Erfoud, The Sentinel Of The Desert
Erfoud had glorious past. It is stationed at the door of Tafilalet, south of the Ziz valley. It used to be the base camp for all the expeditions through the Merzouga dunes. The city has all the necessary infrastructure to accommodate travelers. It is a perfect starting point to discover the desert and to visit Merzouga, Taouz, Tazzarine or the Ziz valley.
The local arts and crafts use fossilized stone, (the Erfoud stone), to create decorative and useful trinkets.
The city is in the middle of a large and beautiful palm grove in which you will enjoy walking. There you will be able to go up to the “Borj”, (fortified tower). From there you can enjoy a panoramic view of the desert, the valley, and the palm grove.
Located three kilometers east from downtown in the palm grove it dominates the entire area. The panorama embraces the dry landscape of the “Hamada” in the southeast and the Tafilalet palm groves from the north to the southwest.
Afar, one can distinguish the first dunes of the Erg Chebbi. Following the course of the sun, it passes from one colour to another.
Marble and Erfoud stone
A shiny fossilized black marble is extracted from a nearby quarry. Known as the Erfoud stone it made the city an important marble center, there are numerous stone masonry artifacts all over the city, a living memory of it glorious history.
Marble mason’s yards and museums are open all year round.
Manar marble: Jorf road, open every day from 9 am to 6 pm.
The fossils and minerals museum: Rissani road at three kilometers from the city, open daily from 8 am to 6 pm.
Starting at Moulay Hassan Avenue, it expands to the “Grande Place”. It is a Berber Souk where you will find fresh food and the famous Erfoud dates. It operates every day, though is particularly active and animated on Saturdays.
Visits around Erfoud
Five kilometers north of Erfoud, this impressive Ksar is surrounded by a great clay wall. It is a maze of narrow lanes most of them being roofed.
The Holy City of Rissani is also the cradle of the Alaouite dynasty from which the royal family is descended. Rissani is an open door to the Merzouga dunes.
Merzouga and the Chebbi Erg Dunes
With its magnificent orange sands dunes which can reach up to 150 fifty meters high and dominate the Hassilabied and Merzouga town, the Chebbi erg is a highlight of the desert. Merzouga and its dunes are the economic staples of the entire region.
Founded in 1917 under the French protectorate, Erfoud is a relatively new town and its squared streets make it easy to find out your way. All the administration and services are located on the Moulay Ismaïl Avenue.
Hotels and guest houses in Erfoud
You will find some cheap hostels on the Mohammed V Boulevard.Some others, with higher standards are located on both exits of the city on the Moulay Ismaïl Avenue in the direction of Errachidia or Rissani.
Eating and having a drink in Erfoud
The culinary specialty of the Tafilalet area is the Medfouna, it consists of bread stuffed with meat, onions, and eggs, cooked under ashes. A full meal in itself, it is perfect before leaving for an excursion. All the grand hotels offer local and sometimes international food.
There are a lot of small restaurants bordering the Mohammed V Avenue, you will find lots of snacks and tajines at a very reasonable price.
Some hotels possess a public bar, like the Tafilalet Hotel, Moulay Ismaïl Avenue, where you can enjoy beer and spirits around the swimming pool.
Arriving and Departing Erfoud
Bus station and shared taxis in Erfoud
Private companies and shared taxis are located at ”Place des FAR”, close to the souk while CTM agency is Mohammed V Avenue.
Those who want to visit Merzouga will have to try using the shared taxis. It will cost between 100 and 150 Dh.
Departures from the station
Alnif – Tazzarine- Nkob – Zagora: one daily
Tinghir: four times daily
Ouarzazate: once daily
Marrakesh: Twice daily
Nador: once daily
Meknes: twice daily
Fez: three departures a day
Rabat: twice daily
Casablanca: twice daily
Tangier: once daily
Khenifra: twice daily
They connect Erfoud with the closest towns like Merzouga, Rissani or Errachidia. The departure point is “Place des FAR” and they won’t leave until full (six passengers).
It is always possible to rent one for a further destination but you will have to cover the price for a full taxi.
Coming by plane
There is no airport in Erfoud, and the Errachidia airport only has a few flights during the year. It is best to come via Agadir, Ouarzazate, Fès or Marrakesh.
Feast of dates in Erfoud
Erfoud – Merzouga Express
Le Maroc que j’aime : Erfoud and Rissani