Erg Chigaga

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Erg Chegaga
Erg Chagaga desert, shoot done after a desert storm, August 2018
An extreme runner while is running on the Erg Chegaga dunes, November 2018
Erg Chegaga dunes, first lights, November 2018

Erg Chigaga (or Erg Chegaga, Arabic: عرق شقاق‎ or Edaya el-Hamra, Arabic: الضاية الحمراء‎) is the largest and still untouched Saharan ergs of the Sahara in Morocco, the other is the Erg Chebbi near Merzouga.

This Erg made of beautiful dunes is located in the Drâa-Tafilalet area about 60 km west of the rural town of M'Hamid El Ghizlane, itself located about 98 km south of the town of Zagora. With a length of approximately 40 km to 15 km width, some dunes are around 300m high, it is the largest and wildest of Morocco.

The north border is represented by Djebel Bani, the east border is represented by M'Hamid Hammada. At south-east it's located the Erg Smar adjacent to Erg Ezzahar. At west it's located the Iriki Lake, a dried lake now set Iriqui National Park since 1994.

Because it is relatively difficult to access – it is only accessible by 4x4, camel or on foot – Erg Chigaga remains significantly less visited than Erg Chebbi. For this reason Erg Chigaga is considered more romantic and overall reputed a beloved set by purists and artists like landscape painters and fineart photographers.

For visiting this desert is advisable the presence of a professional and local guide. Starting from the oasis of M'Hamid El Ghizlane it is possibile to reach the dunes area, by Off-road vehicle, by Camel and by Mountainbike along an old caravan trail.


In 2018, Erg Chigaga Desert was the site of an extreme sports record from Italian runner Stefano Miglietti. In November 2018, Miglietti crossed the desert by foot, taking only 4 days and 10 hours to cover a trail of around 500 Km. He has crossed 4 Erg of dunes (Erg Smar, Erg Ezzahar, Erg Chegaga, Erg Lihoudi), 2 Hammada (rocky plateaux), running also along the dried Draa River and crossing also the arid Iriki Lake. Tribes people have received the runner at M'Hamid's Kasbah.

External links[edit]

  • Crossing the deserts in the land of M'Hamid's Tribes (2018) Stefano Miglietti, Avventurando.
  • Morocco Travel Guide, Lonely Planet (2017) Morocco, p. 25, 125, 127. Lonely Planet Publications Pty Ltd. Authors: Jessica Lee, Brett Atkinson, Paul Clammer, Virginia Maxwell, Regis St Louis, Lorna Parkes ISBN 9781787010093.
  • The crossing of Erg Chegaga (2018) Morocco, Extreme Marathon in the land of Taragalte.
  • Stefano Miglietti, the ultra runner conquers six deserts Morocco, Extreme Marathon in the Erg Chegaga and 5 deserts.

Coordinates: 29°49′40″N 6°15′00″W / 29.8278°N 6.2500°W / 29.8278; -6.2500