Signpost to Timbuktu

Travel to Zagora – Gateway to Moroccan Sahara

Ancient Zagora was once the final stop-off for caravans before they entered the endless solitude of the Hamadas. Today the town itself bears little of interest, but does have a good range of characterful accommodation. Its buildings are in sharp contrast with the charming adobe villages dotted all over the valley, but it is still the most southerly point in pre-Saharan Morocco and a great base from which to undertake desert activities.

Zagora is the main town at the southern end of the Draa Valley, although dating back to the 13th century there are little signs of older buildings in the town. It is a great place for stocking up on supplies before heading out on a desert expedition. Banks, supermarkets, fuel, pharmacies, internet cafés can all be found in this rapidly developing town.

Check out the famous sign pointing to Timbuktu in 52 days!

For lovers of desert adventure, the surroundings of Zagora make it an ideal place for short excursions to the first dunes at Tinfou, 26 km away, or the longer ones further south at Mhamid – one of the first gateways to the desert. Desert trekking, camel riding or quad bikes are popular activities in and around Zagora, with trips ranging from an hour to over 20 days (a long time on a camel!) Camel rides through the palm plantations of the Draa Valley are a particular favourite, providing an elevated position enabling a great view over the dividing mud-brick walls.

The 165 km road to Zagora from Ouarzazate takes travellers down the scenic Draa Valley, and is undoubtedly one of the most scenic journeys in Morocco. From the town of Agdz the valley is lined with cultivated date palm plantations and fields, frequented by rich birdlife. Take the off-road track from Tamnougalt Kasbah for a slower and even more scenic route down the valley to Zagora.

  • Drive south then climb the nearby sand dunes at Tinfou
  • Ride a camel through the date palm plantations at Amazrou
  • Head out on foot into Jebel Bani on an alternative winter walk


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