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The Great Oasis Valleys Travel Guide


Properly known as M'Hamid el-Ghizlane, or Plain of the Gazelles, M'Hamid neatly marks the end of Morocco's Great Oasis Valleys and the end of the asphalt road. The modern village of M'Hamid is not particularly attractive as a destination in itself—a one-street town with overeager desert tour companies hustling for business. However, it is a vital arrival and departure point for forays

into the Sahara, which awaits at the end of the main street. It is from M'Hamid that the doorway opens for visiting Morocco's other great desert destination—Erg Chegaga—the highest dunes in Morocco, towering at 300 meters.

The outlying small villages of Ouled Driss and Bounou in the palm groves just before M'Hamid, have interesting kasbahs that can be visited, and a short hop across the dried river bed of the Draâ, next to the mosque in M'Hamid, takes you toward the site of the original village, some 2 km (1 mi) away, where there is a 17th-century Jewish-built kasbah that is still inhabited by the local Haratin population.

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