M’Hamid encompasses two towns and five different ethnic groups: the Harratine, Berber, Chorfa, Beni M’Hamid and the fabled nomadic ‘Blue Men’. M’Hamid Jdid, the prematurely aged ‘new’ town, has a mosque, roadside cafe-restaurants, small budget hotels and a Monday souq. There’s a frontier-town feel here, with tough guys in shesh (turban) and sunglasses hanging around dusty cafes, swapping stories.

The old kasbah sits in the palmeraie (palm grove), 3km away across the Oued Draa. Another worthwhile stop is the Ksar Ouled Driss, 5km before M'Hamid, which includes a small ethnographic museum displaying traditional household objects in a lovely mudbrick courtyard.