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Travel Packages in Merzouga

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General Information About Merzouga

Merzouga is a small village located in the southeastern part of Morocco, about 35 kilometers southeast of Erfoud and 50 kilometers west of the border with Algeria. 

It is located in the Sahara Desert and is famous for its large dunes, including the Erg Chebbi, which are some of the highest sand dunes in the world, reaching up to 150 meters in height.

Merzouga is a popular tourist destination, particularly for those interested in desert adventures such as camel treks, sandboarding, and camping under the stars. The village has a small but vibrant tourism industry, with many guesthouses and hotels offering accommodation and tours.

The local economy is primarily based on tourism, as well as subsistence agriculture and animal husbandry. The population of Merzouga is predominantly Berber, with many residents belonging to the Ait Atta tribe.

Merzouga is accessible by road from the nearby towns of Erfoud and Rissani, as well as from larger cities such as Ouarzazate and Marrakech. The nearest airport is in Errachidia, about 60 kilometers away.

Points of Interest in Merzouga

Merzouga has many historical, cultural, and natural attractions that make it an interesting destination for visitors. Here are some of the top sites of interest in Merzouga:

  1. Erg Chebbi: The Erg Chebbi is a vast expanse of sand dunes that is one of the main attractions of Merzouga. Visitors can enjoy a camel trek through the dunes or explore them on foot.
  2. Khamlia Village: Khamlia Village is a small village located near Merzouga that is home to the Gnawa people, who are known for their distinctive music and dance. Visitors can enjoy a performance of Gnawa music and learn about the culture and traditions of this community.
  3. Lake Merzouga: Lake Merzouga is a seasonal lake located near the village of Merzouga. It is an important breeding ground for birds and is home to a variety of wildlife.
  4. Rissani: Rissani is a historic town located about 40 kilometers from Merzouga. It was once an important trading center and is home to several historic monuments and landmarks, including the ruins of the old palace and the Ksar Abbar fortress.
  5. Moulay Ali Cherif Mausoleum: The Moulay Ali Cherif Mausoleum is located near Rissani and is the final resting place of Moulay Ali Cherif, the founder of the Alawite dynasty.
  6. Tafilalt Oasis: The Tafilalt Oasis is located near Rissani and is one of the largest oases in Morocco. Visitors can explore the palm groves and see the traditional irrigation systems used by the local farmers.
  7. Dayet Srji: Dayet Srji is a salt lake located near Merzouga. It is an important breeding ground for flamingos and other water birds and is a popular spot for birdwatching.
  8. Fossil Sites: The area around Merzouga is rich in fossils, including ammonites and trilobites. Visitors can explore fossil sites and purchase fossils as souvenirs.

Typical Food and Drinks of Merzouga

The cuisine of Merzouga is heavily influenced by the Berber culture and the desert environment.

Some of the dishes you can try in Merzouga are Tagine, a traditional Moroccan dish that is slow-cooked in a clay pot with vegetables, meat, and spices. In Merzouga, you can find tagines made with local ingredients such as camel meat and dried fruit and Couscous, a staple food in Morocco and is typically served with a meat or vegetable stew. 

Also, you should try Tajine Madfouna, a type of tagine that is baked in the sand dunes, giving it a unique smoky flavor and Zaalouk, a dip made with cooked eggplant, tomatoes, and spices, which is often served as an appetizer or side dish.

Another popular dish is Harira, a hearty soup made with lentils, chickpeas, tomatoes, and spices. It is typically served during Ramadan, but can be found in restaurants and cafes throughout the year.

And you must try Berber Pizza, a type of flatbread that is baked in a wood-fired oven and topped with herbs and spices. It is a popular street food in Merzouga and can be found in many cafes and restaurants.

As for drinking, you should try Mint tea, a traditional Moroccan drink that is served throughout the country. It is made with green tea, fresh mint leaves, and sugar and is a refreshing beverage to enjoy in the desert heat.

