Merzouga or M’hamid?

Hi, Would love some advice from the experts here. My wife and I are off to Morocco in mid May and we want to check out the Sahara. Seems like two good options are Merzouga and M’hamid. Which one should we go to? Here are some thoughts and things we care about (in no particular priority):

  • Ease of getting there: Seems like Merzouga is slightly more accessible through Ouarzazate. Quick question here: Is it advisable to rent a car in Ouarzazate and drive to Merzouga? How are the roads? How long will it take? (looks like the bus takes about 8 hours).
  • Quality of dunes and things to do in the dunes: From google images, the dunes near M’hamid look more pristine and beautiful. Anyone have any experience here?
  • Quality of accomodation: Seems like Merzouga is the winner here.
  • Things to do other than the dunes: I have no idea who wins here. Any opinions?

Would love any thoughts/suggestions. Thanks so much.




There a 3 main sand dune areas:

  1. Merzouga: Beautiful high dunes, great choice of hotels, easy accessible with bus or rental car. The big downside: lots of tourists, specially mid May (top high season). From Ouarzazate it will take approx. 6-7 hours, depending on the stops.
  2. M’hamid – Erg Lihoudi: The Erg Lihoudi sand dunes are small and not that impressive, but (for me as a photographer) very beautiful, there are not many tourists there and it is very peaceful. There are nice hotels in M’hamid and a few kilometers before M’hamid. The access to the dunes is via a short off-road track, that can be done be normal car, but every hotel can arrange that for you. From Ouarzazate it will take 4,5 hours to M’hamid.
  3. M’hamid – Chaggaga: The Chaggaga dunes are as high and beautiful as the ones in Merzouga. The great difference is: you need a 4×4 car with driver, because they are 60km off-road from M’hamid. Every hotel (or travel agency) will be happy to organize this for you. During high season, there will be also many tourists, but it is much more of a desert experience than Merzouga.

Things to do in the both places: camel ride, sleep in a bivouac near/in the dunes, sand boarding (only on the big dunes), or quad driving.





Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *