The Tizi N’Test pass from Marrakech, Morocco to Taroudant leads you over the Middle Atlas, heartland of the Berber people, through hair raising hair pin bends at 2,092 meters overlooking valleys and gorges, small fields and mountain villages. It was here from Tin Mal, the site of the famous Berber mosque that the Almohads rose up and took Marrakech from the Almoravids in 1152.
Merzouga is a small dusty town in Morocco about 450 miles from Marrakech and close to the Algerian border. Ouarzazate is the closest large town. Merzouga is 50 km from the town of Erfoud and Rissani. It is the gateway to the Moroccan desert.
The Sahara Desert is a region worth exploring in Morocco. Morocco’s Sahara Desert is vast and extensive comprising of four peak desert dunes referred to as Merzouga, Zagora, M’hamid and Erg Chegaga. Each part of Morocco’s Sahara Desert offers travelers a unique experience. Merzouga is known for it’s vast and golden Erg Chebbi Dunes that are hundreds of meters high. The regions of Zagora and M’hamid are known for longer, rolling more rustic and earthy colored dunes. Their sister Sahara Desert, Erg Chegaga has a legend of being primarily for the die-hard Morocco adventure traveler who wants to say they made it to one of the last regions. Regardless of which dunes are visited on a Morocco Sahara Desert trip any traveler is guaranteed to be enchanted with the region they choose to visit.
Moroccan food is considered some of the best in the world. The easiest way to discover the true flavors of Moroccan cuisine are to take a Moroccan cooking class or explore various restaurants in Morocco’s Imperial Cities such as Marrakech, Fes, Rabat or Essaouira on a Morocco tour. Another way to discover authentic Moroccan cuisine is to dine with a local family in a Berber Village. Berber villages are known for their unique fare as result that their main staples in making Moroccan traditional cuisine such as couscous are grown locally in their fields alongside special herbs which allows for amazingly tasteful food. Moroccan recipes such as baking bread by fire and a tajine on starlit night can be learning on a Sahara desert tour to the Erg Chebbi Dunes of Merzouga whereby your camel trekking guide takes you off on a journey into the vast dunes to a Sahara camp at sunset to learn the secrets of the Sahara. To fully enjoy a Moroccan meal one must arrive with an empty stomach and then fully prepare themselves for a three or four-course Moroccan feast. As the French proverb says, “Appetite comes with eating; the more one has, the more one would have” so make sure to visit Morocco with an open palate and a big appetite!
For anyone interested in touring Morocco’s kasbahs or ksars, I highly recommend starting with Kasbah Taourirt, the Pasha Glaoui’s former palace in Ouarzazate. Kasbah Taorirt was built by the Pasha Glaoui. Its location was strategic for trading routes and in the 1930’s when the Glaoui ruled the South was then considered one of Morocco’s largest Kasbahs. Kasbah Taourirt was one of the places Glaoui kept his slaves. As a Moroccan traveler you can explore its nooks and crannies to discover its history and often local female painters who sell their art inside as well as the many quality silver shops just steps outside the Kasbah.