Festivals of Merzouga

Merzouga is a small village in Morocco that celebrates several festivals throughout the year. Here are some of the most important festivals celebrated in Merzouga:

  1. Erfoud Date Festival: The Erfoud Date Festival is celebrated in October in the town of Erfoud, which is located near Merzouga. The festival celebrates the date palm harvest and includes cultural events, traditional music, and a parade.
  2. Rissani Date Festival: The Rissani Date Festival is celebrated in October in the town of Rissani, which is located near Merzouga. The festival celebrates the date palm harvest and includes cultural events, traditional music, and a parade.
  3. Merzouga World Music Festival: The Merzouga World Music Festival is a three-day event that takes place in March. The festival features music from around the world and includes performances by local and international musicians.
  4. Sufi Festival: The Sufi Festival is a religious festival that takes place in May in the village of Khamlia, which is located near Merzouga. The festival includes traditional music and dance performances by Sufi brotherhoods.
  5. Eid al-Fitr: Eid al-Fitr is a religious festival that marks the end of Ramadan. It is celebrated with feasts, family gatherings, and prayers in Merzouga and throughout Morocco.
  6. Moussem of Moulay Ali Cherif: The Moussem of Moulay Ali Cherif is a religious festival that takes place in Rissani in August. The festival honors the memory of Moulay Ali Cherif, the founder of the Alawite dynasty, and includes music, dance, and cultural events.

These festivals are a great opportunity for visitors to experience the local culture and traditions of Merzouga and the surrounding region.

How Is the Culture in Merzouga?

The culture of Merzouga is heavily influenced by the Berber people, who have inhabited the region for thousands of years. The Berbers are known for their unique customs, traditions, and way of life, which have been shaped by the harsh desert environment.

Music and dance play an important role in the culture of Merzouga. The traditional music of the region is characterized by the use of instruments such as the gimbri (a three-stringed bass instrument) and the bendir (a hand-held drum). 

The Gnawa people, who live in the nearby village of Khamlia, are known for their distinctive music and dance.

Also, The Berber people are skilled artisans who have been producing handicrafts for generations. Visitors to Merzouga can see local craftsmen weaving carpets and baskets, carving wood and stone, and making jewelry.

The Berber people also have a long history of nomadic life, moving from place to place with their herds of goats, sheep, and camels. While many Berbers have settled in villages and towns, some still maintain a semi-nomadic lifestyle.

Islam is the dominant religion in Merzouga and throughout Morocco. Visitors can see mosques and hear the call to prayer throughout the day. Sufi brotherhoods also play an important role in the region’s religious practices.

Overall, the culture of Merzouga is a fascinating blend of traditional Berber customs and modern influences. Visitors can experience this unique culture through music, food, crafts, and other aspects of daily life.

What to See and Do in Merzouga

Merzouga is a wonderful destination due to its historical heritage and its fascinating culture.

In turn, due to its proximity to Marrakech and Ouarzazate, many travelers combine their trip to Merzouga with these destinations, which is why you will find these sites in several of our offers.

Are you looking to marvel at the most incredible desert? Do you want to know about a fascinating culture? Do you want to taste exquisite cuisine?

If your answer is "yes", in Greca we have several proposals for tourist packages to Merzouga, which you can modify and adapt according to your needs and times.

There are travel packages for all tastes. Choose your own adventure according to your needs!

How much does it cost to eat in Merzouga?

Street food is a great way to sample local Moroccan cuisine and is generally the most affordable option. You can find a variety of street food in Merzouga, such as grilled meats, sandwiches, and snacks. Prices range from around 10-30 MAD (1-3 USD) per item.

Which month is cheapest to travel to Merzouga?

Generally, the cheapest months to visit Merzouga are during the low season, which is from May to September, excluding the months of Ramadan.

When is the high season of Merzouga?

The high season of Merzouga is generally from October to April.

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