ZAGORA seems unpromising at first sight: a drawn-out modern market town with a big crop of hotels and government buildings and few sights of specific interest. Even the famous Timbuktu road sign that once adorned the edge of town has been removed in an overzealous bout of city-council tidying. As the region’s main staging post for trips to the fringes of the Sahara, it attracts more tourist attention than it deserves in itself, yet still manages to make a pretty agreeable rest stop, particularly if you’re staying in the Amazrou palmery south of town.

Aside from its relative proximity to the desert, another draw are Zagora’s festivals. The Drâa’s big event, the Moussem of Moulay Abdelkader Jilali, is celebrated here during the Mouloud, and like other national festivals in the town, such as the Fête du Trône in July, is always entertaining.

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