Rabat – In its August/September 2016 edition, National Geographic Traveler Magazine ranks the Moroccan touristic village of Merzouga as the 4th best destination for health tourism.
The exquisite presentation of this famous touristic spot appears in page 66 of the magazine’s latest edition and eloquently describes the different phases of the sand bath operation that attracts international tourists.
“Think of it as a sand bath. During the sweltering months of July and August, blue-turbaned Berbers dig bathtub size holes, in the ocher Sahara sand, wait for the grains to heat up in the sun, and then bury customers up to their necks. Participants stay in the ground for about 10 minutes and are afterwards wrapped in blankets for an hour before being served tea for rehydration.”
The magazine also discusses the health benefit of this practice, stating that “the sweaty sauna-like treatment soothes muscles” and informs readers that “most hotels in the area, including the castle-like ‘Ksar Merzouga’ can organize a ‘bain de sable.’”
The first three attractions for health tourism, according to the same magazine, are Quebec City in Canada, Aguas Calientes in Peru and Bath in England.
The sand bath, although very specific to the area, is not the only thing that draws tourists to this attraction. Merzouga is also known for its magical Berber culture and traditions as well as romantic camel safaris that travel 350-meter dunes.
As to its geographic location and specificities, Merzouga is located on the edge of Erge Chebbi, a large area characterized by high sand dunes in southeastern Morocco, around 50 km close to the Algerian border.
Because of its location in the Sahara Desert, the temperature reaches 48 °C in the months of July and August. During winter months, the weather is cool and sunny, whereas in spring, the temperature fluctuates between 25 and 30 °C.
Edited by Ghita Benslimane