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Morocco - Merzouga/Erg Chebbi or M'hamid/Erg Chigaga?

Morocco - Merzouga/Erg Chebbi or M'hamid/Erg Chigaga?

Old Nov 14th, 2007, 08:00 AM
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Morocco - Merzouga/Erg Chebbi or M'hamid/Erg Chigaga?


My first trip to Morocco looks something like this:

April 3, depart
April 4, arrive in Casablanca. Train to Fes.

Overnight in Fes x2 or 3

April 6 or 7: get picked up to do a 4-night tour of desert. Either focusing on Merzouga/Erg Chebbi or M'hamid/Erg Chigaga. I've read a bunch about both, and they both seem equally nice. But wondering if anyone prefers one to the other?

We'll be visiting the Gorges and Ait Ben Haddou, before heading up to Asni and then Marrakech. Overnight in Marrakech for 2 or 3 nights.

If we had to cut down a day, would you spend more time in Fes or Marrakech? I can't decide!!!

My husband and I are 33 and 30 respectively, and we love photography, adventure and experiencing new cultures. If that helps at all...

Thanks in advance!
BostonGal is offline  
Old Nov 15th, 2007, 03:40 AM
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Hi B.Gal
you itenerary tour to MOROCCO would be great therefore you'd arrive in the MOROCCAN economic city ( CASABLANCA) then heading to FES via volubulis.
i've had spent 1 day in FES & it was enough to find out around FES , if you will visit FES be sure MERZOUGA's ERG CHBBI that will be the closest and the shortest way to get to the that desert ( 4 hours driving from FES) . i've visited Morocco yet and i still planning another trip with a group ; so the best and sofest colorfull dunes are in MERZOUGA , as i've visited M'HAMID / CHIGAGA's dunes ( not pure dust shuffeld dunes). visiting MERZOUGA sands you'd be an anual amateur getting over there.
2 hours and half from MERZOUGA you arriving to TOUDRA GORGES the same way to both photogenic cities OUARZAZATE / MARRAKECH , you still have the opportunities having a look at AIT BEN HADDOU , ASNI ...etc
MHAMID's desert is an another side of the way and far away from!
warm regards
irra is offline  
Old Nov 15th, 2007, 09:24 AM
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Given that you'll be coming from Fes, it makes much more sense to go to Erg Chebbi than to go so far out of your way to M'hamid. Going to M'hamid would force yuo to backtrack for several hours just to pick up the road to Marrakech once more, whereas Merzouga is on the way from Fes to Marrakech.

If I had to choose, I would pick Fes over Marrakech...but then I've lived in Fes for several years, so I am rather biased.
jenmaroc is offline  
Old Nov 15th, 2007, 12:07 PM
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Thanks to you both for your replies.

Erg Chebbi it is!

I think the way I have it now is, 3 nights in Fes (2 full days), 3 nights desert, perhaps 1 night at a really nice place in the desert, and then 2 nights/2 full days in Marrakech.

Thanks again!
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Old Nov 18th, 2010, 01:52 AM
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A comment or two about Erg Chebbi vs Erg Chegaga dunes.
There are also small anthills in Zagora- before M'Hmaid. Also some dunes at Tinfou where a camel bivouac can be arranged.
The largest and tallest dunes are Erg Chebbi. The ones at Erg Chegaga are harder to get to- definitely need a 4 x 4 with EXPERIENCED driver guide from that area. They are beautiful with a nice bivouac setup there. No telphone or electric poles, etc
But to take camels to get there- takes over 4 hours 1 way- after getting down to M'Hamid below Zagora.
That is why most folks go to Erg Chebbi- Merzouga as it is more convenient. Hope this info is helpful. elena hall
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Old Nov 18th, 2010, 09:29 AM
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I too am going to take a similar trip - over the holiday period, Dec 23-30, with my wife, in our 50's. We often do rough camping in Ireland so I expect this will be a bit different! Strange to look at a hotel website and see one in M'hamid which offered "1 Tente Bivouac Double". Hadn't seen anything like that when I was staying at Las Vegas last year!
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