Booking this Ouarzazate to the Erg Chegaga Dunes tour gives you the ultimate, unique desert experience in the Moroccan Sahara. In Erg Lihoudi and Erg Chegaga, you will have the thrill of an unforgettable camel ride. The night is spent in comfortable Berber tents in the middle of the dunes, with a luxury tent option available. Out in the desert, you will enjoy calm and silence, wondering at the expanse and the majesty of the Sahara.
To reach the dunes, you travel over the Anti-Atlas Mountains to Agdez at the head of the Dra’a Valley. Shortly afterwards, the largest Kasbah in the valley, Kasbah Tamnougalte, will welcome you for a visit with a local guide. Driving south, you follow the ancient route of the caravans, which used to bring precious goods from sub-Saharan Africa. On the way you will be passing innumerable, ancient Kasbahs and green oases, both typical of this part of Morocco. In Tamgroute there is time to visit the local, famous, green glaze pottery workshops and the exquisite manuscripts of the Qoranic Library.
In the Sahara Desert itself, you drive passed many distinctive features of a desert landscape and can hunt for fossils in the dry Iriqui Lake. En route before and after the desert, you can visit small Berber villages to get an idea of life in the oases.
On the way back to Ouarzazate displays about Berber rug-making offer an interesting lesson in this ancient skill. Rugs and carpets are an important source of income locally.
Desert Tour 3 days Departure from Ouarzazate
Morning departure by 4×4 to the Anti-Atlas Mountains and the Tizi-n-Tinfifte pass to Agdez where the Dra’a Valley starts. Shortly after this small town, you stop to visit Kasbah Tamnougalte, the oldest Kasbah in the Dra’a Valley, before taking the ancient caravan road between the river and the mountains for a short while.
On the way, we pass many villages and gardens so that you can gain a better idea of the way of life in the life-giving oases. Soon after the police checkpoint in Tansikht, we come to the village of Tinsouline, from where you can drive just a kilometre or so off-road to the fascinating rock carvings of animals long extinct in Morocco at Foum Chenna, some 4000 years old.
Zagora is the largest town in the whole area and where we shall stop for lunch. Later we pass through Tamgroute, where a stop for the potteries famous for the green glaze, which you may have already seen in Marrakech, and also for its ancient Qoranic library with exquisite hand-written Arabic texts.
In the afternoon we drive further south still, to M’hamid, the very gate to the desert and the end of the paved road. This is where the Sahara starts. Here a one- to two-hour camel ride leads to the highest dune to enjoy an unforgettable sunset.
You have dinner and spend the night at an authentic nomad camp with shared bathroom facilities and a private tent for each couple or family.
The return to M’hamid can be on camelback or in the 4×4. After breakfast, you visit the old village of M’hamid, crossing the now frequently dry Dra’a River. The old village is typical of desert dwellings with adobe buildings and covered streets to keep out the searing heat of the height of summer. A wonderful example of these houses is Abdelhadi’s ancestral home which you can visit.
In the afternoon, there is the departure for the Erg Chegaga dunes (300m) with 60km of off-road. This route passes different features of the desert; “erg” (dunes) and “ hammada” (stony desert), oases. These dunes are far away from civilization, in the desert proper, where nomadic life is hard, subject to the vagaries of the wind, sandstorms and sparse rainfall. But the silence and the expanse of the sand are overwhelming. Here you could have a second camel ride if you wish.
Dinner and the night will be in an authentic camp in the dunes, or, once again, you can opt for a night in a luxury camp, with all the amenities of the first desert night in Mhamid.
After breakfast we drive another 90 km across the Sahara over the stony desert, “reg” and “hammada” and across the now dried-up Lake Iriqui. In the middle of this lake, you are likely to experience a mirage and we really can assure you the “water” really is not real. If it has been raining very hard, which is rare, we cannot cross due to the mud. Here you can search for fossils; some lying loosely around but most fixed firmly into the rock.
At the edge of the desert at Foum Zguid, we drive north to Taznakht, famous for its Berber rugs and carpets, where we stop for lunch. Turning back east we arrive in Ouarzazate at the end of the afternoon. Your 3-Day Tour from Ouarzazate to Erg Chegaga Dunes tour comes to an end around 18:00.