M’Hamid El Ghizlan is a small village in the Zagora region of Morocco, 98 km after Zagora, one of the two places in Morocco where the Sahara begins (another is Merzouga where the Rally begins).
It is about 7-8 hours by car from Marrakech and 5 hours from Ouarzazate. It is “The end of the road” (the last point of the route national N°9), after that it is only the sands of the Sahara, shepherds and caravan trails.
M’Hamid El Ghizlan where the Rally Marrakech Sahara finishes, means “the plain of the Gazelles” in reference to the times long gone when gazelles used to roam the area.
M’Hamid is next to a vast oasis where nomads, some with up to 5000 camels, trading between Sudan and Morocco used to come and rest, protected from the sand storms and winds. Aridity, drought and borders have put an end to this activity with only a few semi-nomadic people left.
The big palm grove extends from the Kasbah or dry earth fortress to the Oued Draa, an Oued being a partially dry river bed.
There are fewer visitors to M’hamid than to Merzouga and Erfud, giving the place a more (arguably and in my opinion) authentic feeling.
One of the main attraction of the place is its proximity to the magnificent dunes of Erg Chegaga