Not far from the dusty town of Merzouga, south of Erfoud, you reach the Sahara Desert, the Erg (sand sea) Chebbi. This is the Sahara of your imagination, serried ranks of towering dunes with sharp ridges carved by the wind. There are a variety of ways to experience the dunes; we prefer the non-motorised ones as quad bikes destroy the peace and are not great for the dunes either. Climbing the dunes (which rise to over 150m) is hard work, but rewarding: the summit of a taller dune gives you wonderful views (especially for sunrise or sunset) and gets you away from any crowds of tourists. Despite the fact that, in season, the dunes do get busy, they are still a major highlight for most people: they are incredibly photogenic and tap into every romantic image of the Sahara.