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.
Supratours Bus from Erfoud to Marrakech, Morocco
Erfoud is the port of entry to the Saharan dunes of Erg Chebbi, driving 13km asphalt + 26km desert tracks directly out of town passing the river or via Rissani and Merzouga.
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 : 19km
- Erfoud to Merzouga: 55km
- Erfoud to Errachidia: 80km
- Erfoud to Ouarzazate: 315km
- Erfoud to Fez: 440km
- Erfoud to Marrakech: 510km
- Erfoud to Tangier: 665km
- Erfoud to Casablanca: 750km
- Erfoud to Rabat: 590km, 8h (driving only)
Buses run to Erfoud from the west (via Marrakesh, Ouarzazate, Boumalne, and Tinghir) and north (via Er Rachidia, Meknes, and Fez).
From Marrakesh there is one daily Bus from Supratours company. Departures from Supratours main station at 8:30am and arrives to Erfoud around 8pm. Ticket costs 175 Dirhams. 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). 9am to 8pm. Supratous Ticket Office
- 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). 9am to 8pm. 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). 9am to 8pm. This is the ticker 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 Dirhams difference you get to your destination safer and faster.
Erfoud is quite small so you walking around town is quite OK. There are 4 taxis working day and night. Hitchhiking one passing scooter or donkey cart will be fairly easy.
- Fox Cars (Rent-a-Car Erfoud), Nº1041 Kissariat al Ahbass / Avenue Mohammed 6 - Ouarzazate (Cars can be delivered in Erfoud), ☎ 212.678.010.570 ([email protected]), . 9am-8pm. Car and 4X4 rental. On a 1 week rental basis cost 400 Dirhams for a Dacia Logan / 1400 Dirhams for a Toyota Land Cruiser 100.
- Brayouramecar (Rent-a-Car Erfoud), Avenue Mohamed 5, 52200 Erfoud (On the street connecting the Post Office to the FAR Square (the market square)), ☎ 212.535.578.957 ([email protected], fax: 212.535.578.957), . 9am-8pm. Different types of cars. 400 Dirhams for a small Fiat Panda / 1200 Dirhams for a Volkswagen Touareg 4X4.
Erfoud Market on Saturday morning, Morocco
- 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.
Erg Chebbi Dunes, Sahara Desert Morocco
- 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.
Center Market at FAR's Square
- 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 ([email protected]). Nice museum where you can also buy things. Ask for visiting the factory. (31°21'1'',4°17'24'')
Restaurant Pizzeria des Dunes in Erfoud, Morocco
- 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.
Hotel el Ati in Erfoud, Morocco
- Hotel Xaluca (Hotel Xaluca), BP 205 Route de Erfoud à Errachidia km 5 (After Ksar Maadid - Errachidia's direction), ☎ +212.535.578.450 ([email protected]), . Hotel Xaluca
- Ksar Assalassil (Ksar Assalassil), BP 210 Route de Erfoud à Errachidia km 1 (Way out of Erfoud - Errachidia's direction), ☎ +212.535.578.227 ([email protected]), . Ksar Assalassil
- Hotel Salam (Hotel Salam), Route de Erfoud à Rissani (Way out of Erfoud - Rissani's direction), ☎ +212.535.576.425 ([email protected]). Hotel Salam
- Hotel el Ati (Hotel el Ati Erfoud), BP 188 Route de Erfoud à Rissani (Way out of Erfoud - Rissani's direction), ☎ +212.535.577.373 ([email protected]), . Hotel el Ati
- Hotel Belere (Hotel Belere), Route de Erfoud à Rissani (Way out of Erfoud - Rissani's direction), ☎ +212.535.578.190 ([email protected]), . Hotel Belere
- Hotel Palm’s (Hotel Palm’s), BP 70 Route de Erfoud à Rissani (Way out of Erfoud - Rissani's direction), ☎ +212.535.576.144 ([email protected]), . Hotel Palm’s
- Hotel Tafilalet (Hotel Tafilalet), Avenue Moulay Ismail, ☎ +212.535.576.535 ([email protected]), . Hotel Tafilalet
- Hotel Chez Gaby (Hotel Chez Gaby Erfoud), BP 63 avenue Moulay Ismail (Way out of Erfoud - Ouarzazate's direction), ☎ +212.535.578.111 ([email protected]), . Hotel Chez Gaby
- Kasbah Hotel Said (Kasbah Hotel Said), (Desert tracks between Erfoud and Derkaoua), ☎ +212.535.577.154 ([email protected]), .
