Merzouga is a small town in the deep south of Morocco, at the Algerian border. It used to be a fortified military outpost during the French colony period. Now it mainly relies on tourism. All year long, buses unload tourists in front of the famous pink dunes, before the next attraction on the tour list.
If you really want to enjoy the region, stay in a Merzouga hostel a few days at a time, and hire yourself a guide to take you for hikes in the dunes or the nearby Hamada (rock desert). While there you will have the opportunity to live at the pace of the nomads and local sheep farmers, and sip some hot sweet mint tea under a Berber tent.
While staying at your Merzouga hostel you can also try new and trendy activities such as dune surfing or sand massage. Locals are very friendly, but some of them have learned to prey on naive tourists, so don’t let them trick you, and bargain hard on everything, they will enjoy it, and you will eventually as well.
There's only a handful of hostels in Merzouga, so pick one based on the most recent feedback you can get, mainly focus on the atmosphere and cleanliness of the place. Hygiene can be a problem in Morocco, and un-bottled water is not usually safe to drink or to even to wash veggies with.
If you have not hired your own car to tour Morocco, you will be able to get to Merzouga by shared ‘public taxi’, usually a very old blue Mercedes, which can take up to 10 people together to the same location. Sharing such a cab can be a good way to get to know some of the locals.