The Best Ten Places in M’Hamid Desert – Revealed
Where in the desert should I visit? What is the best place to camp? What is the highest dune? Which is the most remote area? Which is the most beautiful dune? What part of the desert is the most touristic? What is a “must see” on my trek?
At last – a guide that answers all your questions!
Why you should trek in M’hamid Desert, Morocco.
It is impossible to be disappointed by the desert because all kind of deserts are beautiful by virtue of their natural uniqueness, but nobody would doubt that each desert in the world has its own beauty. For our incredible home M’hamid Desert there are more than 10 places but we have narrowed it down to the 10 most beautiful places and will talk about every single location and its characteristics. So here they are in reverse order:
Erg means dune and each erg will always represent a sandy dune region.
10) The burial grasslands of Lbour
This is a collection of lush desert valleys under the Bani Mountains with different types of plants and trees. The home of nomads and the home as well of many camel packs and goats in the spring, not far from the town M’hamid, this is one of the living parts of M’hamid Sahara.
9) M’hamid Palmerie and old settlements (the kasbahs)
M’hamid Palmerie represents the last oasis among the seven oasis of Draa. It is the meeting spot of the Oasis and the Sahara desert.
Inside the oasis, there are around seven old settlements of Haratin. A race of settled nomads whose origins can be traced to Ethiopians and as well Berber. The biggest kasbah is M’hamid Ksar, it is a large settlement built from clay and it contains narrow streets that bear the old Jewish architecture.
8) Iriqi lake and Foum Zguid region
Defies the fact of the absolute desertification. More than 20km of salt flats locally called Iriqi, which is a name given by nomads to the old place of the seasonal lake. In the past, Iriqi Lake was the home of hundreds of different type of birds.
The lake was the home of flora at large, but at the end of the 1960’s The Draa River changed its course and never poured water again which affects the ecological balance and caused a permanent dryness of the lake. Now there is only this large empty land that bears traces of fossils and salty scrub but still worthy to be visited.
The Foum Zguid region represents a huge mountain pass that has a rocky formation all over the area.
7) Oum Laalag Ousis(the Sacre Oasis)
A big spot of palm groves in the middle of nowhere in the desert. Located between Erg Chegaga and the Ouad Laatach (Thirsty Valley), it is a wonderful masterpiece of desert life. Its place is in the middle of rocks and rough landscape that makes it special where normally nobody would believe that it can exist. This place is full of tall ancient palm trees. Desert caravans that brought merchandise like salts, fabrics and at one stage slaves used to pass here to break the long walk to their destination.
6) Ouad Laatach (translated as The Thirsty Valley)
A panoramic combination of the Sahara Desert from the upper valley, both if you are inside the valley or enjoying the views or up the hill. The horizon of the panorama includes long and small white dunes covering tamarisk trees until they get connected with Erg Chegaga and the huge sandy hills all the way around.
5) Erg Lihoudi (Jewish Dune)
Very close to M’hamid about 10 km, this is a bit of an over touristic place due to the camps and is less used by trekkers. It is a very distinctive sand dune with an impressive view because the colour of the dune is white and there are contrasting mountains nearby and empty horizons all around.
4) Erg Bougarn and Lkhandag
The name of this dune can be translated as the horn. It stands for a huge sand hill in the form of a horn. Located up a long hill east of Erg Chegaga, there is a long deep valley circulated by big green tamarisk trees and dunes.
3) Erg Smar
A mixture of Draa Valley and distinctive huge red dunes. The western part of the dunes contains a weird phenomenon where a white dune meets an orange one in a picture more likely to be a dream than a reality. This with no doubt sets it apart from the majority of M’hamid sand dunes which most of the time have a tendency to be yellow in term of colour. In the past, the region of Erg Smar was a farming place for nomads and their little dilapidated old houses still exist.
2) Erg Zahar
A place of mysterious dunes remote from all fixed touristic camps which make it an absolutely quiet place and the most admired destination by Morocco desert trekkers. It is a dramatic orange dune with a remarkable shape. It is considered to be one of most the attractive and romantic landscapes in the region.The surrounding view of the dunes in the Erg Zahar region is really an extraordinary piece of desertification.
(Linda’s favourite of the Best 10 Places in M’hamid Desert)
1) Erg Chegaga
One of the two major highest sand dunes of the Sahara in Morocco, located 60 km west of M’hamid el Ghizlane town. A planet of an infinite horizon of sand dunes, it is proved to be the largest sand spot in Morocco and the sand dunes are endless and spread for miles and miles.
Erg Chegaga also has the biggest grassland area at the region called “Daya Lhamra”, which makes it a fantastic picnic location, you will be amazed when witnessing life from up in these highest sand dunes.
The region of Erg Chegaga is a master piece of large natural reserve in the huge desert of M’hamid and the surrounding areas of Erg Chegaga are the home to assorted flora and fauna.
So there you have it – the Best 10 Places in M’hamid Desert.
Got any you think we should add – pop us a message we’re all ears 🙂
Speak to us to arrange a desert trek incorporating some of these amazing spots.