Erg Lihoudi to Chagaga Dunes

July 02, 2019  •  10 Comments

This morning we left Erg Lihoudi and made our way to Erg Chegaga (see bottom of the map).  After we got to the town of M'hamid (on the map the town is almost covered with Erg Chegaga), the paved roads ended and we found ourselves off-road for about 60 km.  Erg Chegaga is the largest and still untouched Saharan ergs (dunes)  in Morocco.  

We stopped in the village of  M'hamid to explore.  The girls' father gave me permission to take their photo.  

One of the shops in the village where I went iin to buy a coke.

These boys had a great time looking at Katharine's photos.

While traveling in the desert, we came across a well used by the locals.

This lady was using the water to wash her clothes.

With a length of approximately 40 km to 15km width,  Erg Chegaga is the largest and wildest set of dunes in Morocco. Some dunes are actually around 300mm high.  These dunes are relatively difficult to access as you need either a camel or a 4*4 vehicle or mountain bike (I guess walking is another option).  Because of this, these dunes are much less visited than the other large set of dunes in Morocco (Erg Chebbi).  Naturally we preferred the quieter dunes without all of the tourists.  I would have been happy to stay here longer.

We did a lot of hiking in the dunes which is not easy but was so much fun.  

The camels having a break before heading back to camp.

Roger and Katharine looking for great compositions.  

This photograph  of our "campsite" was taken from our hike up the dunes.  It was rustic (like the previous night's accommodation) but we all had a fatalistic time at this camp.  Who cares about hot water when you are surrounded by this scenery and peace and quiet.      After dinner the guides and resort staff entertained us with singing and dancing under the stars.  


The expanse of these sand dunes was pretty incredible.  We were so far away from civilization.  

At the top of one of the dunes we sat down and watched the "dune boarders" ski down the dunes and then hike up (no easy feat).

We started to head back down again before it got too dark.

Our next major stop was the  Erg Chebbi sand dunes, located near Merzouga.  The dunes looked beautiful in the soft light.  These dunes were much more touristy that the other dunes we saw.  Merzouga, is the local tourist center and is located on the western lee of the dunes.  There are around 70 hotels running north-south along the dunes.  Back to civilization!

We stayed at the Hotel Tombouchtou which was located right on the dunes.  Compared to our previous accommodations in the dessert this hotel was very luxurious and  a very different experience.   

Our late afternoon adventure consisted of taking a camel right up into the dunes and then exploring the sand dunes in the golden hour.  This gentleman was our tour guide and these were our camels.

This was definitely one of my more difficult photography experiences-taking photos on the camel and holding on at the same time as the camel went up and down the dunes.  It was challenging but fun.  Here I was taking a photo of the camels' shadows who were in front of me.

One of our "camel" guides who was happy to pose.

Interesting sand patterns.

A caravan of camels.

The last photo of the night as we headed back for dinner.


Carol Omaggio(non-registered)
The dunes were magnificent Geat photos as usual. What an interesting trip
Incredible dune pictures! Love how you always bring in the human aspect. Love the camel guides and pic with the camel shadows. What a great experience.
I never realized how much I could love taking landscape photographs until I saw your photos of the sand dunes. The lighting is wonderful...and I really like the inclusion of the people in the distance in a few of these. Really amazing pictures, Marsha!
Tricia Matheson(non-registered)
Wow! Marsha, I've never seen anything like that. What amazing photos of the dunes, the camels and the people of the area. Those dunes are beautiful. The black and white photos you took really showed off the detailed images created on the dunes by the wind.
Jane Jamison(non-registered)
Marsha, these are terrific. I love the patterns in the dunes, but also really liked the guy at the well and the one carrying his dune board back up. Really nice collection!
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