M'Hamid El Ghizlane

Mhamid (also M'Hamid el Ghizlane = called "level of gazelles", Arabic: امحاميد الغزلان ) is a little oasis town in the south of Morocco ( province of Zagora / Region Souss -Massa- Draâ ) with about 7,500 inhabitants.


Mhamid lies at an altitude of about 500 meters above sea level. inst and about 24 kilometers from the border with Algeria on the edge of the Sahara. The national road N 9 connects with Mhamid Zagora (approx. 97 km) and Ouarzazate ( 260 km). Mhamid lies on the River Draa, but the results here and in its further course, rarely water.


About the earlier history of the place is lack of written records, nothing is known. The spacious palm oases, however, make an early settlement support ( about 3000 BC), probably. Due to the spread of the desert the settlement since the second half of the 20th century is severely threatened by siltation and the population is steadily declining. Due to the strategically important border situation to Algeria Mhamid was to achieve by the end of the 1980s, only with a special permit. Even today, many soldiers stationed in the area of Mhamid.


Previously, whose inhabitants Mhamid - according to the principles of self-sufficiency - from the oasis economy, however, due to reduced or even absence of winter rains since the 1970s brought forth less and less income and was abandoned almost entirely. In addition, a fungal disease ( Fusarium oxysporum ) has befallen the already considerably weakened by drought date palms.

In addition Mhamid was a center for nomads and caravans traveling. Today the town is the starting point for tourist camel safaris in the desert.


The original adobe buildings of Mhamid are already badly decayed and only a few - lived in families - mostly poor. Also in Mhamid new (row ) houses have in the usual construction of the South enforced ( walls made of hollow blocks, concrete ceilings, bright red paint) in recent decades. Desert winds carry always masses of sand in the city.


Hidden in the palm oases of Mhamid are seven old - now almost uninhabited and conceived in disrepair - Ksour. In about 45 to 60 km distance rise the sometimes over 100 meters high and - compared to Merzouga - from tourists rarely visited sand dunes ( ergs ) of Chegaga. The " Holy oasis of Oum Lâalag " may be for some visitors is of interest.