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Merzouga & Erg Chebbi, Morocco
Fast Facts
ACTIVITIES
Pack & Saddle
Birding
Paleo & Archeo
 
 
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Points of Interest Nearby
ACTIVE ADVENTURE
 

Merzouga Dunes

 

Photo by Valentina Marconi

Whether you intend to follow in the footsteps of Lawrence of Arabia, watch the sun rise or set over sand dunes, or share your campfire with a Tuareg, those mysterious desert men dressed in long robes and turbans, a trip to Merzouga and the Erg Chebbi in the Moroccan Sahara is a must for families interested in discovering the secrets of this vast and mystifying land. Ride to the top of the Erg Chebbi dunes on a camel or a quad. Practice the art of climbing in the sand. Roll, slide or sand board nearly 200 meters (650 feet) down. Or wait until it gets dark to count the stars.

But there's more to the desert than sand dunes and camels. Merzouga is a great place to hunt for fossils and watch birds and desert wildlife. Head out to the fossil site on the road to Erfoud, and if you're lucky, discover bones or teeth of a Mosasaur. And while it almost never rains in Merzouga, in spring, a seasonal lake forms just northwest of the town. Take a moment to relax and enjoy the flamingos and migratory birds.

How Are Sand Dunes Formed?
Wind blowing sand, Great Sand Sea

Wind blowing sand, Great Sand Sea

Alfredo De Simone

 
In geography, hills of sand are called dunes. And they form where sand accumulates. But for dunes to form three things are needed. The first is easy, lots of sand. The second sets sand in motion. Wind carries fine grains of sand and bounces heavier sand grains along. And while the wind isn't strong enough to move really heavy grains of sand, bouncing sand is enough to push the heaviest grains forward. Finally, an obstacle, such as a plant or rock, is needed to block the wind and cause the sand to pile up. Once sand piles up dunes can form.
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