There are many big cities and smaller towns in Algeria that have become popular destinations for tourists and visitors, but many travelers often want to explore villages that are not influenced by the tourism industry. They seek out quaint destinations that are untouched by modernization and where they can enjoy an authentic Algerian experience. Most of these types of towns and villages are located in the sea of desert dunes and are the iconicoases that are romanticized about in novels. One of these picturesque destinations is Kerzaz.
The Kerzaz district is situated in the Bechar Province, in the western region of Algeria. There are three municipalities within the Kerzaz district, of which the town of Kerzaz is its capital. After observing that Kerzaz lies between two massive sand mountains in the Large Western Erg, it is not surprising that the name Kerzaz is derived from a term that translates to “Strait Between Two Mountains”. Its location in the centre of this ocean of sand makes Kerzaz a vital oasis. The nearest cities are Ben Abbes, 110km away, Adrar (200km) and Bechar (330km), but many travelers pass through Kerzaz on route to destinations such as Timimoun.
The village is a sight to behold, as modernization has not reached it borders, allowing the age old Saharan buildings to remain in good condition through constant maintenance and restoration. Walking through the village takes visitors back in time, where villagers go about their daily lives as their ancestors did, hundreds of years ago. Methods in retrieving water from the barren desert have not changed, and visitors to the village will have to make special arrangements if they want to stay over, as the village does not have hotels or restaurants available. Kerzaz is home to a very popular annual event, namely the Marathon des Dunes, when hundreds of athletes descend on the village to test their endurance and strength against the unforgiving desert in a 42 kilometer event. The oasis serves as a starting point and resting spot for the athletes, who participate in this grueling marathon. Kerzaz is an authentic village that will leave visitors with lasting memories and a unique traveling experience.