Fascination of the Sahara in M'Hamid
The Sahara Desert exerts a total fascination. It can be reached in about eight hours from the Jardin aux Etoiles , by good roads. But the schoolchildren's path can lead you to add extra emotional additions to the course. In M'Hamid, Erg Chegaga promises you intense and unforgettable moments. Book your stay with one of the many operators found on the Internet. A package including for example two nights is sufficient.
Entre Taliouine et Taznakht
Ce restaurant porte le nom de la bourgade. Sa cuisine est simple et bonne.
Une route qui se transforme en piste, mais le paysage est superbe...
Paysages de l'Ouest américain ?
Le spectacle est permanent
La magnifique architecture extérieure ne tient malheureusement pas ses promesses à l'intérieur.
La fêtes aux kasbahs.
From your riad in M'Hamid
Leave the riad very early in the morning. There are several routes to get from the Souss Valley to M'Hamid, gateway to the Sahara, located to the south of the Drâa Valley . We recommend taking through Taliouine, the saffron capital , after having avoided Taroudant from the south (contrary to what Gooogle Maps mentions, which unnecessarily lengthens the journey).
The landscape is superb. Mandatory stop in Tazenakht! This is where the most beautiful and accomplished Berber rugs come from . Don't be fooled by the first tout and prefer the shops outside the village. These are the most typical and often the cheapest.
The first two videos below show how these stunning expressions of Moroccan craftsmanship are made. The third features Amazigh (Berber) singer Fatima Tabaamrant and her dancers on the occasion of the 2015 Carpet Festival.
Three possibilities arise as soon as Taznakht is crossed. The first is to continue straight in the direction of Agdz, then Zagora, before joining M'Hamid to get there at the end of the day.
The second gives Ouarzazate a chance, via the main road. Stop there, if you feel like it, for a night, for example at Dar Daif, which we highly recommend . The third possibility will give you incredible visions if you take the road to Ouarzazate via Tisslit. But beware, it quickly turns into a track, nevertheless manageable.
Fortified village of Tamnougalt
If you have chosen the path of the schoolchildren, after Agdz, which will have already given you your ration of sublime landscapes, you must stop at Tamnougalt. You are in the Drâa valley and the wadi fertilizes the fields. This fortified village dates from the 16th century. It is one of the oldest ksour still standing. A pleasant and knowledgeable guide stands at the entrance to the fortifications surrounded by four gates. Trust him.
Tamnougalt left with regret, the descent of the valley of Drâa sees parade traditional constructions partly dilapidated and large palm groves. We are here in the heart of the country of the date palm, three of which are reflected in the swimming pool of our riad.
Arrives Zagora, which deserves a stop. Whether on the way to M'Hamid or on the way back, unless you are in a hurry, we recommend the excellent Riad Dar Sofiane.
In M'Hamid and through the dunes of Chegaga
Une expérience à faire.
Lumières et désert font bon ménage.
Campement en contrebas
Au nord des dunes de Chegaga, le djebel Bani.
D'autres sont plus luxueux.
Prestations de luxe.
A l'intérieur d'un bivouac.
A proximité de M'Hamid
Au moment du coucher du soleil
From Zagora, you have a long hour's drive to M'Hamid. The sand begins to dawn here and there. The road is sometimes surprisingly good, sometimes a little trickier. Here comes the palm grove of Ouled Driss and a few more welcoming hotels, such as Chez le Pacha , or Dar Azawad , then M'Hamid.
Formerly called Tazagalt in Tachelhit (Berber language), a name which still designates the annual Festival held there, this town, rich in adobe constructions, is populated by former nomads. She lives in the desert. The locals often have only one desire: to return.
One of the stages of the Paris-Dakar
M'Hamid was one of the favorite stages of the organizers of the Paris Dakar when it had not yet left the African tracks for those of South America.
This abandonment, which occurred in 2008, was badly experienced by some in Morocco, but not by the majority of operators who offer excursions in the sand here. M'Hamid suffered from the big trucks tumbling down from nowhere at full speed. More slender cars frightened people and animals, causing damage to nature. Since then, the latter having a horror of heights, other competitions, less invasive, have taken over, such as the rally raid M'Hamid Express.
For all tastes
In order to enjoy the fascination of the desert sand stress-free, it is best to book your excursion in advance. The Internet offers a number of providers and services, from the standard level to the great romantic luxury. Watch out for the most economical packages: they include overnight stays in bivouacs with Spartan sanitary comfort. But isn't that also the adventure in the desert?
All hiking durations are imaginable. One night is too little, two nights is already very good. Try the fun experience that is the camel ride.
Chegaga, the most beautiful dunes in southern Morocco
Bivouacs are set up near M'Hamid. They are used to greet visitors on their arrival. You absolutely must see the dunes of Chegaga . From M'Hamid, you get there in about fifty kilometers, by 4x4, by tracks traced between the tamarisk trees. These dunes, the most beautiful in southern Morocco, form a large area, some 40 km by 15 km.
You cannot see the confines of it, even when climbing one of the highest heights, which can reach around sixty meters. Guides claim that they peak at 300 meters, but this is to encourage you to make the effort to trudge there ...
The reward, at sunset, is fabulous.
Around the wood fire
Many excursions include a stop at the sacred oasis of Oum Lâalag, especially for lunch. At night, desert lovers spend it in bivouacs set up at the entrance to the dunes. There are more than ten of them. These camps formed of tents reinforced with hard structures serve meals. They include sanitary facilities whose comfort depends on their category.
The best time is to gather, in the evening, around the central wood fire, to sing, chat and drink the traditional mint tea, sometimes accompanied by drinks ... more alcoholic.
Is security ensured in this region of Morocco which borders the Algerian border? Even though zero security no longer exists, no matter where in the world one is, the Moroccan security forces are doing a remarkable job, given as an example. Terrorists do not have it easy in the Alawite Kingdom, and we can only rejoice!
Along the border with Algeria, the Royal Armed Forces, strongly established throughout the region, have established barriers deemed insurmountable, equipped with powerful cameras and minefields. In the past, the town of M'Hamid was known for its multiple trafficking. Morocco's extremely determined fight against terrorism had the effect of neutralizing this trafficking, at least for the most part, according to what we know.
Result: any tourist having recently had the chance to stay in M'Hamid and in the dunes of Chegaga will assure you, the most absolute tranquility reigns over this part of the Moroccan desert.
Do not mix up
The surroundings of M'Hamid should not be confused with the formerly Spanish Sahara. Extending to Mauritania, this vast expanse is an integral part of the national territory, according to Rabat. Its border area with Algeria is not recommended for tourists.
The khaïma tent, the most used in the desert
The Berber tent, called khaïma, designates the traditional habitat of the nomadic tribes, who populated Morocco from the Middle Atlas to the Sahara. Brown in color, it is woven from goat, sheep or camel hair, hence its rustic appearance which distinguishes it from the caidal tent.
The latter is in white canvas, with a more sophisticated look. It is decorated with black patterns reminiscent of the oil lamp, says qandil. The khaïma tent includes central pillars and a wooden vault, called a hammar. It is used more for tourist excursions in the desert than the caidal tent, because it is more authentic.
The khaïma tent is made by women, who remain the owners, their status among the Berbers being traditionally much more advanced than among the Arabs. The tent represents fertility and the family. The triangle symbol was used in the exterior decoration of the Jardin aux Etoiles .
Sublime route by Tata or Taznaght and Foum Zguid
De l'eau en abondance, rarissime au Sud du Maroc.
Un désert inattendu.
L'Anti.Atlas devient spectaculaire.