Merzouga is a small town that sits conveniently on the outer fringes of the Sahara Desert. Its unique location makes it a great choice for visitors seeking to explore the more rugged, remote side of Morocco. Here are 15 reasons to make the journey and visit Merzouga.
1. Desert Quad Biking
Quad biking has become a popular activity throughout the country, but its ability to traverse the rough Merzouga terrain makes it the perfect choice for thrill seekers. Tour operators also take groups of quad bikes into the Sahara desert.
2. Saharan Dune Hikes
Hikes are a fun way to take in the stunning desert landscape. Venture out to the Erg Chebbi dunes for unrivaled views of Merzouga as well as the surrounding desert. Avoid going alone to prevent getting lost among the vast territory. The dunes get up to 350m high.
3. Vanishing Waterways
These surprising attractions appear during the rainy season and disappear as the season ends. Take time to view these unique attractions but do not plan on water sports. The depth levels for most waterways are usually very shallow.
4. Traditional Merzouga Homes
The traditional homes of Merzouga show a rich history that covers centuries. Many buildings sit just on the edge of the desert. Some residents who still reside in the dwellings offer guest accommodations for overnight stays.
5. Sand Baths
Venture just outside the town to experience a sand bath, which many people find relaxing, and even healing. Your body will be immersed in sand, but only to a point at which you feel comfortable. Bring a bathing suit or a t-shirt and shorts so that sand doesn’t get into places you don’t want it to be.
6. Nomad Camps
Try to book a stay in one of the nomad camps offered outside of Merzouga. Most groups meet in the town and begin a journey that includes overnight stays in the desert landscape.
7. Beautiful New Year’s Eve Celebrations
Locals put on a creative New Year’s Eve celebration that includes fireworks and area delicacies. The fireworks display is especially brilliant against the surrounding landscape. Accommodations in the area also have their own presentations for the holiday.
8. Dayet Srji
This salt lake presents a great way to view wildlife including a wide range of birds. Flamingos and ducks are both on display in the area. It is best viewed during spring months for the large gatherings when species migrate to the lake.
9. Sand Skiing
Venture among the dunes for this thrilling desert sport, and known as sandboarding. Climb to the top of each Saharan dune and quickly speed down for an adventure you will never forget. Gear can be rented from local tour operators who also provide transportation.
10. Berber Music Presentations
Merzouga takes great pride in their cultural heritage. This philosophy can be seen in Berber music played throughout the town. Make time for small concerts or just stop and listen as local musicians play at various sites. Some tour guides are also musicians that play for guests at camp each night.
11. Search For Fossils
Searching for fossils is a fun activity for visitors. A wide array of fossils have been discovered in the past including sawfish teeth. Some researchers may be conducting their own digs so be aware of their restrictions.
12. The Oasis
Travel out to the oasis to view a special destination among the harsh desert climate. Visitors to Merzouga can easily access this attraction which is also a part of many tour packages.
13. Desert Picnics
Pack a few local delicacies from the area market and travel to the edge of town for a picnic with an outstanding view of the Sahara desert. Some hotels may also prepare a special picnic per request. Remember that litter should be disposed of in proper containers and never left on site.
14. 4×4 Saharan Adventures
Take a thrilling drive across the town as you make your way to the desert. The rough terrain is perfect for the 4×4 vehicles. Rent your own or travel with a group to make the most out of this type of travel. As always, obey local rules concerning speed and usage.
15. Galerie Laoun
This small art gallery offers a look at the art and culture that the area has to offer. Go on a private tour or just take in the sights over a glass of tea. Guests experience a full arts experience that focuses on paintings produced by local artists.
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This article was originally published February 25, 2015.