The Erg Chebbi dunes near Merzouga on Morocco’s Algerian border evoke everyone’s most romantic image of the desert.
These ethereal dunes are orange, gold, and golden in color, and an entire business has sprung up on their western rim, enabling you to live like a nomad for a day or two.
During desert tours, you’ll sample Berber cuisine, learn about desert customs, and listen to the old, melancholy music of the Gnawa.
Merzouga is close to the seasonal Lac Dayet Srij, which feeds a lot of desert birds.
Let’s look at some of the top things to do in Merzouga:
1. Erg Chebbi
Visitors go all the way from Mezouga to see the spectacular sea of dunes that stretch for about 30 kilometers along Morocco’s border with Algeria.
The wind is always changing the shape of the dunes, which can rise up to 150 meters above the surrounding desert. Late in the day, when they cast long shadows and the low light brings out the red tones in the sand, they look almost magical.
There are several ways to explore this alien area, including camel, ATV, foot, camping overnight, and even snowboarding!
Overnight in a Luxury Desert Camp in Morocco
2. Camel Trekking
The opportunity to experience the nomadic lifestyle as shown in movies draws individuals from hundreds of kilometers away to this remote desert village.
The most difficult step will be deciding on the best tour company for you.
At Merzouga, you’ll usually start by selecting a headscarf before riding your camel and loping out into the desert.
Tents, food, and drink are normally included in the price; however, you may need to confirm this ahead of time, and many organizations anticipate that you will barter down the price.
Evenings are a happy time, when you may eat a tagine cooked over an open fire, listen to live music, and stare up at more stars than you’ve ever seen in your life.
If you’re camping for many days, you’ll be able to avoid the noon heat in your tent.
Overnight Camel Trek across Erg Chebbi Dunes from Merzouga is a recommended desert tour.
3. Riad Merzouga Dunes
Living in the desert is a whole other experience. Come experience the native life and peace of the desert while learning about our nomadic past. Here is the spot to learn about the true significance of the Sahara Desert.
4. Lac Dayet Srij
This brackish lake is four kilometers west of Merzouga. It dries up in the summer, but when it rains in the fall, it fills up again.
Lac Dayet Srij, which seems like a gigantic blue sheet against the desert sands, is gorgeous under any conditions, but it’s much more spectacular because of its abundance of wildlife.
On the lake’s beaches, people have seen more than 30 different kinds of birds, such as pipits, shelducks, sandpipers, plovers, wagtails, and storks.
The headliners, though, are the larger flamingos, which may be viewed in March and April.
You’ve probably eaten a tagine before.
Traditional Moroccan stews have made their way around the world. They are slow-cooked in a big clay pot and often combine sweet and savory flavors.
Tagines, as you may be aware, have a conical cover that circulates the steam and is removed after a couple of hours or longer to reveal a spicy lamb, mutton, chicken, or vegetable meal that melts in your mouth and comes with couscous.
Many individuals may claim to have made their tagine, but few can claim to have visited a Berber family in the heart of the desert and learned how to create a true tagine.
At Merzouga, you may do precisely that and complete the experience with a drink of mint tea.
A small group of Gnawa people lives in the village of Khemliya, which is not far from Merzouga.
Central and West African slaves were brought to what is now Morocco and Algeria. The word “Gnawa” comes from the Berber word for “slave.” As the Berbers converted to Islam and slavery ended, the Gnawas turned to Sufism, which gave them the freedom to keep doing some rituals from before Islam.
During healing and prayer ceremonies, musicians played bassy, driving tunes on a string instrument called a sintir, while people clapped their hands and chanted back and forth.
Gnawa music is often played outside of Morocco, and big events like the Gnaoua World Music Festival in Essaouira honor it.
In Merzouga, you can set up a guided tour to Khemliya to see this ancient art form in a small setting.
After the performance, you will be asked to play a few notes on the sitar.
7. Morocco National 4×4 Auto Museum
On the edge of Merzouga is a national museum for off-road vehicles that is one of the most unusual places to visit in the city.
This free attraction features a modest fleet of 44 vehicles, including Jeeps, Fords, Land Rovers, Range Rovers, Toyotas, Moroccan army vehicles, and some more bizarre displays, such as a single-seat buggy and an amphibious vehicle.
The oldest car on display is a Ford Model T with off-road tires, which is a bit strange.
8. Sand Baths
A sand bath is an alternative treatment that will provide you with a tale to tell your friends back home. It entails being submerged in a dune during the height of summer.
The sand will be naturally heated to above 40 °C, and a hole will be created for you to lay in with just your face exposed.
This therapy has been used for centuries and is said to help with rheumatism, back pain, arthritis, and skin issues.
You’ll be watched and kept hydrated to avoid dehydration and sunstroke, and after your sand bath, you’ll be given a blanket to keep your body from cooling too soon.
9. Overnight in Luxury Tent in Desert Camp
GetYourGuide.com has a package for you if you’re a high-maintenance person who wants your travel into Erg Chebbi to be as pleasant as possible.
The Overnight in a Luxury Tent at Desert Camp starts with a wonderful sunset camel ride, following which your horse will be hobbled and you’ll retire to a comfortable tent for mint tea, a delicious lunch, and plenty of stargazing.
The following day, you may go quad biking or sandboarding before taking a much-needed shower.
This tour includes transportation to and from your hotel or the Merzouga bus station as well as water.
10. Full-Day Small Group 4×4 Dunes Tour
You may be pressed for time, so substitute a camel for an air-conditioned car and pack in enough activities for two days in only seven hours.
During this tour, you’ll leave the highways behind and glide over the desert beauty, stopping to explore Khemliya, play a sintir, and have lunch with a true Berber family.
You’ll learn about Berber traditions and the intricacies of desert life, including living with sheep and goats and working donkeys.
Madfouna, a filled flatbread also known as “Berber Pizza,” will be your main course.
Book online: Full-Day 4×4 Dunes Tour Morocco Sahara Trips