Moroccan “Merzouga” … the sand of healing and the sedition of the desert

On the way from Errachidia, the capital of the Tafilalet region, (southeast), and once you pass the small city of Raisani, the first time visitor lives that visual shock resulting from the sudden collision with a different natural field dominated by a wide sandy stretch, distributed between a flat space that is not bordered by the eye, and magical sandy hills that shine in color. Golden.

This image is not dissipated except when the eye sees green patches in the heart of drought and fibrous. They are oases boasting tall palm trees surrounded by crops irrigated by eyes from the tender of the underground.

Camping in desert



Thus, “Merzouga”, the jewel of the Moroccan desert field, appears a legend that lives in reality, and a truth closer to the legend, for Moroccans and foreigners alike, it is said that sands melting into the heated summer heat, have the healing magic of body diseases, and the scene of sunrise and sunset on the dunes. Golden has no analogy in the universe, and it is also said that whoever stays in its ignorance may never return.

Geologically, Merzouga belongs to a desert mass called “Erg Chebbi”, which has unique natural, ethnographic and historical peculiarities … Here, on the fringes of southeastern Morocco, the region formed the point of arrival for desert trade convoys that linked the Mediterranean basin to sub-Saharan Africa (gold trade, slaves … ..) .. In the third century AD, “Sijelmasa”, the old city that has become just ruins in the suburb of Raisani, the commercial and spiritual capital of the region, was mentioned in the writings of senior travelers, such as Ibn Battuta and the African ion.

Merzouga opposes its desert climate .. There has been a social life and a steadfast human experience for centuries, and static, distributed among small or migrated villages in search of pasture and water sources, giving evidence of man’s ability to adapt to different circumstances and conditions, and adheres to her lifestyle, even if she is waiting for greater attention From the state to provide vital facilities and services that help them to strengthen the region’s attractiveness and development.

The tourist movement in Merzouga takes two appearances: a healthy hospital tourism with sand baths, of a seasonal summer nature, and ecological, sports and exploratory activities throughout the year .. As temperatures rise that heat the sand, a flow of tourists begins requesting recovery from various joint diseases, in the dunes hollow .

Sand bath for treatment purpose


Similar to popular clinics spread in dozens, under small tents, established by the people of the region who know the effect of sand on the body caved in the cold, health rehabilitation operations are carried out in landfills, according to special rituals, and with precautions and skills that make them farther from the risk of lives, especially since the heat under the sand may exceed fifty degrees.

And because individual experiences are transmitted orally quickly with sweeping speed, the Merzouka sands have gained over the years a certain therapeutic credibility that made them a destination for thousands of all regions of Morocco, and even from many countries .. As for the simple therapeutic classes, they do not cost the custom of local healers printed on conviction, simplicity and generosity, even when they Hard to live, little visitor’s presence.

The summer is a boom season for a tourist movement that invigorates a modest economic cycle that feeds on renting homes and rooms with residents and marketing local products such as traditional industry, desert fashions and vintage accessories.

As for the rest of the year, a different tourist activity makes Merzouga a global destination, even in light of the lack of basic infrastructure .. To love the desert, arts and colors .. Tours guided by feet or on the back of camels, through charming hills, whose color changes between bright golden and orange, according to a succession Sunrise and sunset, four-wheel drive races through specific routes known to the people of the region, caravans of motorbikes dune in unforgettable adventures .. these are daily scenes in the life of a desert that makes its knife grow the roar of engines.

As tourism has become a vital source of the town’s incomes, a chain of guesthouses and hotels of varying levels are spread at the feet of the Merzouga Hills, although in their entirety they provide services at affordable prices, compared to traditional tourist destinations in the Kingdom.

“Our primary goal is to get back to us again … Our story with visitors is not only material but cultural and human … We need to tell our stories and myths, and to travel with every visitor to us, whatever his nationality,” says Abdul Salam Zadok, the 60-year-old and veteran tourist actor.

The man who owns a guesthouse adjacent to the sandy hills speaks with regret on the state of the infrastructure that impedes affordable tourist take-off, given the region’s capabilities and attractiveness.

“She is a mercenary (by the endowment) … We trust the blessing of this place and its future as well, and we do not wait for many authorities … Extending paved roads and preparing the channels of liquid purification is not much,” Zadouq told CNN in Arabic.

Indeed, the weak infrastructure does not prevent the continuous flow of thousands of tourists from Europe in particular, especially from Spain, France, and others … the attractiveness of the place and a feeling of safety and tranquility in the bosom of the people irresistible temptation.

Poverty and unemployment are pushing segments of the region’s youth and youth to emigrate, whether to the Moroccan interior or to the European “paradise”, in search of better prospects for living .. But there are those who left and then believed in life here in the heart of the desert, as grandparents lived.

Nasser Al-Nasiri, the young man who has traveled around the world in search of himself and a better future, is fighting alongside others the challenge of survival and development, without any institutional support, and in partnership with his counterparts from the tourist actors here, Nasser runs an international festival of world music.

At the foot of one of the highest hills of Merzouga, an open platform stands for a third year in a sandy field, proposing a variety of local and western artistic expressions, Arabic and Berber, Tuareg music, atlas songs, oriental dances, flamenco rhythms and others, all within the framework of a scene dedicated to According to Al-Nasiri, the identity of the region is a crossroads of cultures and civilizations throughout history.

The festival is a voluntary initiative that costs a lot but reflects the insistence of local energies to place their quiet desert town on the map.

Nasser says to the site: “From the morning of the closing of the festival, we are thinking about how to repay the debts that surround us, but nothing will prevent us from continuing the project, armed with the conviction that Marzuka deserves to travel across the world, and that the world make pilgrimages to it.”

Merzouga, a biography of a place that stores all the secrets and temptation of the desert, invites strangers to renew the connection with the world of simplicity and tranquility and return to the human essence, and tells the story of the will to belong to the land and its development and view through the other.



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