Rissani is a small town in the southern part of Morocco, at the edge of the desert. It is not a sand desert but a stone desert, but don’t be disappointed, the scenery is still fantastic and if you really want to see sand there are very nice ‘pink’ dunes in the nearby village of Merzouga.
Rissani is an old historical place. It is a little bit out of the usual tourist routes, with most of the tours bypassing it, preferring the villages of Erfoud and Alnif, which might be viewed by some as more typical. But you can stay in a Rissani hostel, which will help you arrange for visits of the place and its souk (market), and day tours to the local attractions (dunes, hikes, mountain bike tour, camel rides, 4x4 trips). Be careful with raw veggies and unbottled water since the water from the wells is more often than not not appreciated by our bellies.
Reaching Rissani is easy by local and long distance buses is easy, making it a good starting point for your exploration of the desert. If you want to hike or travel in this bare region, it is strongly advised to hire a reliable guide. The staff at your Rissani hostel will be able to recommend some, as well as the attractions not to be missed. If you befriend with them you might also have the opportunity to be invited to share the famous mint tea, or even an authentic couscous at their place, since hospitality is very important to most of the Moroccan people.