Are you interested in witnessing the magnificent palm oasis in Morocco? Then Erfoud and its environs are the finest options. It is one of the nicest sites to visit on the road to the Sahara in southern Morocco. It is situated in the heart of the desert, surrounded by gorgeous oases and towering palm trees that will guide you along the trip. The ‘Gateway to the Desert’ is also a popular filming location owing to the high quality of natural light and the beauty of the surrounding towns and desert oasis. If you are planning a trip to the south of Morocco, you should surely travel to Erfoud to witness its beauty and charm for yourself.
Brief background about Erfoud.
Erfoud is the starting point for four-wheel-drive trips and multi-day camel rides in the Tafilalet area. The settlement is situated on the Tizimi palm grove-Tafilalet Valley boundary, reaching as far as the eye can see between the Ziz Valley and the Rheris Valley.
Known as the “Gateway to the Desert”, Erfoud is a picturesque city in the south of Morocco that every tourist should surely visit once for its splendor. It is also a heaven for fossil seekers. The most peculiar fossilized species were discovered here, notably the trilobites. It’s not difficult to travel to lovely places from here; in fact, you can simply take an off-road trail right to the dunes. You may be astonished to find that this site has been utilized for some of the most famous movies of all time, such as The Mummy and the Prince of Persia. Because of its remarkable construction, many people are drawn to this location to explore and see what it has to offer.
You may spend a lot of time in Erfoud visiting the local tourist attractions. This little town is home to a lot of enterprises, kashas, restaurants, etc. that give plenty of entertainment, fun, and excitement.
The desert of Morocco:
Once you cross the Atlas Mountains, you’ll find that Morocco covers a huge territory that includes both the Sahara and a pre-Saharan zone. Outside of Mauritania, this region is the gateway between black Africa and Morocco. The present population is a heterogeneous mix of people from all over the world. More than half of the year is dry, and yearly precipitation is often lower in this region. Extremely high temperatures throughout the summer are a result of the continental character of this area and contribute to the already present drought. Some parts of the countryside seem deserted, while others are home to thriving irrigation civilizations. Their numbers are dwindling, although the nomads may still be seen in certain rural places. There were attempts to reforest the region, but they were mostly unsuccessful owing to a combination of adverse weather and a lack of resources (money and people) to keep an eye on it.
It’s likely that you’ll consume a lot of liquids while in Morocco due to the scorching temperatures. Because of this, it’s crucial that you drink enough water. Don’t use the sink water to satisfy your thirst. Even if the Moroccans insist there’s no issue and the water is safe to drink, you shouldn’t take their word for it. The populace consumes it without issue, but that’s because their bodies are adapted to handle the substance. There is an abundance of soft drinks and fruit juice to choose from. Restaurants, motels, and grocery stores all sell booze.
The Berber Amazigh:
As the original residents of Morocco, the Berbers may be found almost wherever you go. Their term derives from the Latin word for “barbarian,” which describes someone who is not Roman or who speaks a language the Romans could not comprehend. The semi-nomadic Berbers, who name themselves Imazighen (which means “free people”), live mostly in the valleys below the Middle Atlas Mountains. The Almoravid dynasty was established by their forefathers. The land is cultivated by them. The Middle Atlas is home to some of the most fertile ground in the whole region. Except for a few oasis towns, the land between Errachidia and Ouarzazate has dried up because of a lack of rain. It is not uncommon to find Berbers in prominent positions in the country’s main cities, where many of them have relocated to pursue education or get employment. In spite of this, they haven’t severed links with their hometown and original people. After years of persecution and turmoil, the recognition of their language in the Moroccan constitution did not come until 2011.
From the Atlantic to the Sahara, “Les gazelles,” the French word for visitors, seems to be everywhere. Please don’t misunderstand; I intend no harm! The Arabic and Berber words for gazelle, Al-Ghazal, and Tamlalt, respectively, contain pleasant connotations: honey and beauty. So, if someone calls you a gazelle, don’t take it the wrong way. Depending on the context, it may also be meant as a complement.
The Sand Bath:
Not joking around here at all. Many people who visit the desert do so to take advantage of the health advantages connected with a sand bath, but it is also a unique and enjoyable way to spend time there. A sand bath is a popular treatment for rheumatic ailments, back pain, arthritis, and various skin conditions, drawing not only locals but also tourists to Morocco during the dry seasons. Lying on the sand for at least an hour appears to make a noticeable effect. See a doctor first if you have any doubts about whether or not this therapy is right for you.
