The desert valley town of Erfoud, 230 mi/370 km east of Marrakech, is a good base for various excursions to see the Sahara because it has several comfortable hotels. A favorite excursion is to Merzouga, where you can see the impressive Erg Chebbi sand dunes. From Merzouga, you can ride a camel into the desert and spend a night at an oasis—book through a hotel in Erfoud or Merzouga.

From Erfoud, you can also visit the town of Rissani, which has a bustling market that is held on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. Near Rissani, see the mausoleum of Moulay Ali Cherif, the ruins of Sijilmassa—whose beautiful architecture and fortified villages are made from unbaked brick—and the ruins of several ksour (residential buildings). A three-day Date Festival takes place in October at the end of the date harvest.

Plan two nights in and around Erfoud if you're really into exploring, but know that tourism in this area is not as developed as in the larger cities.

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