Erg Chigaga

Top choice dunes in M’Hamid

Image by andyKRAKOVSKI Getty Images

The star attraction is the misnamed Erg Chigaga, not a single dune (erg) but an awesome stretch of golden sand sea some 56km southwest of M'Hamid. It is the largest sand sea in Morocco, snaking along the horizon for 40km and bordered to the north and south by mountain ridges. The best way to reach them is in classic movie style: by camel, which takes five days or a week (from Dh500 to Dh600 per day) round-trip.

To reach the area in just a few hours, a 4WD costs from Dh1000 to Dh1300 per day with insurance, plus another Dh350 to Dh500 for the camp.

This sea of golden crescents, which peak at 300m, hides small, semipermanent camps in its troughs. As a result the desert experience here is quiet and enveloping, offering spectacular night skies illuminated by the enormous arc of the Milky Way.