Moroccan desert of Erg Chegaga

Desert of Erg Chigaga in Morocco

Erg Chegaga is a breathtaking region of the Moroccan desert that has the power to excite and captivate any traveler who sets foot on its sandy terrain. If you’ve heard of this awe-inspiring location but are unsure of its exact nature and location, please don’t worry; we’re here to provide a detailed and informative explanation. Read on to discover all the fascinating details about Erg Chegaga and why it’s considered one of the most enchanting destinations in Morocco.

What is Erg Chigaga and where is it?

As you may know, the term “erg” refers to a part of the desert that is sandy, such as the well-known dunes found in the Sahara, even though most of this desert is stony on Moroccan soil. Erg Chigaga is an area with large dunes made of fine golden sand that is shaped by the wind and, due to this, is not constant and changes over time. It is a breathtaking experience to witness them, as they seem like a vast sea that surrounds the entire landscape.

In southern Morocco, near the Algerian border, lies Erg Chegaga in the region of Zagora. The town that shares its name is not too far away, and the area is often referred to as the “desert of Zagora”. There are also many tourist destinations in the nearby Draa River valley. For comparison, Erg Chegaga is approximately 450 kilometers away from Marrakech, closer than the desert of Merzouga which is 550 kilometers away from Marrakech. Erg Chebbi, another well-known dune area, is located in Merzouga. Therefore, for those who don’t have enough time to travel to Merzouga, a trip to the Zagora and Erg Chegaga deserts could be an interesting alternative.

Things to do in Erg Chigaga

If you want to experience the magic of the Sahara desert, you should consider visiting Erg Chigaga. Riding a dromedary through the dunes is the most appropriate way to get around in this area. However, for those who prefer motor vehicles, traveling in a 4×4 is also an option. You can witness some of the most spectacular sunsets and sunrises here, and spend the night in a tent camp where the stargazing is unparalleled.

If you have enough time, you can plan to visit additional local attractions. One of the places you can visit is the village of Zagora, where the residents’ daily routines are unique and adapted to the desert environment. Moreover, the journey to Erg Chegaga is an unforgettable experience itself. If you want to explore this unique area of the Sahara, you can contact Vacations In Morocco. Our company offers various tours and excursions to Erg Chigaga, especially from Marrakech.

1. 4WD desert excursion

Erg Chigaga is home to the biggest dunes in the area and the sacred oasis Foum Laaleg. To get there, embark on a 4×4 trek through the varied landscape and topography. If you’re up for a bit of adventure, head to the middle of Lake Iriki, a popular off-road driving route and the location of many rallies. While you’re there, why not stop by and visit a Nomad family to learn about their way of life? You can even sample the famous sand bread that this region is known for.

2. Berbers camping

If you’re someone who loves the great outdoors, camping in the desert is an experience like no other. The desert offers unique landscapes, wildlife, and breathtaking views of the stars. In Lake Iriki National Park, there are several different areas where you can camp, including ergs like erg lmhazil, erg lghoul, and 3bid lya. You’ll find a range of camping options, from basic sites to more luxurious accommodations.

3. Explore the sand dunes

As you wander through the vast expanse of the Sahara, surrounded by towering sand dunes, you’ll feel a sense of peaceful serenity wash over you. Wake up early to watch the sun slowly rise above the horizon, casting a warm glow over the endless desert. And as the day draws to a close, stay up late to witness the fiery hues of the sunset, painting the sky in a breathtaking display of color. By immersing yourself in the natural beauty of the Sahara, you’ll experience a truly unforgettable journey.

Places close to Erg Chegaga

The sensation of being distant from any indication of urbanization must be enough motivation to finish this trip. However, you have the option to alter your route and visit nearby attractions or start your tour from the erg and explore the surrounding region. Here are some examples of such places:

1. Lake Iriki

This vast expanse of fossilized mud, known as the Draa River, has been devoid of water for over two decades. It’s worth making a stop here on your way back. The only semblance of life are mirages, which are optical illusions of landscapes that seem real. Occasionally, during the rainy season, small lakes emerge that attract local birds.

2. M’Hamid Ghizlane

The old caravan crossing, built entirely out of mud, is an architectural marvel that warrants a visit despite being in close proximity to the town. The ksars that lie on the outskirts of the city are famous for their advanced state of disrepair, which adds to their charm, making them a must-see for anyone interested in history and culture.

3. Tamegroute

This place was initially a hub for education and religion and is famous for its unique green pottery. The neighboring city is worth visiting as it boasts a library with over 4,000 manuscripts, a busy pilgrimage site, and an underground kasbah that accommodates hundreds of families and was built to endure the extreme heat.

4. The oasis of Om Laalag

Nestled within an adobe wall that spans over 15 hectares of land, lies a breathtaking oasis that boasts of a flourishing palm grove and a steady flow of crystal-clear water. Situated in close proximity to the Erg Chigaga desert, this oasis exudes an aura of holiness that is truly remarkable. The surreal landscape and the calming sound of the flowing water make this oasis a place of immense tranquility and serenity.

5. Taznakht Village

This community produces the best Berber carpets in the country, which you can purchase at cooperatives to avoid middlemen. Choose between Erg Chebbi or Erg Chigaga based on what you want to experience. Visit Erg Chebbi first and plan a second trip to see more desert views, ending with Erg Chegaga.

Contrasting Deserts: Merzouga and Erg Chigaga

The distance from civilization is a major factor that sets Merzouga apart from Erg Chigaga. Merzouga is only a 30-minute camel ride or walks away from the Erg Chebbi Dunes while getting to Erg Chigaga takes a longer two or three-hour journey from M’Hamid. The journey to Erg Chigaga is like a classic three-act movie. In the first act, we cross a vast plain filled with hills and dark stones called the “black desert.” In the second act, as we move further into the mounds, the sand becomes lighter and even the slightest breeze can create a ghostly veil of sand. Finally, in the third act, we are greeted by a variety of poisonous plants upon reaching the erg. Though it requires patience, the journey is rewarding as we gradually approach our destination.

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Vacations In Morocco: Travel Guide

If you want to learn about Morocco and its culture, check out our travel blog. We cover important Moroccan facts and characteristics, and provide information for women who are interested in traveling to Morocco. Vacations In Morocco, a travel company, offers blog posts about various locations including Fes, Marrakech, Casablanca, and more.