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Merzougua highlights

Description

Merzouga village:

Located opposite the big dune of Erg Chebbi where a green oasis contrast with the orange color of the sand.This is the biggest and most developed village in the region.Merzouga is the village that gives the unofficial name to Erg Chebbi Dunes, as many people find Erg Chebbi somehow more difficult to memorize, Merzouga from the beginning of the first tourist arrivals to the region gave the name to the dunes. Merzouga saw a huge development in the last decade and now provide all basic amenities to its populations. The houses in the village of Merzouga blend into the colour of the desert, forming part of the landscape. The village is 2 km from Kanz Erremal Hotel and Kasbah and about 60 km south of Erfoud. We can take a walk along the busy main street, which has all kinds of establishments: bazaars, grocery shops, clothes, call shops, repair workshops... Visitors can discover the life that exists in the palm grove, and visit the home of a family and enjoy tea. Ladies have the chance to practise applying Berber makeup to their hands and eyes and buy some traditional perfumes. Merzouga is at the foot of the largest dune in Erg Chebbi, the Great Dune. It can be climbed on foot. At the top, we can enjoy the marvellous view and the sound of silence. The descent is also quite spectacular and one of the best souvenirs of your stay in the desert.

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Hassilabied village:

Located just 4km from Merzouga, it currently serves of residential place for local nomadic peoples who over time have settled along the oasis. The name means “the white well” as tell the story that some nomads once got to this place and found a empty well, with its inner walls white due to the salt water. Nowadays the oasis has great drinkable water and its oasis full of palm trees is something worth a visit.

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Khamlia village

Known as the “village of the black men” is an interesting place because all its population have dark skin, being themselves, descendants of the peoples from sub-Saharan Africa in Mali or Guinea that stayed in the region after the camel caravan routes between North and Sub-Sahara Africa ended. Every year there is a festivals where people from all the region travel to Khamliya and enjoy with local folklore and unique Gnawa music and dance, somewhat reminiscent of the Gnawa tradition of southwestern Morocco.

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Fossil Quarries

In Erfoud you can find many of the best fossils quarries in the World.There are many workshops, shops and even museums you can visit and ask around for private tours to the quarries. Best examples of found fossils in Erfoud include Orthoceras, Trilobites, Crinoids and Ammonites.

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engravings

Departure in the morning after breakfast, we navigate through a cord of small dunes of erg Ouzina along the foot of Black Mountain, we arrive at the first rock carvings of Jdaïd where we do stop to admire the Palm Grove, and then we continue by the track to another site of engravings near Taouz, passage on sites of fossils (layers of orthocone and crinoids) We also visit the vein 12 and lead mines, vanadinite, barite, and then visit of the quoted antique Ouafilal, then we depart due east to the village of Barboza, we will visit a layer of Jurassic (the bones and teeth of animals), we will eat our basket picnic in an oasis, the afternoon return to the auberge by the Dakar Road.

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The purpose of this excursion from Merzouga is to ridethrough the desert for two hours in a jeep, until reaching anoasis that is only visited by Berber nomads. Here, the desertpervades everything and life is lived in commune with nature. We have lunch in the oasis and then lie on our blankets and have a nap under the shade of the palms. During the trip we can stop to take photos, take a walk and observe whatever draws out attention along the route. Visit to a fossil quarrynear Erfoud, where we'll found: Orthocers, gonatites, trilobites, phacops

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Rissani is about 15 km south of Erfoud, in the centre of the region of Tafilalet. At this point, the Ziz valley ends and merges with the desert. The market is very busy, since the village is the centre of attraction for local farmers and livestock breeders who find everything they need. The city is on the caravan route and was once an important stopping place on the ancient Sub-Saharan gold trade route. It is an extremely important historic centre. From this site, the ancestors of the present-day king started out to conquer Morocco, and the mausoleum, which is forbidden for non-Muslims, contains the tomb of the founder of the dynasty, Mulay Ali ash-Sharif. We then travel a circuit of 21 km through the palm groves south of Rissani, along narrow local roads, where we see the ruins of fortified cities and ancient fortified towns, some of them still inhabited by the Berbers. We then pay visit to the mausoleum of Mulay Ali Ash-Sharif and wander through the ruins of the legendary city of Sijilmassa. A true journey back in time! Departure after breakfast in the direction of erg Chebbi and the big dunes of Merzouga, arrived in the small town of Rissani, the capital of Tafilalet, dates town, the Palm Grove and Crafts gardens. You are in the heart of the Tafilalet who played an important economic role in the history of the Morocco since located on the road to gold and caravans from Sudan and Guinea. The day is devoted to the visit of the market (Souk), Rissani, visit of Ksar Oulad Abd Ilhim and Ksar el Fida, former residence of the alaouite sultan Moulay Abderrahmane witness of the ksourienne architecture. Lunch with the Berber Pizza (speciality of Rissani), in the afternoon return to the Auberge Porte De Sahara, enjoyin the evening with music and the rhythm of the Tamtam with mint tea.

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The mines of Mfis are located on a high plateau that has a wonderful panoramic view of thedune sea and desert landscape. They are at one end of Erg Chebbi, near a small military town. The mines are open cast and still operating and the Berber workers experience the daily adventure of working in pits that are more than 30 m deep. Then, following the river bank that is part of the Paris-Dakar rally route, we come to Khamilia, just 15 km from Taouz, at the end of the road, where we can listen to the music of Gnaouas, atraditional type of music played by the descendents of the first freed Sub-Saharan slaves. The half-day excursion ends with a visit to Dayet Srji lake, which only contains water during the winter months, as much as 5 km. The water comes from the river Ziz. It serves as a resting place formigratory birds that spend the winter in Morocco, such as flamingos and waders.

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