Nearly every tourist in town is here for the Sahara, and yet Zagora is still some way from the desert proper, so make sure you know exactly where your trip is headed. The closest dunes are at Nakhla, northeast of town, and Tinfou, about 25km south along the N9, which are easy to get to but not particularly impressive. Closer to M’Hamid lie the Erg Lihoudi and the Erg Ezahar, though the latter – also known as the Screaming Dunes due to the incredible sound they make (the noise is actually caused by vibrating sand grains) – are usually only offered on trips out of M’Hamid. Finally, around 60km southwest of M’Hamid (and a good 3hr from Zagora), is the unforgettable Erg Chigaga, the real deal, offering relative isolation and a sea of golden sand ebbing out into the distance; though getting here involves a much longer (and expensive) journey.

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