TINERHIR

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.