We are often asked the question about the Moroccan Sahara – Erg Chigaga and Erg Chebbi, which one should I visit?

It’s difficult to answer that one on an impartial level, as Yahya hails from the desert region closest to Erg Chigaga. However, we do always give practical advice, depending on your proposed travel schedule in Morocco. Sometimes, it’s just too far to reach one erg (‘sand sea’) when the other would allow for a far more comfortable and sensible journey. You should also consider whether you’d like to spend more than 1 night under canvas in the desert, and which time of year are you travelling in Morocco.

Erg Chigaga and Erg Chebbi each have their merits. Both dune fields are 10 hours+ from Marrakech, we advise you break the journey, with lots of overnight options before and after the desert; Fes to Erg Chebbi is feasible in one day (7 hours), or take 2 nights from Fes to comfortably reach Erg Chigaga. If you’re travelling over from the Coast, opt for Erg Chigaga, which is part of a neat loop through the Anti-Atlas mountains, the Sahara desert and the Draa Valley.

Erg Chigaga and Erg Chebbi

The Erg Chigaga dunes, for us, present the true desert adventure. The great dunes are 2 hours off-road journey by 4×4 vehicle, or 3 days minimum by foot/camel, across the desert terrain from the nearest village (think, zero light pollution). You will be off the beaten path, yet despite that, you will be travelling within Morocco’s largest protected national park, a rich desert wilderness (read our post on Iriqui National Park). It is difficult not to encounter wildlife when you are travelling on foot through a region as diverse as the Iriqui National Park, although our particular type of wildlife is elusive and some nocturnal.

The Erg Chigaga dunes is one of the best places in Morocco to view/photograph the stars, being 60km away from the nearest light pollution and not crowded. You are able to experience true desert nights in relative isolation. The Erg Chigaga dunes also feature in our multi-day hiking adventures through the Iriqui National Park (either as a start, mid, or usually end point to a hike) where you can enjoy a hot shower and a real bed at Camp Al Koutban (see featured image above for the camp’s secluded location) after several days of backcountry hiking and wild camping.

If our advice isn’t quite impartial enough, then we encourage you to read Heather Cole’s post about the two ergs. Heather, The Conversant Traveller, is an avid traveller (Morocco is her favourite country amidst the five continents she’s visited) and has written an honest exposé of Erg Chigaga vs Erg Chebbi.

Please click here to gain a further insight in to Morocco’s large dune fields. In summary, and in Heather’s own words – “…whichever you decide on, I guarantee you will not be disappointed”.

Please contact us for any further information about a 4×4 vehicle tour or an off-grid hiking adventure through Morocco’s Sahara Desert.

Photography by Michael Breitung. © 2023.