Morocco Desert Tours: Everything you must know about Sahara Desert Tour
Many tourists have a Sahara desert tour on their Morocco wishlist. However, soon enough, the questions appear.
When you are planning for your Morocco Sahara desert tour it isn’t easy. How do you determine where to begin when each tour promises to be one of the best Morocco safaris?
If you’re just in the beginning stages of planning your Morocco desert adventures and are wondering how to best plan your Morocco desert journey, you’ll find this Sahara Desert vacation guide very useful. In this article , I’m going to discuss all the basics you must be aware of Morocco desert excursions, including:
The ideal location to start you on Sahara Desert Morocco tour;
Where in the Sahara to visit;
What is the best time to join for one of Sahara tours?
How many days can you devote on your Sahara excursion?
What can you expect in terms of Morocco cost of desert tours and what you can expect at various price points;
What should you pack for your Morocco desert getaway; and lastly
A few tips for Sahara excursions and trips with children.
Hopefully after reading this guide which will cover everything you need to know about the Sahara Desert tours Morocco offers, you’ll be in a better position to book one of the top Morocco desert excursions that’s right for you.
Morocco Desert Tours: Where To Begin? and Where to go?
One of the first things that you should consider to decide for your Sahara Desert travel is what region of the Sahara will you explore and the location you’ll begin your trip to Sahara.
There are two main deserts that tourists can visit in Morocco to spend their Sahara Desert holiday – either the Merzouga Desert or the Zagora Desert and usually tourists start their journey from either Marrakech and Fez. We’ll go over both of these areas further below.
Sahara Desert near Merzouga
Merzouga tours are the most sought-after Sahara tours, with Merzouga being close to the renowned Erg Chebbi sand dunes. The dunes at Erg Chebbi are taller and richer in color then the dunes near Zagora which makes them a more sought-after destination.
Perhaps the biggest advantage of Merzouga desert toursis the fact that the town lies close to the impressive Erg Chebbi sand dunes. Furthermore, the town is full of modern hotels and it is easy to get to the sand dunes on just a 30 minute Morocco Camel Trekking. This makes an Merzouga desert trip relatively easy and comfortable, which is perfect for those on a tight schedule or who don’t want to go too far off the beaten track.
However, the proximity to the sand dunes is also a factor in its down drawback. Due to its popularity the place is more expensive and it certainly is busy with plenty of visitors.
Merzouga is situated around 9 hours drive far from Marrakech in Morocco or 7 hours driving distance from Fez. If you’re taking any of the Marrakech desert tours, you’ll need to make room for two nights and three days , as the tour stops overnight on the way there.
Zagora is located in the southern part of Morocco and is situated just a few kilometers from the Erg Chigaga sand dunes. These sand dunes are located just 60 kilometers away from the nearest road , thus the journey to view them takes quite a lot longer than the sand dunes that are located in Merzouga.
To reach Zagora, you must first get to the tiny settlement of M’hamid. From here , it’s a long trek through rugged desert terrain, before reaching the Erg Chigaga sand dunes.
It’s important to understand there is a difference between the Zagora desert is not the orange like desert you might imagine . This is an arid desert that has a more moon like appearance. That’s why (as as it takes longer to reach) Zagora is known to be less popular than Merzouga and is more suited ideal for budget travelers or for those who want to be off the beaten trail.
Zagora is located around 6 hours’ drive to Marrakech or 9.5 hours drive away from Fez (without stopping).
Where to Commence?
The most sought-after location to commence Sahara Desert trips is from Marrakech. This is due to the fact that Marrakech is the capital of Morocco and the place where many tourists commence their trip. However, it is possible to go to Sahara Desert from Fes. But, given that the Marrakech Desert safaris are more popular, there are many different options to choose from here.
A popular option is to take the Marrakech through Fes desert tour. So start your trip in Marrakech and then, following your Sahara desert safari, head towards Fez or vice versa.
How Many Days to Allow for a Morocco Sahara Tour?
