Mhamid El Ghizlane
The land was very fertile, agriculture, grazing and harvesting dates allowed its inhabitants to live there comfortably. Commercial caravans continued to roam the Sahara between Morocco, Algeria, Mauritania and Mali until the mid-twentieth century. Its geographical location as "Gate of the Sahara" was confirmed by his majesty Mohamed 5th (grandfather of his majesty Mohamed 6th, the current king of Morocco) during his historic visit in 1958.
Hamid El Ghizlane is located one hundred kilometers from the city of Zagora and forty kilometers from the Algerian border. It is still irrigated by the Drâa river, but the "El Mansour Edahhabi" lake was built in 1972 two hundred kilometers upstream from the river has considerably reduced irrigation in the region.
Currently ten thousand people still live there, and half of them are semi-nomads, who move within a radius of two hundred kilometers and the other half have settled down.
The lack of water since the construction of the dam weighs on agriculture and the local economy and does not even allow the development of basic agricultural activities (cereals, vegetable gardens, dates etc.) which are therefore increasingly reduced . This explains the very high level of emigration (a quarter of the population, especially young people, has already emigrated to other big cities).
Due to the proximity of the dunes and the cultural and natural wealth of the Hamada du Drâa, we are witnessing an increasing tourist craze for the region. Tourism has grown strongly over the past twenty years, offering work opportunities for the local population, both sedentary and nomadic, but unfortunately this activity is not without negative consequences for the environment.