Erg Chigaga: Into The Wild Sahara

Erg Chigaga: Into The Wild Sahara

I was too ambitious with the day. With Lahsen, my friend and driver, I had hiked to the top of Mount Zagore and back down to Zagora. Afterward I fingered the deep green pottery of Tamegroute and lingered in the mudwalled ksar of Amezrou, breathing in history. It was no surprise it was a swift sunset, as it always seems to be in the Sahara. Quickly the dark folded around us as the 4×4 bounced over the rock strewn path. It was my fault we were trekking through the Sahara to our camp in the dark, headlights violently bouncing with the 4×4. Suddenly, Lahsen slammed the brakes and we skidded to a quick stop. A creature loped toward us. I thought it was a dromedary, common across this part of the Sahara. But I was wrong. The shadow of the creature gave way to two great horns gleaming in the headlights. (more…)

Day Trips from Ouarzazate, Morocco

camel tour sahara desertOuarzazate often considered the last big outpost before the Sahara Desert. Filmmakers and crews alike have flocked here in recent years to film blockbusters such as Game of Thrones, Gladiator, Kingdom of Heaven, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, Body of Lies, The Mummy, Babel, Spy Game and many other movies in and around this desert city. If visiting this locale is on your to-do list during any Morocco holidays you might plan, don’t confine yourself to the city alone. There are many day trips from Ouarzazate that are worth the time.

Merzouga

This city is located 50 kilometers from the Algerian border and about 300 kilometers from Ouarzazate. While this is a bit of a drive, this small city is located near the famous sand dunes of Erg Chebbi and Erg Chigaga. Erg Chebbi reaches 150 meters tall and spans 22 kilometers from north to south and 5-10 kilometers east to west. Many camel treks ranging from a few hours to several days depart from this city. If you’re interested in “seeing” the Sahara, but perhaps not for more than a few hours, visiting Merzouga is a great way to do so. (more…)

Most Romantic Destinations in Morocco

waterfall in MoroccoComing up with a list of the most romantic destinations in Morocco is no easy task. The country’s imperial cities boast a myriad of posh riad hotels and romantic dining venues, and there is no shortage of chic beach villas along the coast, but here are some amorous spots that will get you off-the-beaten path and away from the typical honeymoon destinations. (more…)

Exploring Laayoune, Morocco

laayoune moroccoLaayoune is the largest town in Western Sahara, the desert region south of Morocco’s Anti Atlas Mountains. Occupied by Spain until 1974, Western Sahara remains in legal limbo as a disputed territory. After the “Green March” of November 1975—when 350,000 Moroccans marched across the border into the Sahara—a conflict broke out between the Moroccans and the Polisario Front, a group that demanded independence for its native Sahrawi people. Talks have been underway between Morocco and Polisario since a UN-sponsored cease fire in 1991.

The town tends to serve as a stopover point for travelers going between Mauritania and southern Morocco or for those on the way to try kite surfing at Dakhla’s desert lagoon.  From Marrakech, it’s a 16-hour plus bus ride to Laayoune. Although you’ll be driving through desert, don’t expect spectacular scenery like you’ll find at Erg Chebbi; this part of the Sahara is all hamada—flat, rocky desert. (more…)

Exploring Erg Chebbi, Morocco

erg chebbi moroccoSet on the edge of the Sahara Desert in Morocco, Erg Chebbi is one of two ergs (large areas of windblown sand dunes) in Morocco. Most of Morocco’s desert is made up of flat, rockier terrain known as hamada, but Erg Chebbi has sweeping dunes that reach 525 feet in height. Both the 1999 movie The Mummy and 2005’s Sahara were filmed at Erg Chebbi.

Since the dunes are located next to the village of Merzouga, they are often referred to in English as the Merzouga Dunes instead of Erg Chebbi. The most pleasant times to visit the dunes are in spring and autumn when days aren’t as hot as in summer and nights don’t get as cold as they do during winter. (more…)

Touring Morocco’s Diverse Landscape

desert mountain tours morocco
In many ways, travels to Morocco are defined by a trip to the Sahara Desert, which makes up the southern half of the country. But Morocco is also defined by its impressive mountains and rich cultural heritage. To appreciate the beauty, vastness and diversity of the country, consider taking a guided tour that introduces you to some of Morocco’s greatest highlights; a five-day, four-night tour is ample time to satisfy your curiosity. (more…)

Morocco Attractions: From The Desert To The Coast

Even The Camel Thinks It's Fun

Even The Camel Thinks It’s Fun

When you hear about Morocco you probably hear about cities such as Casablanca, Fez, and Rabat; or, you’ve heard of camel treks in the sahara, trekking the High Atlas Mountains or even riding waves near Agadir or Essaouira. Such active-adventures available with Journey Beyond Travel are not solely limited to trekking, however. Read on to learn more this vibrant and verdant (and brown) country has to offer its guests. (more…)