This beautiful, classic tour from Foum Zguid to M’Hamid takes you through dry stone deserts and oasis valleys to the spectacular foothills of the Sahara. Dunes, extraordinary rock formations, sun, heat, camels and lonely nights under the stars – a must for every desert fan!
- Distance: approx. 90 km
- only for off-road vehicles possible! Partially difficult navigation (GPS of advantage)
- Time required: one day – but if you want to enjoy the desert and the countryside and want to „play in the sand„, you should plan for 2-3 days!
- Equipment: recovery sand blades and shovels are an advantage. Additional diesel/gasoline and enough water supplies. Possibly an air compressor to change the tire pressure.
Attention: everyone who drives this route should know their skills and their vehicle. The tour is sometimes very lonely – if you have a breakdown, you have to wait long for help! If you are unsure, you should do the tour in a group.
As it goes through the foothills of the Sahara, of course you should have enough food, water and diesel supplies with you.
Of course you can also drive the route in the opposite direction.
From Foum Zguid to M’Hamid: the route
The start is in the small Berber village Foum Zguid in the south of Morocco. Behind the village turn left onto one of the many visible gravel roads.
For about 20 km it goes on a very, very rocky, bumpy track – unfortunately only very slowly. The landscape is incredibly bleak and yet fascinating. Only rarely do small bushes emerge from the black, spiky stone desert (called „hammada„).
Who wants to camp wild and looking for peace, is just right!
After some time you can see bizarre rock formations on the western horizon. The filigree table mountains are reminiscent of the famous Monument Valley in Arizona and offer incredible photo opportunities!
Tip: in the stone desert you should increase the tire pressure. Tires with reinforced side edges are an advantage.
After about 10 more kilometers you come to the north of the Lak Iriki (a huge dried-up lake). There is a bit of vegetation here and one or two camel herds that graze on a wild ruccola field.
If you keep heading east, you will reach the foothills of the Sahara after about 40 km – Welcome to Erg Chigaga – Morocco’s largest sand sea!
From here, the trail only consists of sandy, soft tracks.
Tip: Reduce tire pressure! If you only stay on the „main tracks“ north of the dunes, you will not have any problems (sand trays are rarely needed here). Along the main tracks are also some excursion groups with their quads and off-road vehicles on the road – so you’re not all alone.
Anyone who wants to can leave the main tracks at any time, drive towards the dunes and play a little „in the sand“ 😉 In the Erg Chigaga desert everyone can criss-cross through the dunes – the paradise for desert fans! Of course you should know your skills and your vehicle exactly! If you get stuck in the sand, you are on your own.
Attention: it is great to drive through the dunes – no doubt! But keep in mind the damage it can do, especially if there are eventually too many ATVs and quads bumping up and down the sandhills (like at the Erg Chebbi desert).
Of course you can also hike on one of the high dunes and admire the golden nature spectacle from above. Sand dunes as far as the eye can see! An indescribably beautiful, unforgettable sight!
If you want, you can camp wild in the middle of the dunes. Of course, here too „leave no trace!“
If you drive further and further to the east, the sandy slope changes to a rocky gravel road and moves away more and more from the dunes. After a total of 90 km you finally arrive at the asphalt road of M’Hamid.
The small village is very picturesque. Here you will find many small shops with colorful cloths and a lot of more or less intrusive tour operators, which also stop you in the middle of the street.
From here it is still about 100 km to Zagora. There you can refill your food and water supplies and spend the night in a beautiful riad in the middle of the palm grove.
The best tools for this tour are:
Travel Guide by Edith Kohlbach „Travel Guide Morocco“.
In the book the route is partly described as „Tour I 4 + I 5“.
Here you can also find useful coordinates. (The book is in german language)