- For the similarly named capital of Thuringia see under Erfurt
Erfoud (Arabic: أرفود - Also written Arfoud) is a town in southern Morocco, in the Tafilalet-region.
Erfoud is known by the name of "Gate of Sahara Desert" as it is near Erg Chebbi Dunes, and you can actually take direct off-road tracks to the dunes.
Many films were shot in the area, some of the most famous are: Prince of Persia - 2010 - Director Dick Richards; The Mummy - 1999 - Director Stephen Sommers; March or Die - 1977 - Director Dick Richards.
While many Ksars (fortified villages) have existed for centuries, Erfoud was built new by the French around 1920s. Arabs are the majority but as the tourist industry developed, many Berbers started coming to the city around 1990s.
Erfoud is a good place to stay and explore local destinations. Also Erfoud offers quite a good range of businesses, supermarkets, restaurants, mechanics - great for those traveling overland with their own 4x4 or cars, and wish to fill up with goods. It is fairly rural and does not rely on tourism in the way cities like Marrakech do. Thus, Erfoud is notably relaxed and hassle-free.
By grand taxi
- 1 Grand Taxi Station. For Rissani and Merzouga. A grand taxi from Merzouga is 25 dirham, from Rissani around 10 dirham.
- Grand Taxi to Errachidia, Place des FAR (Just in front of Erfoud market you'll notice the big taxis. Ask around for Errachidia taxi, will depart when 7 places are full.). 06:00-22:00. 6-7 people sharing the taxi. 20 dirham 1 place.
Between Erfoud and Errachidia, Tinghir, Boumalne Dades, Ouarzazate or Marrakesh there is one daily Bus from Supratours company that pass all these destinations in one trip. Buses run to Erfoud from the west (via Marrakesh, Ouarzazate, Boumalne, and Tinghir) and north (via Er Rachidia, Meknes, and Fez). There is a 22:45 CTM bus from Meknes (and even Fez 21:30), arriving around 07:30, 140 dirham.
From Marrakesh there is one daily Bus from Supratours company. Departures from Supratours main station at 08:30 and arrives to Erfoud around 20:00. Ticket costs 175 dirham. This is the same bus that goes on to Rissani and Merzouga in (Erg Chebbi) Dunes.
- Supratous Ticket Office (Supratours Bus in Erfoud), Mohamed 5 Boulevard (Mohamed 5 Boulevard just between the City Hall and the non-traffic Rue Allal ben Abdellah Street). 09:00-20:00. Departures from Supratours main station near Erfoud's Kissaria at 21:00 and arrives to Ouarzazate (13:00) and to Marrakesh (20:00). Ticket from/to Marrakech costs 175 dirham. This is the same bus that goes by Merzouga and Rissani.
- CTM Ticket Office (CTM Bus in Erfoud), Mohamed 5 Boulevard (Mohamed 5 Boulevard just between the City Hall and the non-traffic Rue Allal ben Abdellah Street). 09:00-20:00. CTM Ticket Office
- BUS Ticket Office (Private Buses in Erfoud), Place des FAR (In front of the local souq where all the taxis are, just on the corner with Avenue Moulay el Hassan). 09:00-20:00. This is the ticket office for all buses private companies passing in Erfoud. Buses departing for almost all locations important locations in Morocco. Before choosing one of these companies, try Supratours or CTM first. Just for a few dirham difference you get to your destination safer and faster.
There are 2 main national roads coming in/out of Erfoud. R702 connecting Erfoud to Jorf, Tinejad, Tinghir and further more to Ouarzazate. This road also enters the desert off-road until the Erg Chebbi Dunes. Project is under study to finally complete this road reaching Merzouga village. N13 connects Errachidia to Erfoud, Rissani until Merzouga village further south.
Road distances from Erfoud to other Moroccan destinations:
- Erfoud to Rissani : 19 km
- Erfoud to Merzouga: 55 km
- Erfoud to Errachidia: 80 km
- Erfoud to Ouarzazate: 315 km
- Erfoud to Fez: 440 km
- Erfoud to Marrakech: 510 km
- Erfoud to Tangier: 665 km
- Erfoud to Casablanca: 750 km
- Erfoud to Rabat: 590 km, 8 hr (driving only)
- Flight from Errachidia to Casablanca (Airplane Errachidia to Casablanca), Errachidia Airport (70 km north of Erfoud, by grand taxi). Weekend flights check updates at Royal Air Maroc website. 1 hr 20 min flight from Errachidia to Casablanca. 370-1,500 dirham.
