It can not be denied that one of the major highlights of every trip to Morocco is camping in the desert, riding camels and sleeping in a nomad tent under the stars in the largest hot Sahara desert. When travelers are searching for sahara desert tours, they are faced by two options of the two main destinations; the Erg Chebbi Dunes near Merzouga and the Erg Chigaga Dunes close to M'hamid El Ghizlane.
Both sets of dunes are situated southeast of Marrakech towards the Algerian border, involve 8 to 9 hours drive in the car and they certainly offer a wonderful desert experience. Choosing between the two destinations generally depends on your other plans for your Morocco holiday and your desert camping preference. However, whichever dunes you choose to visit, there is nothing like watching the spectacle of the sunset on camel back and spending an overnight in a luxury desert camp at the foot of the dunes.
Erg Chebbi Dunes, the most famous and touristy destinations is the more established and developed due to its easy accessibility. Even though the drive time from Marrakech to Merzouga is about 10 hours, they road offers plenty of interesting attractions to visit; such as Kasbah Ait Ben Haddou, The Valley of the Roses, Dades Gorges and many kasbahs and small villages.
The most popular Marrakech desert trip to Erg Chebbi Dunes is the 3 days/ 2 nights, but those who wish to spend more time take 4 days to enjoy the interesting sites along the way or sometimes choose to spend a full day in the desert of Merzouga. Once in Merzouga, travelers enither choose to take an hour to an hour and half camel ride to the camp or can take the 4X4 as a second option.The camps in the desert vary in size from from small (6 private tents) to big (10 tents) and differ in level from authentic to luxury.
Hotels line the edge of the desert offering travelers the opportunity to spend the night in a comfortable hotel room and then explore the desert on the next day. But the real bonus of Erg Chebbi Dunes is that it can be perfectly fitted into an itinerary that involves both Marrakech and Fes as Merzouga is located halfway between the two.
Erg Chegaga Dunes, the less know set of dunes, located further south, reside off of a less traveled road. However, this destination is becoming more popular and there are more camps now than there used to be. As far as solitude and wilderness are concerned, however, it has the upper hand over Erg Chebbi Dunes in Merzouga. A Marrakech desert trip to Erg Chigaga Dunes takes 9 hours with a 60 km of off-road driving after passing the gate of the desert M'hamid El Ghizlane.
The journey to Erg Chigaga Dunes is fascinating, but those heading on an Erg chigaga trip should expect a wild and desert-camping-based experience without access to hotels. After M'hamid, the end of the asphalted road, you can navigate the desert on camelback or by a 4X4 as the road to Erg Chigaga is flat rocky desert, referred to in the local dialect as "hamada".
Erg Chegaga Dunes offer travelers an opportunity to enjoy wild camping, true Sahara desert experience and save you some hours in the car. It is very popular to visit the Erg Chigaga Dunes in a 3 days desert trip from Marrakech, but we would recommend adding a full day to spend in Ouarzazate to visit interesting attractions and break the drive distance.
Both Erg Chebbi and Erg Chigaga Dunes offer opportunities to ride camels, climb the dunes, watch the spectacle fo the sunrise and sunset and sleep under the stars in nomad tents. While Erg Chebbi receives visits because of its approachability and flexibility, Erg Chigaga offers a true desert experience and wild camping. Which option of the two you decide to visit, make sure you have a solid desert trip packinglist .
To experience a desert trip of a lifetime to either Erg Chebbi Dunes of Erg Chigaga desert, contact our friendly team of experst today.