Planning Your Time

Doing the entire Great Oasis Valleys circuit is a serious undertaking, and you might miss the best parts for all the whirlwind traveling. So it’s important to set priorities and carefully plan your itinerary. You could easily spend 14 days exploring. Allow at least five to seven if you want to include hiking time and a trip into the Sahara; then decide which dunes you want to discover—Erg Chebbi or Erg Chigaga.

From Ouarzazate, allot a minimum of two days to reach Erg Chebbi, traveling east through the Todra Gorge and Dadès Valley to Merzouga (this allows for an overnight stop in the Todra Gorge en route). On the return leg you can circle along the southern flanks of the Djebel Sarhro, passing via traditional villages like Nekob, into the Drâa Valley before arriving in Ouarzazate again.

Reaching Erg Chigaga from Ouarzazate requires a 4x4 vehicle and at least two days of driving (this again allows for an overnight stop). Head south through the Drâa Valley, admiring Agdz and Zagora en route to M’Hamid; then continue off-road for about 50 km (31 miles) to the dunes. Returning to Ouarzazate, drive the route in reverse or loop back via Foum Zguid.

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