The dunes of Erg Chebbi reach a height of up to 150 meters and altogether spans an area of 50 kilometers from north to south and up to 5-10 kilometers from east to west.
The nearest sizable town is Erfoud, about 60 kilometers further north. One other city is Rissani, around 40 kilometers from Merzouga, and from the 8th to the 14th century there was a separate kingdom, known as Sijilmassa, which was prosperous due to caravan routes. Merzouga, the local tourist center, is located near the edge of the dunes. A number of companies offer camel trips from Merzouga and into the desert, taking tourists on overnight trips several kilometres into the erg, which is enough to bring the village out of sight.
During the warmest part of the year, Moroccans come to Erg Chebbi to be buried neck-deep in the hot sand for a few minutes at a time. This is considered to be a treatment for rheumatism.
In 2006 flooding adjacent to the dunes destroyed many buildings and killed three people.
Media related to Erg Chebbi at Wikimedia Commons
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