Chegaga is one of the two great deserts of the Moroccan Sahara located less than 100 km south of Zagora. If it is less impressive than its neighbour erg Chebbi, which has dunes culminating at more than 170 m, it has the advantage of being larger and wilder. Another significant point, it is much less touristy.
On track for Chegaga
From Erg Lihoudi, where we bid farewell to Mubarak and his faithful dromedaries, it takes a few hours by road to get there. And you don’t meet many people on the way, apart from a few nomads around an oasis, a burnt-out car (never smoke in your car in the desert!) and a dispensary welcoming nomads for treatment but also to educate their children.
Of course, all these people were scattered in a desert of stones, and arrived at the end of this long road, the reward.
We have to get back on the road, or rather the track. After our farewells to the camel rider, aboard an all-terrain vehicle, we will face the wide open spaces and a few mirages that separate us from Erg Chegaga.
Vast and wild.
The view at the end of the track on the dunes of Ghagaga is just impressive. Like a mirage, they take shape on the horizon, like a painting. It is simply unreal, we have rarely seen something so beautiful.
At the bottom of Lake Iriki, completely dry, Chegaga in front of us, we were in a hurry: to climb on one of the largest dunes, to be able, when we reached the top (70 m!), to savour the extended landscape over 40 km at 360°. Wow!
Bivouac at Chegaga.
After our ascent, it is time to reach the bivouac and savour an excellent Moroccan salad that our cook has concocted for us. And it is with a surfboard that James decides to get there first! The camp is ideally located at the foot of the dunes, and there is all the comfort one could wish for. Even showers and real toilets. Without a flush of course!
Despite the lack of water, there is life in the desert. As you can see in our photos, some greenery, beetles, ants, and cats! But nothing betrays the silence that reigns here. And it feels good.
This day in Chegaga will remain engraved forever. What a wonderful place! It is time to get back on the road. We already have to reach Marrakech tomorrow, but via other routes that will have many surprises in store for us.