Trucks and campervans in Dades Gorge in Morocco.
In light of the extensive driving needed to travel to either Merzouga or Zagora in any case, and no matter if your visit is either Marrakech or Fez Expect a long day of driving to and back. It’s not feasible to go on a Fez or Marrakech day trip to the desert.
As a minimum, you can make overnight Sahara trips out of Marrakech or Fez If you want a Sahara Desert camp trip to be worthwhile , you’ll must allow between two and three nights. Even if you plan a two or three-night Sahara camping trip, a large portion of the trip will being driving.
If you’re starting the Sahara Desert experience in Marrakech with only single night to stay in, your best bet is to go to the nearby Zagora Desert. If you’re lucky enough to have the luxury of two or three nights, you are able to visit the magnificent orange sand dunes found in the Merzouga Desert.
If you choose to opt for a two or three night tour, be sure to double ensure that at least two of the nights are actually spent in the desert. Some of the more budget tours will spend just the 1 night out in the desert while the remaining nights will be spent in the hotel. For a period of 2 to 3 nights in the desert you will be able to explore this desert area at a slower pace and partake in various activities , including visiting tribal villages such as sandboarding in the desert, camel trekking, or simply sitting back and enjoying the breathtaking sand dunes.
Visiting the Agafay Desert
If you are short on hours, Marrakech day excursions to the Agafay Desert is a good alternative. There is a great view of the Agafay Desert is located 40km southwest of Marrakesh and features rough and dry moon-like landscape.
You won’t see the stunning dunes of sand like you can at Merzouga or Zagora, on this Marrakech day journey to the desert, however, you’ll still have the opportunity to ride a camel across the desert. I need to stress that Agafay Desert is not the Sahara Desert.
There is a lot to see in the Agafay Desert is also a suitable option if traveling to Morocco in the summertime. A lot of Morocco camp sites close down for a few months due to the extreme temperature and dangers associated with inviting people to the desert during this time.
So if you’re planning a Sahara Morocco tour in summer it is worth considering visiting an Agafay desert camp near Marrakech instead . It will still be scorching hot, however the camps remain open.
Should I DIY or Book a Guided Sahara Trip?
It’s totally possible to make the DIY Sahara tour. You could hire an automobile and drive yourself towards the sand dunes or perhaps take a bus. On arrival you can arrange the activities you want to do and do exactly what you would like to do within the Sahara.
However, when Camping in the Sahara, there are numerous advantages in joining one of these desert Morocco tours, that they far surpass the benefits of making it your own. Here are a few of the reasons why to consider booking one among the Morocco Sahara Desert tours:
The best Morocco desert experiences are included and include transportation starting from Marrakech or Fez accommodations, activities and generally most if not all meals.
There is less risk of being lost.
On a guided desert Morocco tour Your guide will be aware of the best places to stop for stunning photographs;
You will have less issues regarding language barriers.
You can be reasonably sure of your safety; and
Overall you have more chances of your trip going as planned.
What is the best Sahara Desert Camp to Book Which Sahara Desert Camp is best for you – Budget, Luxury, or Mid-Range?
Now you have an idea of the places you’d like to visit during your desert safari in Morocco and the amount of time you’re allowed to stay there, it’s time to start working out whether you’d like to book a low-cost and mid-priced or luxury tour.
Before booking any tour, ask the Morocco desert tour company about the following:
What is included in the Sahara desert tour cost? What’s not included?
Do you have any tours in the time that you’ll be in the area and how hot will it be? This is something you will be looking for during the summer months. A lot of operators don’t offer services during the summer season. There is no air conditioning and temperatures can easily reach between 100-110F during the day and in the 70’s by night.
Where will you stop including the names of any hotels or riads?
If it’s not one among the Morocco private desert tours how many people will be traveling together?
Are there any stops that have additional tours or tips you can expect to pay?
What meals will be covered from pocket? And what’s the average price?