- Auberge Derkaoua (Auberge Derkaoua Erfoud), BP 64 Route de Erfoud à Merzouga (Desert tracks between Erfoud and Derkaoua), ☎ +212.535.577.140 ([email protected]), .
Sunset view from the top of Borj-Est Hill, Erfoud Morocco
Erfoud Market on Saturday morning, Morocco
- 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 Dirhams.
- Medical Doctor Erfoud (General Medicine, General Ultrasound and Colposcopy), 1 Moukawama Street (Crossing of Place des Far Square and Erfoud court house), ☎ Doctor's direct cell phone: +212.661.355.684 / Clinic land line: +212.535.576.520. 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 Dirhams 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.
- 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 Euros.
- Internet Cafés (Internet Shops in Erfoud), (All around town you'll find few Internet Cafes, just ask around Mohamed 5 Boulevard). 9am to 12pm. 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 to 5 Dirhams 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 Dirhams for Modem and 1 month of unlimited Internet access. Works better in bigger cities..
Grand Taxis in Erfoud, Morocco
- Grand Taxi to Errachidia (Taxi Erfoud to Errachidia), Place des FAR (Just in front of Erfoud market you'll notice the big Mercedes taxis. Ask around for Errachidia taxi, will depart when 7 places are full.). 6am to 10pm. Grand Taxis to Errachidia make the fastest option to get out of Erfoud. 7 people sharing taxi. 20 Dirhams 1 place, or just buy the 2 front seets for 40 Dirhams (Around 3.5 Euros) for maximum comfort..
The minibus stop may be a difficult to find and it is slow. However it may be the only option if you miss the once daily tour bus. A trip to Tinejdad will cost 80dh and from there you can catch a gran taxi to Tinghir.
To Errachidia, Tinghir, Boumalne Dades, Ouarzazate and Marrakesh there is one daily Bus from Supratours company that pass all these destinations in one trip. Departures from Supratours main station near Erfoud's Kissaria at 9am and arrives to Ouarzazate around 1pm and to Marrakesh around 8pm. Ticket to Marrakech costs 175 Dirhams. This is the same bus that comes from Merzouga and Rissani 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 in Kissaria). 9am to 8pm. Supratous Ticket Office
- Flight from Errachidia to Casablanca (Airplane Errachidia to Casablanca), Errachidia Airport (70km north of Erfoud, get a grand taxi), . Weekend flights check updates at Royal Air Maroc website. 1h20m Flight from Errachidia to Casablanca. 370 Dirhams to 1500 Dirhams.
Other destinations near Erfoud
- Erg Chebbi - Amazing orange colored dunes just 35km away from Erfoud
- Rissani - Desert town with a museum, Alaouite King Mausoleum and impressive center market
- Merzouga - Village on the edge of Erg Chebbi Dunes
- Errachidia - Region's capital with airport and other main government facilities
- Nkob - Village with 45 well preserved Kasbahs and surrounded by the Saghrou Mountains and Palm Groves
- Ouarzazate - Called the capital of the south, Ouarzazate makes the transition from Oases to Sahara Desert
Erfoud Town Hall, Morocco
Fossil shop outside Erfoud, Morocco
Erfoud Royal Palace view from far, Morocco
Erfoud under Sand storm, Morocco
Road outside Erfoud, Morocco