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For everyone who wishes to have the fullest desert experience starting in Ouarzazate, this is an excellent choice. Erg Chegaga is the widest, longest and most remote area of Saharan dunes in Morocco. It attracts fewer tourists, so allows a deeper desert dunes experience. The night is spent in comfortable Berber tents in the middle of the dunes, with a luxury tent option available.
To reach the dunes, you travel over the Anti-Atlas Mountains to Agdez at the head of the Dra’a Valley. Here the largest Kasbah in the valley, Kasbah Tamnougalte, can be visited with a local guide as a witness to how family life has changed little over the centuries.
You will be following the ancient route of the caravans, used to bring precious goods from sub-Saharan Africa. You will notice many ancient Kasbahs and green oases, both very typical of this part of Morocco. In Tamgroute, there is time to visit the famous, green glaze pottery workshops and the exquisite manuscripts of the Qoranic Library.
Once in the Sahara Desert itself, you drive passed many distinctive features of a desert landscape and can later 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.
In Taznakht, on the way back to Ouarzazate, displays about Berber rug-making offer an interesting introduction into this ancient skill. Rugs and carpets are an important source of income locally with the craft passed down from mother to daughter.
Desert Tour 2 days Departure from Ouarzazate
Morning departure by 4×4 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 where you can gain a better idea of the way of life in the life-giving oases.
Zagora is the largest town in the whole area and where we shall stop for lunch. Later we pass through Tamgroute with a stop for the potteries, famous for their green glaze, which you may have already seen in Marrakech. The ancient Quranic library with exquisite hand-written Arabic texts is well worth visiting.
In the afternoon, we drive further south still to M’hamid, the very gate to the desert, and the end of the paved road. You leave the asphalted road behind to drive about 60 km across the desert.
The dunes in Erg Chegaga 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 have a camel ride with a guide to the top of the dunes to watch the spectacular desert 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.
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 but we can assure you that this “water” does not really exist. 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 which marks the end of your Ouarzazate to Erg Chegaga tour.