Check out: 3-day tour from Marrakech that includes Erfoud.
Let’s return to the beauty of the landscape, the charm of small villages, and the joy of living in a country where life is truly an art. Below are a number of villages that are located near Erfoud.
Merzouga and the Erg Chebbi dunes:
The answer is yes. It is around 55 kilometers from Erfoud on a paved road. Sunset and dawn are the finest times to visit. It’s fascinating to see the sun dip below the horizon and transform into a gorgeous sky hue. It is strongly advised to spend the night in a luxury desert tent at the foot of towering orange sand dunes. It will undoubtedly be a pleasant experience.
Things to do in Merzouga:
Also read: Best 10 luxury camps in Merzouga desert.
Todra Gorges Canyons:
A platform facing Tinghir offers a stunning view of the ancient town, complete with clay and straw buildings and palm gardens. Before the entry to the town, if you follow the road on the right, you will arrive at the gorges of the Todra which are very stunning. In certain spots, the jagged granite cliffs reach a height of 300 meters. The Todra River flows through this canyon, which must be crossed to access hotels and restaurants. The drive to the Todra Gorges goes through various settlements and through unique rock formations. The term “electronic commerce” refers to the sale of electronic goods.
Rissani has been the capital of the Tafilalet region for generations, and it was the penultimate stop for caravans traveling south. Packs of fabric, dates, and salt, in particular, are placed onto camels on their route to Sudan. In 1640 the present reigning Alawite royal dynasty of King Mohamed VI moved into the old section. The term “independent” refers to a person who does not work for the government. On the approach to Erfoud is a lovely ksar with a fantastic vista of the oasis of Tafilalt, farther on you can see the scattered remnants of old Sijilmassa.
Rissani is becoming an important shopping destination for the people of the area. The lively market is held three times a week and is a great way to learn about local customs. It is also a meeting place for vendors and inhabitants of the area, who meet every market day that they would never see otherwise. The term “independent” refers to a person who does not work for the government. The price is still negotiated in an old-fashioned manner at the souks. The famous tomb of Moulay Ali-Cherif, the founder of the Alawite dynasty, lies nearby. The remnants of the ksar Abbar may be found behind this tomb. You may also observe the Ksar Oulad Abdelhalim.
Getting to Know the City.
You should be fairly acquainted with the ways of transport in Morocco to reach Erfoud effortlessly. When you arrive in southern Morocco, you must proceed immediately to Rissani. There is also easy access to the Erg Chebbi dunes. To make your travel more thrilling, you have to drive around 13 km on asphalt road and then another 26 km on the desert track and then you will get to the famed Sahara dunes. Don’t be discouraged by this. This will not be an issue if you are a true thrill seeker. Prior to the completion of the asphalt road between Rissani and Merzouga, Erfoud was a famous tourist destination and was recognized as a base for exploring the Erg Chebbi sand dunes. Now that this is no longer the case, the city risks entering a protracted winter slumber.
If you take the N12 to Erfoud, you must pass via Rissani or drive immediately over the river to Erfoud. If you want to go to the city by automobile, there are two major routes. One is the R702 which links Erfoud with surrounding towns like Jorf, Tinghir, Tinejdad, and notably Ouarzazate. The second option is to use the N12 highway, which links the area to the province of Zagora. The N13, which links Errachidia with Erfoud, is the other road.
Distances by road from Erfoud to other nearby cities:
- From Erfoud to Rissani : about 19 km (N12)
- From Erfoud to Merzouga: about 55 km (R702)
- From Erfoud to Errachidia: about 80 km (via N13)
- From Erfoud to Ouarzazate: about 315 km (N10)
- From Erfoud to Fez: about 440 km (N13)
- From Erfoud to Marrakech: about 510 km
Taking the bus to Erfoud.
If you opt to go to Erfoud by bus, you will take a different route from the western portion of the city. If you are traveling from Marrakech, you have the choice of taking the road that runs through the Draa Valley or the Dades Valley. The ticket may be purchased from three of the most prominent ticketing providers. Actually, there are just three options: the Supratous Ticket Office, the bus counters at the bus station, and the CTM Ticket Office.
From Marrakech, there is a daily bus from the business Supratours. Depart at 08:30 from the company’s main train station and arrive in Erfoud around 20:00. The ticket costs about 17 euros.
Once in Erfoud, you can explore the surrounding area on foot or by renting a car. There are numerous reasons to visit Erfoud, as it has something to offer every traveler.