From Merzouga we drove around the dry salt lake to Rissani, the last stop on the great caravan routes south.

Our guide, Mohamed, dropped us at the town square and a local guide took us to a tour of the ruinous kasbah and dusty dry palmerie. Next, he dropped us at the Maison Berbère, a carpet chain that will try everything to sell you a rug, including asking if you want to trade your sneakers.

Mohammed set us up with the Hotel Bachir for that night, with dinner and breakfast included. We loved the over-the-top design and kitschy decor, the great food and friendly host.

Tinerhir makes a good base to visit the Todra and Dadès Gorges, our next destination.