How to plan Morocco desert tours

The Sahara desert is an essential part of every trip to Morocco, since it is one of the main attractions that the vibrant country has to offer. However, first time travelers might get overwhelmed when trying to plan a Morocco desert tour. For this reason, we bring you this guide in hopes to simplify the task and make sure you have wonderful Morocco desert tour experience:

The planning

When planning a Morocco desert tour, there are many things that should be taken into consideration to make sure everything goes smoothly. You have to keep in mind that Morocco desert tours take place in… the desert obviously. This means that things like the weather, clothing, and special conditions should be kept in mind while planning. For example, only visit the Sahara desert during the spring (from March to May) or autumn (from September to November). This is because during these two seasons, temperatures are not too hot during the day and not too cold during the night.

Moreover, the desert is pretty isolated and far away from cities, so if you are someone who takes medication, make sure you’re packing enough for the duration of the Morocco desert tour. Don’t plan to spend 4 night in the desert if your medication only has enough for 2 nights left. You can stock up on medication and other related things in nearby cities like Erfoud or Errachidia. On that same note, make sure you’re packing flowy and light fabric clothes if you’re visiting in the spring and warm coats for autumn.

The destinations

For you Morocco desert tour, keep in mind that there are 2 main deserts in the country: the Erg Chebbi desert at Merzouga and the Erg Chigaga at Zagora. Both sets of sand dunes are southeast of Marrakesh, toward the Algerian border. The two deserts are similar in many aspects, but each one of them has its own characteristics.

Erg Chebbi:

Erg Chebbi is by far the more popular destination of the two. It is home to the largest dunes in Morocco, at an altitude of over 700 meters, which makes the experience unique. The Erg Chebbi dunes offer a mesmerizing landscape to their visitors, who can choose to cross them either by Camel, quad biked, or 4×4 vehicles. At Erg Chebbi, you can take breathtaking pictures of the desert with golden and orange hues.

Erg Chebbi

Erg Chigaga:

The Erg Chigaga dunes, located further south, reside off of a road less traveled. In fact, they’re located over 60 kilometers away from the nearest, lightly traveled road. Not to say that Erg Chigaga is harder to reach, it just may be a longer journey depending on where you’re coming from. The fascinating thing about this desert is that it remains largely untouched, wild, and unspoiled. They receive less visitors, which means that the Erg Chigaga dunes remained authentic over the years.

The itineraries

From Casablanca:

If you’re going to be arriving to Morocco through the Mohammed V Casablanca airport, there are many itinerary options for you to get a Morocco desert tour. The itinerary can differ depending on the stops you want to make along the way, specifically on imperial cities and other tourist attractions. We suggest this 5 days Morocco desert tour from Casablanca.

casablanca

From Marrakech:

Marrakech is one of your best itinerary options to get to the Sahara desert, especially if you’re planning to go to Erg Chigaga at Zagora. Once you land at the Marrakech Menara airport, you will have the option to either head directly to the desert or spend some time exploring other destinations first. We suggest this 4 days tour from Marrakech to Merzouga.

marrakech

From Fes:

Fes is another one of the top itinerary options if you want to experience a delightful Morocco desert tour. The itinerary from Fes will take you through the mesmerizing Middle Atlas Mountains where there is a lot to see as well. We suggest this 5 days Morocco desert tour from Fes to Marrakech.

fes

From Tangier:

Tangier is geographically the furthest option from the Sahara, but it makes for a wonderful itinerary option since it allows to explore so many interesting destinations along the way. From big imperial cities buzzing with life to small lazy fishing villages, a Morocco desert tour from Tangier will show you the true Morocco.  We suggest this 5 days desert tour from Tangier.

tangier

The activities

So far, we’ve talked a lot about the Sahara desert and how you can get here, but you might be asking yourself: What is there to do in the middle of nowhere when I actually get to the desert? Actually, there is a ton of fun activities you can try while on a Morocco desert tour, and here are a few of them:

Camel trekking:

This one doesn’t need much explaining. You’ve seen it in pictures, you’ve heard about it in reviews etc. When you’re on a Morocco desert tour, you can’t miss the chance to get on a camel trekking ride around the desert dunes.

Sandboarding:

You’ve heard of snowboarding, skateboarding, but have you ever heard of sandboarding? If not, then brace yourself for a sandy ride. This fun sport is adapted for fans of skating no matter the surfaces.

Riding Quad bikes:

There are many ways you can travel around in the desert, but if camels are not your cup of tea and 4×4 closed vehicles are too stuffy for you, we suggest trying out riding a quad bike with your friends

marrakech quad and buggy ride

Sand bathing:

A Spa day in the middle of the desert? Why not! Sand bathing is an ancient therapeutic remedy that the locals swear by. It’s allegedly great for rheumatism and joints pains.

Accommodations

Nomad-style desert camps: Those are desert camps scattered across the desert dunes, where you will get to stay in authentic style tents. Usually made with goat or camel skin, these are the same type of tents that local nomads build for themselves.

Luxury desert camps: If you want to spend the night outdoors at a desert camp, but you’re still looking for a comfortable and luxurious experience, then luxury desert camps are the choice for you. These carry all utilities necessary to make sour experience as comfortable as possible.

Traditional Kasbahs: Kasbahs are a traditional type of Moroccan architecture commonly found in the south of Morocco, and desert towns are no exceptions. If you do not wish to spend the night outdoor camping, you can opt for a traditional Kasbah to still get an authentic experience.

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