Hard up against the Algerian border, in the far southeast of the country, the charming oasis town of FIGUIG (pronounced “F’geeg”) is literally the end of the road. The border has been closed since 1994, and so the long slog to get here from Er Rachidia is a somewhat perverse route to take – a lot of travelling in order to complete a loop via Bouarfa to Oujda in northern Morocco. For those that do make the trip (and not many do), the journey is half the fun: spectacular in its isolation and scenically extraordinary, dominated by huge empty landscapes, blank red mountains, mining settlements and military garrisons.
The other half is the town itself. Figuig is notable for the strange, archaic shape of its pink-tinged ksour, their watchtowers having evolved as much from internal tension within the ksour as from any need to protect themselves from the nomadic tribes of the desert. It’s a laidback place, where life ticks by at an addictively slower rhythm, and the simple pleasure of wandering its shady alleys never seems to fade.