Visit Desert Morocco
The dunes of Erg Chebbi near the village of Merzouga.
This is a small (by the standards of the Sahara desert) “sandbox” in the middle of the rocky desert Hamada measuring 28 by 7 kilometers. The height of the dunes here reaches 150 meters, and they are unusually picturesque. Here you can stay in one of the colorful guest houses or camp in the middle of the dunes with all the necessary amenities. Surprisingly, in the middle of this desert is the largest underground natural water supply in Morocco.
Near the dunes of Erg Chebbi there is something to see: it is an oasis with a traditional irrigation system, and quarries with fossils (fossils), a desert lake with a wide variety of birds, abandoned mines and a colonial-era village. You can also see the collection of SUVs in the museum owned by the Arab sheikh and watch the performancegnaua in the village of Hamlia. In order to be on time, we recommend that you plan at least 2 nights in Merzouga.
It is most convenient to include a visit to the dunes of Erg Chebbi in the route of the Imperial cities of Morocco or make a 3-4 day trip from Marrakech. The journey from Fes to Merzouga will take 8-9 hours and from Marrakech 9-10 hours.
Be prepared for the fact that there are a lot of tourists in Merzouga. The uncontrolled growth of mass tourism led to the fact that in 2019 the government banned camping among the dunes in order not to spoil the ecosystem and preserve their pristine beauty. Now all the camps are located along the perimeter of the dunes, and you can get to their center only on camelback.
The dunes of Erg Shigaga near the village of Mhamid (Zagora region).
They are slightly larger in area (35 by 15 kilometers), but less in height than the dunes of Erg Chebbi. The highest dunes here reach about 50 meters. However, due to their inaccessibility, they still remain relatively untouched by mass tourism. These dunes are preferred by wildlife connoisseurs, photographers and romantics.
It will take at least 2 days to travel to Erg Shigaga from Marrakech, however we recommend making an additional overnight stay in Ouarzazate to see the highlights of the region. You can get to Erg Shigaga dunes only by SUV (about 2 hours off-road from Mhamid). You can spend the night in one of the guest houses in the vicinity of Zagora, but the best option is a camp in the middle of the dunes. There are both budget and the most luxurious options here, but water is a problem here. It is salty and not enough, so taking a shower, like in a five-star hotel, will not work. But is this what we come to the desert for? In the vicinity of Erg Shigaga, you can see the desert lake Yriki, which, however, is filled with water only during rare winter rains.
Visit Desert Morocco