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Coordinates: 31°5′57″N 4°0′42″W / 31.09917°N 4.01167°W / 31.09917; -4.01167
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Merzouga is located in Morocco
Location in Morocco
Coordinates: 31°5′57″N 4°0′42″W / 31.09917°N 4.01167°W / 31.09917; -4.01167
Country Morocco
Time zoneUTC+0 (WET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+1 (WEST)

Merzouga is a small village in southeastern Morocco, about 35 km (22 mi) southeast of Rissani, about 55 km (34 mi) from Erfoud and about 50 km (31 mi) from the Algerian border.

The village is known for its proximity to Erg Chebbi and is a popular destination for tourists.[1] It has been described as "a desert theme park" and the Erg Chebbi as "a wonderland of sand".[2] Merzouga has the largest natural underground body of water in Morocco.[citation needed]

A typical street in the older part of Merzouga

In 2006, Merzouga experienced devastating flash floods, displacing 1,200 and resulting in some deaths.

Near the dunes of Erg Chebbi there are other known villages: Hassilabied 4 km (2.5 mi) away, Tanamoust 3 km (1.9 mi) away, Takoujt 1.5 km (0.93 mi) away, Khamlia 7 km (4.3 mi) away and Tisserdmine 15 km (9.3 mi) away.


Legend states that Merzouga once flourished as a tropical jungle until it was turned into a desert environment by God who punished families for refused offerings to a poor woman and buried them in the sand dunes of Erg Chebbi.

Merzouga was uninhabited but later became a transit point for merchants heading to Timbuktu. It later became a pilgrimage for the nomads of the Ait Atta tribes and eventually became a tourist destination.

Ancient fortified villages have existed in Merzouga for centuries. During French colonial rule fortifications were built by troops of the French Foreign Legion after the battles of Taflalet, which occurred between 1916 and 1932.


  1. ^ Rough Guides (2016). The Rough Guide to Morocco. Penguin. p. 655. ISBN 9780241276532. Retrieved 14 May 2019.
  2. ^ Minca, Claudio; Wagner, Lauren (2016). "Chapter 7: Sahara". Moroccan Dreams: Oriental Myth, Colonial Legacy. Bloomsbury. ISBN 9781786730176. Retrieved 14 May 2019.

External links[edit]

  • Media related to Merzouga at Wikimedia Commons