly wonderful, as they are from all over the Djebel Erfoud. In October, the traditional date festival takes place, attracting people from nearby villages.
We recommend the excursion that leads to Rissani. In fact, It is a town where there is a crowded market 3 times a week (Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday). This is where people sell leather products and pottery. Characteristic are the walls that surround the town, and the narrow alleys of the center, a sort of urban labyrinth. In the surroundings, there is the Ksar d’Abbar, the Ksar Oulad Abd el Hadim and the remains of the ancient capital of Tafilalet, the ruins of Sijilmassa.
Erg Chebbi is an expanse of golden-colored sand that stretches for about 20 kilometers, approximately 55 kilometers southeast of Erfoud. There, visitors must book in advance to secure a place in one of the two dozen hotels that have sprung up around one side of the Erg, near a magnificent series of large sand dunes that change according to the tone in which the light of dusk or dawn illuminates them. An ideal place for romantic travelers looking for the excitement of the Sahara Desert. At the reception of the hotels, you will find information about camel tours or Land Rover in the desert, in the surroundings, you can also find rock paintings.
How to get to Erfoud
To get to Erfoud you can come from two different directions: from the west, that is from the area of the coast of Agadir and Marrakech, following to Ouarzazate and from there head towards Erfoud through the Dades valley. Alternatively, you can take a longer but equally spectacular route that leads first to Zagora and then to Rissani from where you go up north to Erfoud.
An alternative route is the one that comes from the north of the area of Fes. It crosses the Middle Atlas along the N13, through the Zad pass, the Tizi n’Tairhemt, and the Ziz gorges until reaching Erfoud, in the heart of the Tafilalet.
The best time to go there
The best period to visit the Tafilalet area is surely spring. It is when the clear sky is not accompanied by the torrid temperatures of the desert. In April and May, the maximum temperatures reach 30 °C while the Atlas Mountains show their snowy profile in the distance. Temperatures can drop quite a bit at night, and it is always a good idea to have a fleece and a sweater handy, as well as a windbreaker if you plan to watch the sunrise from the dunes of Erg Chebbi. The wind is always strong there. Autumn is also an ideal season, and many people come to see and visit Erfoud in October, the time of dates.
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