desert of M’hamid El ghizlane

desert of M’hamid El ghizlane

M’hamid El ghizlane, the oasis of southern Morocco

M’hamid el Ghizlan, formerly known as Taragalt, is an authentic little town at the gateway to the Sahara. After M’hamid El Ghizlane, the National Road N° 9 comes to an end! You’ll have to continue on foot, on motorbike KTM 450 to get deep into the Sahara desert. Much more than a village at the gateway to the desert, it is is a haven of peace, where life flows quietly to the rhythms of the muezzin’s calls.


Situated 4 hours (by road) from Ouarzazate to M’hamid El Ghizlane (known as “the plain of the gazelles”) is a rural commune of around 9,000 inhabitants, at the gateway to the Moroccan desert.It is home to an oasis, with a palm grove stretching as far as the Oued Drâa. It was from Mhamid that the great trans-Saharan caravans headed for Timbuktu and Gao for the camel trade.

Mostly descended from nomadic tribes, the inhabitants of M’hamid El Ghizlane have become sedentary over the last few decades following profound geopolitical (advent of borders with Algeria and Mali), climatic (chronic drought) and anthropogenic (construction of the Ouarzazate dam) changes.

Located 455 km southeast of Marrakech, M’hamid El Ghizlane is best known for its proximity to the dunes of the Drâa Valley (the best-known of which is erg Chegaga, 60 km away). The village is the starting point for numerous excursions on moto KTM or (treks & méharées) or by 4X4.

Architecturally, there’s nothing exceptional about M’hamid El Ghizlane! What’s interesting is the serene, peaceful atmosphere that reigns here. with the passing of nomadic 4X4 and a camel caravan heading off into the Sahara and schoolchildren happily making their way to school (there are also real 4X4s with more or less seasoned drivers, so be careful!)

M’hamid El Ghizlane hosts 2 major festivals: the Taragalte Festival and the Nomad Festival. Each takes place once a year in the village. They celebrate nomadic culture: songs, music, dances, handicrafts, but also local activities: camel races, nomad field hockey…

desert of M'hamid El ghizlane
desert of M’hamid El ghizlane

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