Off-Road Adventure: Cruising Morocco’s Monsterous Erg Chebbi Dunes

By Colin Kilkelly Published: December 11, 2016, 7:00 am
Erg Chebbi dunesErg Chebbi, Morocco. Photo: Shutterstock

Erg Chebbi dunes

Merzouga, a bustling desert town, is the jumping off point for journeys into the desert. You will definitely need a 4×4 and a local driver. You can feel the sand, as soft as talcum powder, sucking the powerful vehicle down as you cross a wadi — a river of sand. The locals here are friendly. They’ll invite you for tea and desert hospitality, and are grateful for some cigarettes in return. Nomads have been living for millennia in a hostile terrain of shifting sands and rocky outcrops. Many families have a solar panel and a battered TV, and almost all have a dusty Nokia mobile phone. But the rhythm and purpose of life is the same as it always was. To be a nomad is the pinnacle of Arabian nobility. Lest we forget, the Prophet himself was born a nomad. In ancient times, before shipping stole their trade, camel trains journeyed back and forth from Merzouga to Timbuktu, which took around two months each way. Now the same journey can be made in two days in a 4×4.

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