Tafilalt, also spelled Tafilet or Tafilalet, is the largest Saharan oasis of Morocco, in the southeastern part of the country. It is entirely located along the Ziz River, ten days’ journey south of Fez and Meknes, across the Atlas Mountains.
The oasis comprises the fortified villages of Erfoud, Arab Sebbah du Ziz, Rissani, Seffalat, Aoufous, and Jorf, together with palm groves stretching 30 miles (50 km) along the Wadi Ziz.
Its old capital was the Amazigh (Berber) stronghold of Sijilmassa, founded in AD 757 on the Saharan caravan route from the Niger River to Tangier. A prosperous city, it was destroyed in 1363, rebuilt by Mawlāy Ismāʿīl (1672–1727), and devastated in 1818 by Ait Atta nomads.
The only planned village of the oasis, Rissani, was built near Sijilmassa’s ruins.
Tafilalt is noted for its dates, most of which it exports. It has tanning and handicraft industries, and its main trading centre is Erfoud at the base of Mount Erfoud.
The first European to visit Tafilalt in the modern era was René Caillié (1828), and later Gerhard Rohlfs (1864). English writer W. B. Harris described Tafilalt in a journal after his visit.