The Sahara
 
The Sahara, the largest arid desert in the world starts in Morocco with a mixture of sand and rock.  It is a vast area which can accessible from few points in south Morocco.  
 
For adventurous visitors, the desert of Morocco is well worth the long journey through the mountains. It is a highly scenic and atmospheric region with breathtaking sights such as scenic gorges, stony formation, stunning earth architecture, amazing oasis towns and peaceful palmeries as well as magical sand dunes. Many areas have backdrop of the Atlas Mountains which travelers have to cross in order to access the desert from Marrakech or other historic starting points such as Taroudant or Fes. 
 
The climate of this area varies a great deal due to its vast size and variations in altitude. The region of Skoura towards the north is fairly cool in the summer months but the temperature rises considerably as you travel further south inland.
 
Visitors who choose to explore this area of great beauty and peace; a minimum of 5-6 days is suggested. The reward is an exciting learning experience to stay in memory for a long, long time.
 
Area highlights:
 
Ouarzazate: This largest town of the desert is within 5 hours from Marrakech; a French garrison town which has been transformed into a tourist centre. 
 
Ait Benhaddou: A striking fortified settlement (ksar) under half an hour drive from Ouarzazate (off the Marrakech road). Renowned as a site to many films including Lawrence of Arabia and Gladiator, it houses some of the best conserved Kasbahs in Morocco. The nearby film studios are well worth a visit.
 
Skoura: Is set by a peaceful palmerie with many superb ruined Kasbahs. Just 45 minute drive to the northeast of Ouarzazate, it is also a good base from which to visit the Dades Valley.
 
The Dades Valley and Gorges: Starting east of Skoura, including the famous "Valley of the Roses" and "Valley of a Thousand Kasbahs", offer stunning, varied and colourful landscapes with superb Kasbahs. The dramatic Todra Gorge, a must see, is further east.
 
Merzouga: Is a village about 6 hours drive east of Ouarzazate. It enjoys a fantastic location on the edge of the stunning and impressive reddish gold Erg Chebbi sand dunes which rise to about 60 meters in height.
 
Agdez: Is a small town with a beautiful palmerie, situated about two hours drive south of Ouarzazate and may also be reached through a gorgeous four-hour drive by way of the relatively low mountain pass east of Taroudant .   
 
Zagora: The gateway to the desert is about 3.5 hours south of Ouarzazate along the dramatic Draa Valley. Plenty of places to stay in the surrounding area and there is a gorgeous palmerie in Amezrou south of town. Small sand dunes can be located nearby at Tinfou but the famous dunes of M'Hamid are a good 80 minutes drive away.
 
M'Hamid: The access point of the largest and most visited dunes in this area; M'Hamid is located east of Agadir on the edge of the Sahara, accessible by fascinating routes through the mountains 7 hours from Taroudant, 9 from Marrakech and 5 hours from Ouarzazate.
 
 
 


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