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faux guides at Risanni - the nearest town before heading out to the desert village and area of Merzouga - will maximise their chances of getting business by telling you its terrible piste to get there and you need their expertise to guide you!
but its excellent tar sealed road all the way these days right through to even Taouz which is another village south of Merzouga.
The auberges along the way between risanni are sign posted with their own roads off the main road and are accessed by usually good piste roads. Its only auberges way away such as the Lahmada whose access road is rough piste but you can get there or to the next door auberge the Yasmina by taking one of the better good piste roads that takes you to the connecting road that runs from Merzouga along the dunes up to the direction of the yasmina and lahmada - though it becomes more sandy and more possible to get stuck if you are not quite sure which road to take of the many options to get to those auberges the furtherst away from Hassi labied and Merzouga.
Unique Suggestions: use faux guides to take you somewhere if you really wish, pay them and leave them. or use them to take you around the Risanni souk - you dont need them for Merzouga unless you are wanting to drive up to one of the auberges along erg chebbi and worried you might get stuck or lost. they are all competing with each other to earn what they can but dont let them do unnecessities such as buying things in the souk if its your first buying trip say as if you dont know the right prices they will support you to pay far too much so they get more commission.
Fun Alternatives: be well read and well prepared before you go, read others experiences and you will know for yourself whats what and whats not.
Updated Apr 2, 2007
Of course they don't, that's why this can be seen as a "tourist trap". But like I said, the locals may not do it, but it's worth doing.
Unique Suggestions: Find a good, fun guide. Ali, my guide, was a young guy who was having a good time the entire trip telling us jokes and catching geckos or whatever those things were he kept throwing at us.
Written Oct 19, 2002
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