If you don’t want to consume food at the eateries that have stopped for meals Do you have other options?
What are the sleeping arrangements like in Camp in deserts?
What’s the full schedule of the tour, including breaks, and when to get to and from the desert camp?
If you’re dealing with any health concerns, like a bad back (me!) ask them if they can provide an back rest that can be fitted to the camel to give you additional support.
Just Google “budget Sahara Desert tours” and you will receive a flood of negative reviews by unhappy clients. While many seem to have been promised luxurious tents and peaceful camping set in stunning dunes, reality is the opposite: a sea of tents poor facilities and a lot of discontent.
That’s not to say there aren’t good budget tours out there, I’m pretty sure there are. It’s that good budget tours don’t seem to be the typical. Unfortunately, that’s also my personal experience as well.
Here’s a list of things you can expect from a budget tour:
Often , poor-quality meals most, served with the desert. Other meals are paid for at your own expense;
A lot of people are during your tour
No toilets , you are obliged to take a shower on the sand or perhaps in a very basic toilet;
Beds that are uncomfortable or perhaps sleeping on the sand
Communication and Language problems.
For some people that aren’t, this may not be a problem. You may want to go for more of a rustic experience. That’s awesome! However, if you’re looking for a desert getaway that isn’t expensive however, you’re hoping for something more the drive will be long and there’s no exit once you’re there.
A mid-range campground will have many of the amenities of a luxury camp but may come with fewer frills as the budget camp. There is also the possibility of private transportation vs. a shared ride. To determine if an option is middle-priced, compare the options provided to luxury and budget options.
The luxurious Sahara tour is so lavish that the guests won’t be aware that they are camping! In fact, the luxurious tour I took was such a delight that my bed seemed plus comfortable than own bed at home!
Here are some things that you can expect on luxury tours:
Tents for individual and camp sites and individual tents with drinking water
Big, comfortable beds;
Private area for sitting;
Delicious Moroccan meals
To learn more about luxury travel, you can learn more about my experience in this article.
Other Tips About Booking a Tour
My primary advice to the travelers is to book your tour at least a month in advance of your arrival in Morocco. While you can book upon arrival, by making reservations beforehand, you’ll be able do the research you need to do and guarantee get a reservation with a established tour company and be aware of precisely what you will experience during your trip.
In the past, I’ve read reviews of people who are disappointed by their experience. This could easily be avoided if they had done their own research.
When you arrive in either Marrakech or Fez you’ll see a number of tour operators in the medina who are hustling visitors with Morocco Sahara trips. If you’ve not made a reservation in advance, you might well end up booking a tour that you know nothing about or are influenced to sign up for a tour due to the fact that it sounds relatively cheap.
This Sahara Desert trips Morocco offers are a rare chance, therefore it’s important that you are not disappointed. Trust me when I say that when it comes to an Sahara trip , you are getting what you paid for.
Morocco Maroc Sahara Desert Tour: What is the best time of year to go?
Similar to any other destination there are certain times of the year are better than others when it comes to Sahara desert explorations.
Most people think that the best time of year for vacations and holidays within the Sahara desert is between April and October as the night and day temperatures are milder.
If you decide to visit during the winter months (December to March) You may experience the temperatures in the evening sub-zero, while during the summer season (June until September) the days can get extremely hot.
It’s also important to note that many desert tours end during summer (specifically from August).
What do you need to pack for your Sahara desert adventures?
In order to appropriately pack for packing for Morocco Sahara desert trip, you’ll have to know some facts regarding the kind of camp you’ll be staying at. Before you start packing, you should know the following about your camp:
What is the arrangement for sleeping? Do you have a bedroom with covers, or do you have to provide your own? Will you have a bed or sleep on the floor? Are there any heat sources in the tents?
What are the facilities for bathrooms It is crucial so that you know which clothes make bathroom time easiest and if you need to take toiletries.
Are there any food(s) and beverages will be provided? Or will you need to take your own on the way and at the campsite?