Erfoud is quite small so you walking around town is quite OK. There are 4 taxis working day and night. Hitch-hiking one passing scooter or donkey cart will be fairly easy.
By rental car
- Fox Cars (Rent-a-Car Erfoud), Nº1041 Kissariat al Ahbass / Avenue Mohammed 6 - Ouarzazate (Cars can be delivered in Erfoud), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 09:00-20:00. Car and 4X4 rental. On a 1-week rental basis costs 400 dirham for a Dacia Logan, or 1,400 dirham for a Toyota Land Cruiser 100.
- [dead link] Brayouramecar (Rent-a-Car Erfoud), Avenue Mohamed 5, 52200 Erfoud (On the street connecting the Post Office to the FAR Square (the market square)), ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. 09:00-20:00. Different types of cars. 400 dirham for a small Fiat Panda, or 1,200 dirham for a Volkswagen Touareg 4X4.
- Royal Palace (Erfoud Royal Palace). Erfoud holds Morocco's only Royal Palace in Sahara Desert. Although you can't go inside, a quick visit to its outside illuminated gate after Sunset makes somehow worth it.
- Erfoud's Souq (Erfoud Market) (After FAR Square). Saturday 08:00 is best. This is an authentic Moroccan market (with a twist of Afghanistan look and ambiance). If you're into markets and shipping, indulge yourself into this magnificent Moroccan souq.
- Maadid Ancient Ksar (Maadid Ancient Ksar), Maadid, Route d'Errachidia (Out of Erfoud, Errachidia direction). Maadid is supposedly the biggest ksar in south Morocco. A ksar is an ancient fortified village. You can visit Maadid's tiny streets and nearby oases.
- Carrières de fossiles (Fossils in Sahara Desert) (Road from Erfoud to Merzouga, passing the river and after the cemetery). Erfoud is known for its precious and unique fossils. 500 million years ago, the Sahara Desert was under water. On the outskirts of Erfoud you can visit impressive fossil filled marble workshops and other type of fossil varieties such as trilobites and ammonites.
- Borj-Est (Borj Est Erfoud) (After the river, left of cemetery). This is the hill that overlooks Erfoud. The top is occupied by military a strategic building. This is the perfect place to enjoy Sunset over Erfoud, watching the river, the town, and surrounded mountains / dunes.
- Jewish Cemetery (Jewish Cemetery Erfoud), Route de Rissani (Out of Erfoud Rissani direction, just before petrol station before Hotel el Ati). Interesting mix of cultures makes this part of the desert quite interesting. You can visit this ancient Jewish cemetery's graveyard and inside mausoleum.
- Annual Palm Date Festival (Erfoud Date Festival) (Market area and the Place des FAR square). Once a year (October/November) Erfoud celebrates the pick-up of the fresh new palm dates with a 3-day festival with music, local activities and tons of palm dates.
- Chill out with local men in street cafes (Street cafes Erfoud, Meet local people) (Between Avenue Mohamed 5 and Al Madariss Street right after Town Hall (Municipalité)). Try to get to know local men and share a cup of tea and few talks. Try Restaurant Oasis or Chez Rachid just on the corner before the butcher. These street cafes are full of people from police officers to 4X4 drivers to English teachers. Find them out.
- Erg Chebbi Dunes (Sahara Dunes) (35km South East of Erfoud). Just do not miss out these impressive dunes. Erg Chebbi Dunes have several villages on the edge of the sand: Merzouga, Hassilabied, Takoujt and Khamlia.
- Desert 4x4 Tour (4WD Sahara Exploration). Many companies in Erfoud offer different tours and packages around the region. You can visit Erg Chebbi Dunes and surrounding villages, Rissani's ancient ksars trails, nomads camps, palm groves, etc.
- Palm Dates (Palm Dates Erfoud Morocco). Erfoud holds the annual palm dates festival. This is supposedly to be Morocco's palm dates capital. Erfoud main market has a few vending stands with tons of tasty and sweet dates. Try Mejoul type, more pricey but wonderful taste and nutritional facts.
- Fossils from Sahara (Fossils Erfoud). Erfoud is well known by its fossils. All around town you'll find plenty of shops selling fossils and fossils products like tables and home accessories. However, if you are not an expert, it is hard to tell whether something is genuine.
- Local Handicraft (Sahara Desert Handicraft). Many shops in town sell different types of gifts and traditional handicraft. Turbans, necklaces, Sahara Desert blue gandoras men's dress.
- Olives (Olives Mix) (Inside the market in Place des Far Square). Errachidia Region has tasty olives mix. Several shops inside the market offer great variety of olives and also good mixes of them all together. Try the spicy ones. 12 dirham/kg, but depends of olive type.
