Sign Up
Newsletter Signup
Free Fodor's Newsletter

Subscribe today for weekly travel inspiration, tips, and special offers.

Passport: Your weekly travel wrap-up
Today's Departure: Your daily dose of travel inspiration

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. It was once an outpost for the camel corps of the French Foreign Legion, and a large military barracks reminds visitors that the Algerian border is not far away. Looking at modern M’Hamid—a one-street village with overeager tour companies hustling for business—you

may wonder what's worth defending, but consider the obvious upside. The Sahara awaits at the end of the main street, making this a vital departure point for desert forays, most notably to Morocco’s highest dunes at Erg Chigaga, 50 km (31 miles) west.

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

The sand drifting like snow across the road (despite the placement of palm-frond sand breaks and fences), the immensity of the horizon, plus the patient gait of camels combine to produce a palpable change in the sense of time and space at this final Drâa oasis. The ocean of dunes 7 km (4½ miles) beyond M'Hamid will satisfy any craving for some real Saharan scenery.

Read More

Explore M'Hamid



Trip Finder
Travel Phrases

Learn Arabic Phrases before or while you're on the go!

Download Now

No Thanks

Love To Travel?

Get FREE e-mail communications from Fodor's Travel, covering must-see travel destinations, expert trip planning advice, and travel inspiration to fuel your passion.

How we use your email

Thank You

Now sit back, relax, and check your inbox to start planning your next travel adventure.

Please tell us more about the type of travel you're interested in. Check all that apply.