Erg Chigaga to Tizi n’Tichka
Exiting Erg Chigaga by 4WD, head north to Ouarzazate or Marrakesh via Foum Zguid. En route through the sahel and reg, you’ll pass the Iriki 'oasis' under an imposing plateau on your right. From here, you’ll spot thirsty birds and gazelles drinking from a vast lake.
Travellers who zoom from Ouarzazate to Zagora are missing out on Agdz (ag-daz), a classic caravanserai oasis with a still-pristine palmeraie, ancient mudbrick kasbahs and a secret desert prison. As you approach Agdz, you’ll see tajine-shaped Jebel Kissane on the horizon, and spot mountain bikers heading off from Agdz to 1660m Tizi n’Tinififft, some 20km away.
Stressed out? You’ve come to the right place: Tamegroute’s Zawiya Nassiriyya is said to cure anxiety and high blood pressure, thanks to the post-mortem calming influence of Sidi Mohammed ben Nassir – founder of the influential and learned Nassiri brotherhood who were famed for their ability in settling Drâa Valley disputes in the 17th century.
Tamegroute to M’Hamid
From Tamgroute the road south narrows to a single lane highway (being widened at the time of research) and takes you through a dauntingly bleak landscape of sun-scorched rubble, until the road ascends up and over Tizi Beni Selmane pass. Midway, the village of Tagounite has petrol and several cafes.
Those with 4WD shouldn’t miss the slower, scenic piste that runs from Tamnougalt to just north of Zagora, parallel to highway N9. The dirt road winds along the north side of the valley through palm oases, villages, patchwork fields and river vistas all the way to Zagora.