- 2nd hand clothes (Inside the souq on the 2nd hand clothes area). Imagine yourself getting expensive clothes as cheap as it can gets. If you are into 2nd-hand clothes, try Erfoud souq with weekly updates on clothes coming from Spain and France. Majority of clothes are in really good shape and some are even new. All major clothes marks and labels. 5-20 dirham depending on the clothes..
- 1 Museum Fossils, Ksar Ksir Siffa (Route de Rissani), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Nice museum where you can also buy things. Ask for visiting the factory.
- Restaurant Pizzeria des Dunes (Restaurant des Dunes), Avenue Moulay Ismail BP 104, ☏ . 9AM to 10PM. Restaurant Pizzeria des Dunes offers different types of menus, from fresh salads, traditional Moroccan dishes and wooden oven pizzas. The restaurant is divided into several rooms, and open air terraces. Many vegetarian/vegan options.
- Soup Street Vendor (Harira and Bisara soup), Avenue Mohammed 6 (In front of Maroc Telecom just passing the post office in the city center.). 07:00–21:00. This small street trailer offers great traditional Bisara fava soup and Moroccan Harira soup. Egg sandwiches with olive oil and cumins are also tasty. Soup 3 dirham.
- Chez Rachid (Restaurant Erfoud), Mohamed 5 Boulevard (Before Town Hall (Municipalité) after Moulay Ahmed's Computer shop and on the other side of Oasis Restaurant), ☏ . If into some harira soup, omelet, local grilled meat and French fries, try this place out. Cheap.
- Snail street vendor (Snails in Erfoud), Rue Allal ben Abdellah (Inside Kissaria). 18:00–21:00. If you are into snails you could try Erfoud snails specialty. Many people in Erfoud will come here to socialize. Snails soup with special herbal mix. Cheap.
- Fava Beans and Chickpeas street vendor (Quick street snack in Erfoud), Rue Allal ben Abdellah (Inside Kissaria). 18:00–21:00. If you want to have a quick snack full of protein try the guys selling Fava Beans and Chickpeas on the street. You can mix both and add some salt, cumins and paprika. Price depends on what you want to eat, but a handful of chickpeas will cost around 3 dirham.
- Sahara Mint Tea (Green Tea and Mint leaves). Erfoud is also called "The Desert Gate", so why not sit down in one of the dozen existing street cafes and taste a glass of Moroccan mint tea. 4 dirham per cup in non-touristic cafés.
- Fresh orange juice (Orange Juice in Sahara Desert), Avenue Moulay el Hassan. Sahara weather often calls for fresh fruits. Try a fresh squeezed orange juice. There a small groceries store just on the right side of the souk entrance door (taxi and bus square - called Place des FAR Square), Mr AbdelGhani, you can notice the orange stand outside, also aside the bus ticket office. Many other street cafes also serve orange juice. 8 dirham in normal street stand, 10-15 dirham in touristic cafés.
- Panaché Milk Shake (Milk Shake Morocco). Panaché is a usual Moroccan milk shake blending milk, sugar, apples, avocado and banana. This can be easily be changed to a non-dairy and no sugar smoothie if asked to do it with orange juice instead of milk. Depending the fruit season peach and strawberries can also be added. Ask for panaché special for an extra taste of dried grapes and almonds. 10-15 dirham.
- Avocado Milk Shake (Milk Shake Erfoud). Most cafes will prepare you a avocado milk shake. This is probably one of Moroccans favourite milk shake.
