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Ouzina and its Erg

Ouzina Desert and its Erg: on the edge of Morocco and civilization

The desert of Ouzina and the Erg of the same name do not enjoy the fame of Merzouga (Erg Chebbi).
Merzouga (Erg Chebbi)

Zagora (Erg Chebbi) or Zagora (Erg Chegaga).

but that has its advantages. On this page we tell you about them and give you useful information that you should know if you want to organize an unforgettable trip to the far south of Morocco, where the Sahara embraces us with all its warmth. And we advance you that this is a destination rarely offered by other agencies but that Chic Morocco knows well and has made it a differentiating element of its catalog of services in the desert.

Table of Contents

Where is the Ouzina desert?

Ouzina is located in the extreme southeast of Morocco, beyond Merzouga, about 70 km from Merzouga. Its location is remote, not only because it is only 20 km away in a straight line from the Algerian border, but also because it is a tiny village that cannot be reached by paved road: to get here you have to use a 4×4 vehicle, along with guides and professionals who know the terrain.

The region to which Ouzina belongs is Draa-Tafilalet and the population living here on a permanent basis is limited to a few dozen families. However, as paradoxical as it may seem, the area is very well endowed in terms of accommodation, in some cases of real luxury.

The Ouzina desert refers, therefore, to the area surrounding this small town, whose interest lies mainly in the presence of the Erg Ouzina dunes, one of the few of its kind in Moroccan territory.

How to get to Erg Ouzina?

To reach Ouzina, the solution is simple: the 4×4 vehicle. Not even a conventional car will do, since the access to the village is by unpaved road. The distances that separate this locality from other nearby and distant destinations in Morocco are:

  • Merzouga: 50 km
  • Tinghir: 250 km
  • Port of Tizi n’Tichka: 500 km
  • Marrakech: 600 km
  • Essaouira: 800 km
  • Casablanca: 710 km
  • Agadir: 700 km
  • Rabat: 640 km
  • Asilah: 800 km
  • Fez: 510 km
  • Tangier: 840 km
  • Chaouen: 690 km
  • Al Hoceima: 740 km

If your idea is to get to Ouzina as directly and quickly as possible, you should be aware that the nearest commercial airport is in Ouarzazate. Zagora airport is even closer, but its activity is reduced and it is practically only valid for private and charter flights, as well as for regular flights from Casablanca (although depending on the season, they can make a stopover in Ouarzazate).

O que ver em Ouzina

Ouzina desert and its Erg: history and context

Very little is known about the history of Ouzina, given its small size and its remoteness from the main population centers. But undoubtedly, the activity of its few families has always been related to primary and subsistence activities, as well as service to caravan routes of the past, which passed through Merzouga from Timbuktu to Fez.

The life habits of the local Berber population are still very much alive, and this is one of the attractions of a trip to the Ouzina desert. And for this to continue, it is necessary to develop sustainable tourism that respects the local population, as Chic Morocco does.

In any case, in the surroundings of the Ouzina dunes, new campsites and permanent constructions have emerged as charming accommodations, which have helped to revitalize the area in recent decades.

Why travel to the Ouzina desert and its Erg

  1. The sensory charm of Erg Ouzina: the dunes of fine golden sand always offer a pleasant sensation of purity and beauty, as they have not been modified by the hand of man, but by millions of years of erosion and by the desert winds. Walking through them, stepping on them and touching them with your fingers is a unique experience, as well as contemplating their immensity and their changing colors, depending on the time of day.
  2. An opportunity to make contact with the local population: the ‘lifelong’ inhabitants of Ouzina are hospitable and friendly, and will be happy to share their customs and their time with interested and respectful travelers. However, it is advisable to have guides and professionals who know them and intercede for them as intermediaries. Chic Morocco can take care of it
  3. A destination for adventurers: the Ouzina desert also offers the possibility of 4×4 routes, for example to travel to the other ergs of the country, such as Erg Chebbi and Erg Chegaga. Speed, on dirt tracks such as these, is experienced and felt with a different emotion.
  4. On the back of a dromedary, in its natural environment: the ideal in any human-animal relationship is that it takes place in its natural environment. And that is what you can do if you get on the back of this ‘horse of the desert’ and ride for miles with him, especially if it is in the dunes of Erg Ouzina.
  5. Yoga and meditation exercises: the beauty of the desert dunes is not only experienced outwardly, but also inwardly. Such a beautiful, pure and peaceful environment can (and should) be used to practice meditation and yoga exercises, as there is no other environment more conducive to this.

What you can't miss in the Ouzina desert

The attraction of the desert of Ouzina is not of monumental or historical-artistic character, because it lacks constructions such as fortresses or medinas. Instead, the interest is experiential: there are some things you can do here that you practically won’t be able to do anywhere else, so you shouldn’t miss the chance to do them:

  • Walking or camel riding in the Erg Ouzina dunes
  • Share your time with the local population to learn about their customs.
  • Stay in a riad or tented camp, where you can feel the nocturnal atmosphere of the desert.
  • Taste the local gastronomy, closely linked to the food and cooking techniques available in this inhospitable environment.
  • See and hear the folkloric rhythms of the desert, in Ouzina or in surrounding villages.
  • Make higher mileage routes in 4×4 off-road vehicles to discover the immensity of this desert.

Ouzina and its Erg for a premium traveler

We do not exaggerate if we say that Ouzina is one of the most humble places in Morocco, where its inhabitants have led and continue to lead a simple life without luxuries. But at the same time, such an environment allows for an experience of true exclusivity: staying in an atmosphere of extreme comfort and enjoying professional, personalized services that meet the highest standards. These are some of them:

Hotels / luxury accommodations:

In Ouzina:

  • Kasbah of Ouzina: Although it is a more traditional option, it offers its guests a unique experience of authenticity and tranquility at the foot of the dunes.

In Merzouga (near the dunes of Erg Chebbi):

  • Riad Serai Hotel: An accommodation that combines tradition with luxury, offering a comfortable and charming stay to its visitors.
  • Caravanserai Luxury Desert Camp: A luxury camp in the heart of the desert that provides an immersive Sahara experience without compromising comfort.
  • Riad Azawad: This riad combines traditional architecture with luxury services, ensuring that guests have a memorable stay in the vicinity of the desert.

To book these and other premium services, you can contact Chic Morocco: we are one of the few agencies in the country that is established in this small corner of the Moroccan desert. We have been working with reliable suppliers for many years and we can organize any detail related to the trip, in this destination as in any other.

Plan your trip to Ouzina and its Erg

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