Ouarzazate - Merzouga, a small village in the south east of Morocco, located about 35 km from Rissani and 55 km from Erfoud, is the largest oasis in Morocco. It has become a favorite destination for enthusiasts and lovers of golden sand as well as for those who seek therapy for certain illnesses.
Ouarzazate – Merzouga, a small village in the south east of Morocco, located about 35 km from Rissani and 55 km from Erfoud, is the largest oasis in Morocco. It has become a favorite destination for enthusiasts and lovers of golden sand as well as for those who seek therapy for certain illnesses.
While some seek the oasis’ therapeutic sand, others seek to discover lifestyle of the remaining nomadic tribes in the region.
Before becoming a tourist destination, the inhabitants relied on traveling and trade as their main sources of livelihood, thus the famous trade road to Mali which takes traders about 52 days to reach Timbuktu. However, since the past few decades, the region has invested in agriculture and tourism.
Merzouga’s natives are specialized in healing several diseases such rheumatism, bone pain as well as some skin diseases, using the temperature of the hot desert sand. This process takes place from the end of June until the end of August; that is to say, while the temperature is at its highest. Tourists who travel here to recover from an illness follow their hosts’ instructions; entailing that they be fully buried, from the neck down, in the hot sand.
During this procedure the healers make sure that the ‘patients’ refrain from eating or drinking cold liquids and that they are covered with a blanket immediately after getting out of the sand to avoid any air stream. While in the sand, for about 15 minutes, the tourist regularly drinks warm water. Afterwards, he or she heads into the tents for comfort, sweating and drinking herbal tea, followed by a shower. This process is repeated for at least three days until the treatment is complete.
Following the treatment, visitors are offered trips designed to familiarize them with the nomadic culture and the beauty of the region’s landscapes. Also, tourists spend at least a full day and night in the tents so as to witness the sunset and sunrise. Other adventures such as participating in races organized in the desert are also available to tourists.
Among approximately 22 km of high sand dunes, the majority of tourists who target Merzouga find comfort in the simplicity of life here, enjoying traditional music, and amazed by the natives’ hospitality.