- Hotel Chergui (Hotel Chergui), BP 342 Route de Erfoud à Errachidia km 5.5 (After Ksar Maadid - Errachidia's direction), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Hotel Chergui
- [formerly dead link] Kasbah Tizimi (Kasbah Tizimi), BP 94 Route de Erfoud à Jorf (Way out of Erfoud - Ouarzazate's direction), ☏ . Kasbah Tizimi
- Hotel Xaluca (Hotel Xaluca), BP 205 Route de Erfoud à Errachidia km 5 (After Ksar Maadid - Errachidia's direction), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Hotel Xaluca
- [dead link] Ksar Assalassil (Ksar Assalassil), BP 210 Route de Erfoud à Errachidia km 1 (Way out of Erfoud - Errachidia's direction), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Ksar Assalassil
- Hotel Salam (Hotel Salam), Route de Erfoud à Rissani (Way out of Erfoud - Rissani's direction), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Hotel Salam
- Hotel el Ati (Hotel el Ati Erfoud), BP 188 Route de Erfoud à Rissani (Way out of Erfoud - Rissani's direction), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Hotel el Ati
- [dead link] Hotel Belere (Hotel Belere), Route de Erfoud à Rissani (Way out of Erfoud - Rissani's direction), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Hotel Belere
- [dead link] Hotel Palm’s (Hotel Palm’s), BP 70 Route de Erfoud à Rissani (Way out of Erfoud - Rissani's direction), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Hotel Palm’s
- Hotel Tafilalet (Hotel Tafilalet), Avenue Moulay Ismail, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Hotel Tafilalet
- [dead link] Hotel Chez Gaby (Hotel Chez Gaby Erfoud), BP 63 avenue Moulay Ismail (Way out of Erfoud - Ouarzazate's direction), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Hotel Chez Gaby
- Kasbah Hotel Said (Kasbah Hotel Said) (Desert tracks between Erfoud and Derkaoua), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Auberge Derkaoua (Auberge Derkaoua Erfoud), BP 64 Route de Erfoud à Merzouga (Desert tracks between Erfoud and Derkaoua), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com.
- ATM machines (Withdraw money in Erfoud), Avenue Moulay Ismail (Erfoud Main Avenue have few banks where you can take some money out). 24/7. Attijariwafa Bank ATM in front of the Post Office; BMCE Bank ATM right before Total Petrol Station;
- Exchange money (Exchange money in Erfoud), Avenue Moulay Ismail (Near the Post Office). 24/7. Banque Populaire near the post office offers 2 possibilities of exchanging money: inside the bank, or, easy/quick automatic machine on the street (accurate exchange - just put the money inside the machine and will automatically give you dirham.
- Medical Doctor Erfoud (General Medicine, General Ultrasound and Colposcopy), 1 Moukawama Street (Crossing of Place des Far Square and Erfoud court house), ☏ (Doctors direct cell phone), (Clinic land line). Urgent calls 24/7 call the doctor for something serious and off working hours. Dr Fatiha Lemjimer is without a doubt Erfoud best doctor. She has French Doctor University so expect very professional behavior. Ultrasound equipment. 200 dirham for doctor's appointment.
- Post Office (Post Office in Erfoud), Avenue Moulay Ismail (On the crossing of Moulay Ismail Avenue and Mohamed 5 Boulevard). 8AM to 4PM. Erfoud Post Office
- Police & Authorities (Police in Erfoud). Police attention in Erfoud should be taken by both "Commissariat Central" for any criminal aspects (Mr. Driss is the officer responsible for foreigners in town) and "Gendarmerie Royale" for vehicle and road related problems.
- [dead link] Computer Repair (Computer Repair in Erfoud), Avenue Mohamed 5 (On the crossing of Mohamed 5 Boulevard and Rue Al Madariss Street, between motorcycle repair and Restaurant Chez Rachid). 10AM to 9PM. Nowadays most people travel with their own laptop. Having a problem is common while traveling. If anything gets to your PC, this is the place to go. Also several hardware available from USB keys to portable hard-drives. Repair prices depend on the problem, but this is also the perfect place to get a good 2nd hand Pentium 4 PC for about €150.
- Internet Cafés (Internet Shops in Erfoud) (All around town you'll find few Internet Cafes, just ask around Mohamed 5 Boulevard). 9AM to midnight. If you need to check your email, Erfoud offers quite a few number of places where you can surf the Internet at a fast speed connection. Ask around or search for outside street signs. 4-5 dirham per hour.
- 3G Internet Device (Your own Internet in Erfoud), Mohamed 5 Boulevard (After the Post Office). 24/7. You can get your own Maroc Telecom 3G USB Modem device from Maroc Telecom Price depends of offers and season. Expect to pay around 400 dirham for Modem and 1 month of unlimited Internet access. Works better in bigger cities..
- Merzouga – Clearly ... Village on the edge of Erg Chebbi Dunes, amazing orange colored dunes just 35km away from Erfoud.
- Rissani – Desert town with a museum, Alaouite King Mausoleum and impressive center market, full of old kasbahs and surrounded by palm groves and the Saghrou Mountains.
- Nkob – Small Berber town southeast of Agdz on the road Ouarzazate. Village with 45 well-preserved Kasbahs and surrounded by the Saghrou Mountains and Palm Groves.
- Errachidia – Region's capital with airport and other main government facilities. Maybe better for going to Quazazate from here.
- Zagora – Small desert town south of Ouarzazate.
- Ouarzazate – Called the capital of the south, Ouarzazate makes the transition from oases to Sahara Desert