Merzouga desert, get ready to live an adventure

merzouga desert

   To stand before the immensity of the horizon surrounded only by sand, to be amazed by the colors of the sunrise and sunset, to enjoy the blanket of stars, and to recreate yourself in the deepest silence… Do you want to live your own story of The Thousand and One Night? Make it possible by visiting the desert of Merzouga and, specifically, the dunes of Erg Chebbi (in case you did not know, the word “erg” refers in Arabic to the sandy region of a desert).

   Located 20 kilometers from the Algerian border, the Merzouga desert is part of the Moroccan Sahara region and, as such, is one of the most precious treasures to see in Morocco. Come and discover it!

What to do in the Merzouga desert?

   If you have a couple of days left over after your visit to Fez or Marrakech, don’t miss the opportunity to explore Merzouga up close.

Visiting the village of Merzouga

    The adobe houses of the small village of Merzouga mimic the color of the sand in the distance. Although it is a small village, there is no shortage of hotels, riads, and restaurants with typical Moroccan food to make the visitor’s stay as comfortable as possible. As a starting point for an excursion to the desert of Merzouga, we recommend you visit the village during the day and leave at sunset to spend the night in one of the camps and tents of the desert. This is the only way to live a complete experience in every way!

Merzouga village

Excursions in Erg Chebbi by camel or 4×4

   There are several ways to move around the dunes of Merzouga that will depend on the adventure you are looking for.

   Entering the desert on the back of a camel is one of the most popular excursions if you visit Merzouga between February and November. The idea is to do it at sunset and take the opportunity to sleep in a tent or under the starlight, ideal if you are traveling as a couple and looking for romantic plans in Morocco.

   Despite being in the middle of nowhere, the camps or tents have all the services, so you can enjoy a typical dinner to the sound of Moroccan music and even take a shower to get rid of any trace of dust. Do not forget to take with you a large scarf, essential if there is a sandstorm, and something warm, because you will need it for the key moments: sunset and sunrise, moments in which the desert is shown in all its splendor of lights, colors, and shadows.

merzouga desert
Camel trekking in the Merzouga desert

   If you are pure adrenaline and therefore prefer the faster pace of a 4×4, you should know that this area of the Sahara desert of Morocco is one of the stages of the most important rally in the country, the Merzouga Rally, and is part of the old route of one of the most important in the world, the Paris Dakar.

What to visit around Merzouga

   If you have time to spare during your visit, you can always take the opportunity to explore the villages and regions around Merzouga:


   Half an hour’s drive from Merzouga is Khamlia, a very quiet village (it has just over 400 inhabitants), with a deep-rooted sense of community. Khamlia brings together in perfect harmony the Berbers of the desert with a minority black population: the heirs of the slaves who left Africa for other continents.  Precisely for this reason, Gnawa music is born as a lament, a song in the face of an uncertain future deprived of freedom. If you visit Khamlia, let yourself be enveloped by the magic of these ancestral sounds and dances with such a deep meaning for its people.

Lake Dayet Srij

   Very close to Merzouga (you can even go on foot, although you will not find a tree to shelter you on the way), is this lake that can only be seen if you visit it between June and September, the rainy season. During these months, Dayet Srij Lake is shown in all its splendor. Beyond the contrast between the colors of the water and the desert sand, you will be surprised to see the number of migratory birds, especially pink flamingos, which stop to form a unique landscape.

City of Orion, Celestial Staircase, Golden Spiral

   Located on the Martha plateau, three architectural constructions stand out in the middle of the desert, which is part of the architectural movement known as Land Art. Curious, photogenic, and evocative, if you are in the area it is worth making a stop and discovering one of the manifestations of this style that uses the elements of nature as part of artistic creation.

Kohl Mines of M’Fis

   These old French baryte and lead mines, still active today, are another attraction of this region. They are called kohl mines because this precious product used in cosmetics is obtained precisely from lead. Located seven kilometers from Merzouga, they can be reached by a donkey or on foot on a route crisscrossed by dunes, arid land, and desert vegetation so characteristic of the area.


   About 20 minutes drive from Merzouga we find Taouz, a small village located on a promontory in the rocky part of the desert (hamada). It stands out on the horizon for its adobe buildings, but the most valuable thing is that in this area, a place of great geological wealth, minerals, fossils, archaeological remains, cave paintings, and even a pre-Islamic necropolis has been found.

merzouga desert

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