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Erfoud (Arabic: أرفود - Also written Arfoud) is a town in southern Morocco, in the Tafilalet-region. Town main districts are Hay Salam, Hay Jdid, Hay Ziz, Hay el Bathaa, Hay Annahda, Hay el Hamri. 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 1920's. Arabs are the majority but as the tourist industry developed, many Berbers started coming to the city around 1990's. 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. (less...) (more...)
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Points of Interest in Erfoud
- 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). This is a 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. Saturday 8am is best.
- 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 a 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. Back 500 million years ago, 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.
Popular events in Erfoud in the near future
- 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 don't 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.
- Road Junky Retreat, ☎ 0623035315. February 6-11 2012
Join with 30 travelers to make music, meditate and share travel stories under the full moon in the dunes.
- Restaurant Pizzeria des Dunes (Restaurant des Dunes), Avenue Moulay Ismail BP 104, ☎ +212.535.576.793. 9am to 10 pm. 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.). Working everyday from 7am until around 9am, 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 Dirhams.
- 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). Every evening from 6pm until 9pm. 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). Every evening from 6pm until 9pm. 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 Dirhams..
- 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 Dirhams per cup in non-touristic cafes.
- 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 Dirhams in normal street stand, 10 - 15 Dirhams in touristic cafe..
- 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 Dirhams.
- Avocado Milk Shake (Milk Shake Erfoud). Most cafes will prepare you a avocado milk shake. This is probably one of Moroccans favorite milk shake.
- 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.
- 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 Dirhams 1 kilo, 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're into 2nd 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 Dirhams to 20 Dirhams depending on the clothes..
- Museum Fossils, Ksar Ksir Siffa (Route de Rissani), ☎ +212-661-42-59-27, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Nice museum where you can also buy things. Ask for visiting the factory.
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