Erg Chigaga or Erg Z’har? Natural beauty of our favourite places in the Sahara

A journey to the most spectacular big dunes grants not only stunning views, but also seeing many faces of the Sahara on the way.

Erg Chigaga or Erg Z’har?
Natural beauty of our favourite places in the Sahara

Walking through unlimited space of the desert means watching continuous changes in the landscape. There is often only a few hour walk between hamada – rocky plateau, an oasis full of palm trees with river meandering between them, and ergs – areas of dunes as high as 300 metres. And even these sand dunes areas differ from each other.

Erg Chigaga is a place you will find in each travel guide to Morocco. Spectacular sand dunes stretching in about 600 square kilometres – to the horizon – create an unforgettable sight; with their colours and shadows playing while the sunlight changes its angle. Sunsets and sunrises are everyday shows here, attracting quite big an audience. In high season, one can see groups of visitors on almost every dune; from afar they look like small dots.

The view of Chigaga dunes is stunningly beautiful; each picture one takes could make a postcard. There are plenty of attractions here: jeep, quad and camel rides, sandboarding, parties with Berber music and traditional food in each of about 20 stationary camps with access to showers and toilettes. Erg Chigaga is active, full of people, bustling with life. It takes 3-4 days of walking, or 1,5 hour by jeep to get here from M’hamid.

However, if what you are searching for in the desert is tranquillity, we will take you to a place that you will not find in travel guides; it’s not even in the map. The natural wild reserve of Erg Z’har is hardly accessible by car, therefore to enjoy it, we recommend a 4-day trekking roundtrip. It is definitely worth making this distance – dunes are almost the same high as in Erg Chigaga, also stretching to the horizon, but in addition the landscape is untouched by human. It’s only possible to set up a tent for some time (for it’s not allowed to build fixed camps here), use a mobile shower and wild toilette, so it’s basically a kind of “Into the wild” trip, where one stays close to the nature all the time, although with good care of guides who know every path here.