Merzouga Tourist Attractions
Merzouga is a small village that is famous for its proximity to Erg Chebbi. It is at the cross-roads of Rissani, Erfoud, and Alegrian border. Its proximity to the Saharan erg brings many tourists, who are traveling to the desert, to Merzouga. Though extremely close to Sahara, the city resides on Morocco’s largest natural underground water body.
There are exciting activities that you can enjoy while exploring Merzouga. You can go on an ATV quad adventure or taste the traditional Berber life. The beautiful oases of the city are a welcoming spot to picnic and spend the day. Missing out the camel ride while on the edge of the Erg Chebbi is no less than a cardinal sin. You can also watch the splendid sunset and sunrise on the top of sand dunes.
Its convenient distance from Rissani and Erfoud makes for great day trips.
With lip-smacking traditional dishes to the historic landmarks, the city offers something for everyone.
Explore the Erg Chebbi Desert
The biggest draw of the city is its closeness to the desert. It automatically becomes the best place to stay at when you want to experience the desert to the fullest. There are dunes that emerge unexpectedly from the sand. Some are as tall as 150 meters. The Grand Dune De Merzouga is the closest sand dune to the village and therefore derives the name from it. This dune is the highest and most spectacular one. Recognized by its tamarisk tree landmark at its base, this sand dune is not to be missed.
The best time to explore the barren land is during the sunrise and sunset when you can watch the sky change color over the golden dunes. The surreal experience has stopped time for many and will surely take your breath away.
It is suggested to rent a camel ride and go a little farther than the crowd to experience the dunes, untrodden sand, and the magnificence of the desert.
Dayet Srji Salt Lake
Just west of the village is the Dayet Srji lake. The best time to visit this lake is during the spring season when different species of birds fly here. You will see flamingos, desert warbler, Egyptian nightjar, falcons, and desert sparrows flying in flocks to enjoy the water of the lake.
However, beware of the snakes and lizards. The place is inhabited by hedgehogs and sometimes you might even spot desert foxes here.
You can see the desert and its dunes across the lake. This play of nature is certainly fantastic to witness. A rather great site for picnicking and spending the time quietly, relishing the scenery.
Camping in the Middle of the Desert
Many travelers and adventurers pitch their tents in the desert to spend a night like a Berber would. You can rent a camel ride that will take you to the desert settlements and spend the night under the starry sky, in the middle of the desert. Many cultural events are organized so that the campers can spend the night enjoying the Moroccan culture. Bonfires are arranged, there is dance and music, which is accompanied by tantalizing local food.
If camping is not your thing, you switch to the adrenaline-pumping ATV ride in the desert.
A Day Trip to Rissani
Only 42 km away from Merzouga is the small town of Rissani. You can go on a day trip to Rissani’s popular market region. Rich in architecture, lively commotion, art and craft, it is one of the most important markets in the region. You will find vendors selling fruits, vegetables, garments, street food, daily utilities, fish and herbs. There are shops in the market selling carpets and copper pots. You will find cosmetics too.
The traditional market of Rissani also inhabits café where you can stop for snacks and drinks.
Where to Stay in Merzouga?
With increasing interest of travelers in Merzouga, lodging options are also increasing. There are many hotels that you can choose from. You will find affordable as well as extravagant options that make your stay at Merzouga comfortable. From inside the village to the middle of the desert, accommodations can be arranged anywhere.
Desert Berber Fire-Camp: If you are intrepid and willing to spend your nights in the desert then this is the right place for you to lodge in. A 2-hour camel ride will take you the Berber tents where you will enjoy authentic Moroccan dishes, music, and dance.
Riad Nezha: The luxurious riad has an onsite pool and organizes trips to fossil quarries, camel ride, 4×4 tours, and much more. The riad consists of 10 rooms and 2 suites, all decorated in traditional Moroccan essence. There is a garden, a tea room, a restaurant, and 2 large roof terraces.
Sirocco Luxury Camp: With comfortable bedding, lantern-lit romantic ambience, beautifully carpeted outdoor dining area, and all needed furniture, the camp is as beautiful abode as it is comfortable. The camp provides facilities like Wi-Fi, free parking, restaurant, in-room breakfast, shared kitchen, and a separate menu for children
Riad Moha: This pocket-friendly riad has a restaurant, air-conditioned rooms, Wi-Fi, airport shuttle, bar, 24-hour desk service, private bathrooms, and authentic Moroccan experience. With all basic needs covered, the riad is perfect for the enthusiastic travelers who tour by the day and need comfortable room to sleep at night or post a blog.
Other camps and hotels you can check out are:
- Sahara Sky Luxury Camp
- Auberge Les Roches
- Merzouga Dunes Luxury Camps
- Casa Hassan
- Auberge La Source
- L'Homme Du Desert
Where to Eat in Merzouga?
Merzouga is mostly serving traditional cuisine so, get your cutlery ready for tagine and couscous. There are restaurants in and around the center of the city where you can enjoy great ambience and scrumptious food. The best in our list are:
Restaurant Cafe MORENO – Go here for Moroccan, African, or Mediterranean cuisines
Cafe Restaurant Merzouga – This one serves African, traditional Moroccan, and International Mediterranean dishes
Nasser Palace Restaurant – Apart from Moroccan, the restaurant serves dishes centered around Middle Eastern cuisine
Restaurant Cafe NORA – You will find pizza, vegetarian, and vegan options in this restaurant