Monthly Archives: April 2013

Merzouga Gateway to Morocco’s Sahara Desert, Your Morocco Tour Guide

Merzouga, Morocco

Merzouga, Morocco

Merzouga is a small dusty town in Morocco about 450 miles from Marrakech and close to the Algerian border. Ouarzazate is the closest large town. Merzouga is 50 km from the town of Erfoud and Rissani. It is the gateway to the Moroccan desert.

Merzouga lies in the heart of of Erg Chebbi, a 50km long and 5km wide set of sand dunes that reach up to 350m. The landscape constantly changes with the wind sweeping the dunes into new formations and the sun changing the colour of the sand at different times of the day turning from pink to gold to red. The Erg Chebbi is like the great Ergs accross the border in Algeria. The largest dunes are near Merzouga and Hassi Labied. At night, you only have to walk a little wayout into the sand, away from the light, to appreciate the immensity and clarity of the desert sky and the brilliance of the stars.

Merzouga, Sahara Desert Bivouac

Merzouga, Sahara Desert Bivouac

Tourists come to Merzouga to go camel trekking and to experience the quiet stillness and immensityof the desert and the stars at night followed by the sunrise and sunset which is an amazing experience. Local berber tribesman can peform dances and their traditional music and tourists can spend the night in tented camping areas sampling traditional Moroccan cuisine and music by the camp fire.

Make sure you get a turban before setting out into the desert as protection from the heat and the dust.Carry a water bottle and ensure you secure the best bargains for your trips into the desert and pay attention to what is and is not provided.

Merzouga has a number of guest houses and riads if spending the night in a bivouac is not your choice. There are about 50 guest houses of varying categories along the sand dunes, and most of them own camels and can arrange for an extended trek, bird watching and other Sahara activities.

Other activities include trips into the desert by4X4 ,quad biking,hot air ballooning and sand skiing. You can bird watch around the Dayet Srji where there is a lake with flamingos. The Dayet Srji is a salt water lake and offers excellent bird viewing with lots of Egrets, Storks and Shelducks.

The summer months from June to September Merzouga can very hot during the day,, temperatures average around 115 Fahrenheit (45 C) during the summer and it’s obviously very dry. Nights in the desert do get much colder however and you’ll need a good jacket and pullover even if it is swelteringly hot during the day. If you do visit Merzouga during summer months find a hotel with a swimming pool.In March and April there are sandstorms as the Sirocco whips up. The best time to visit is from October to February.

For More Information on a Merzouga Sahara Desert Tour 

Discover The Best of Morocco - Travel Exploration
Travel Exploration specializes in Morocco Travel.We provide Tours and travel opportunities to Morocco for the independent traveler and tailor-made tours for families and groups with a distinctly unique flavor. From Morocco’s Seven Imperial Cities, to the Magical Sahara Travel Exploration offers a captivating experience that will inspire you. At Travel Exploration we guarantee that you will discover the best of Morocco! Call Travel Exploration at 1 (800) 787-8806 or + 1 (212) 618882681 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.

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Taroudant, Mini-Marrakech & Walled Berber City, Your Morocco Tour Guide

Tarodaunt Walled City

If you want a relaxing stay in an authentic walled Berber town look no further than the medieval town of Taroudant. It lies beside the High Atlas mountains in the Sous Valley in the southern part of Morocco and it has retained its authentic Berber character and roots. Taroudant is well placed as a base for exploring the region  to the east of  Agadir  and its beaches, it is on the road to Ouarzazate and the Sahara desert and adrive over the dramatic Tizi n’Test pass to Marrakech.

It is said to resemble a smaller version of Marrakech with its walls and ramparts surrounding the city. For a very short time Tarodaunt was indeed the capital of the Saadian dynasty  used as a base for attacking the Portuguese in Agadir. The Saadians then moved to Marrakech. Taroudant saw its golden age during the reign of Mohammed ash-Sheikh who constructed the city walls and built the great mosque and its minaret in 1528. Taroudant unlike the imperial cities of Fes, Marrakech and Meknes does not have a ville nouvelle, a modern part of town, which greatly adds to its authentic ancient atmosphere and charm. It has a population of around 70,000 but retains its small market town character.

Taroudant remains a traditional Berber fortified  town enclosed by its ramparts which are the best preserved in Morocco, nearly 6 kilometres long with bastions and nine gates that still remain intact. A perfect way to see the town walls is to take a horse drawn caleche or hire a bicycle. It was an important staging and trading post on the ancient camel trading route and there is still a small tannery outside the ramparts selling products made from camel hide such as leather bags,sandals and belts. The town is well known for its quality leather products.

Its souks are welcoming and relaxed and excellent value for discerning shoppers, especially for local crafts and Berber and Tuareg jewellery, for which it is renowned. Prices here are significantly less than in the big cities like Marrakec and Fes. There are souks near each of the two main squares, Assarag and Talmoklate.

There is also a weekly souk outside the city walls, near the new university district. Taroudant has always benefited from the diverse agricultural produce from the Souss  and remains a local market town  .The Berber market, called Jnane al-Jaami, sells spices and dried fruits but mostly clothes and household goods. The Arab souk, however, specialises in handicrafts such as terracotta, wrought iron, pottery, brass and copper, leather and carpets, rugs and jewellery. It is a place to gain a real insight into Morocco’s everyday culture and environment.

It has a very equitable climate in winter and in summer it is cooled by the current from the Canaries. It is therefore no surprise that Taroudant is home to some of the best hotels in the south of Morocco; they include the the exclusive haunt of the rich and famous, the Hotel Gazelle D’Or, which began as hunting lodge for a French baron in the 1920’s and was converted into a hotel after the  Second World War, it has superb grounds. Other well known hotels include the Dar Zitoun and the Hotel Palais Salam and there is a full range of hotel accommodation in town. The Riad al Hossoun also comes highly recommended and has a superb garden and views of the Atlas Mountains.

Activities outside Taroudant include visiting Berber villages in the foot hills of the High Atlas and Anti Atlas mountains and the Oases and experiencing the wild life and birds in the Souss Massa National Park The village of Tioute 36 kms from Taroudant has a Kasbah on a hill which has been partly converted into a restaurant area with a pool which is alluring in the summer heat. The ancient fortified village of Freija is 11 km from Taroudant also has a Kasbah, now the Riad Freija.

For More Information on a Tarodaunt Tour 

Discover The Best of Morocco - Travel Exploration
Travel Exploration specializes in Morocco Travel.We provide Tours and travel opportunities to Morocco for the independent traveler and tailor-made tours for families and groups with a distinctly unique flavor. From Morocco’s Seven Imperial Cities, to the Magical Sahara Travel Exploration offers a captivating experience that will inspire you. At Travel Exploration we guarantee that you will discover the best of Morocco! Call Travel Exploration at 1 (800) 787-8806 or + 1 (212) 618882681 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.

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Filed under Travel to Morocco