Going on a Sahara desert tour to ride camels and sleep under the stars in a nomad tent in the Sahara Desert is an increddible experience that is on everyone's bucket list. In fact, many travellers visit Morocco with a specific intention to visit the desert and spend a night or two under the stars.
Running along Morocco's eastern border with Algeria, the Sahara Desert is the largest hot desert in the world, covering about 4800 km of the continet of Africa. On this blog, we will cover the top 10 things you should know before going on a Sahara desert tour.
The distance from Marrakech to Merzouga, the gate of the desert, is 360 mile or about 580 km whlie from Marrakech to Erg Chigaga Dunes is 260 km. Driving through the Atals Mountains take almost half of the drive distance, as a result, you will not be able to reach the Sahara desert in a one day trip from Marrakech.
To go on a Marrakech desert trip to the Sahara Desert, you will need at least three days. Here is our 3 day Marrakech desert tour to erg Chebbi dunes and Erg Lihoudi Dunes and Erg Chigaga Dunes 3 days. For traveller with limited time, who wish to ride camels, watch the sunset and sleep in nomad tent, you can go a 2 days desert trip to the Zagora Dunes, which the ideal option.
A wrong belief that you of travellers adhere to is that instead of booking their desert trip in advance online with a repuatabel travel agency or a tour campany, they wait to recieve offers in in the souks in roder to get a cheaper price.
Well, the thing is, you might get a cheaper price, but that does not mean you will get a better deal. You are more likely to make up for that price difference somewhere, either with poor services, through scams, upselles or forced shopping along the trip.
Rather, I would highly recommend booking your Sahara desert tour in advance with a trustworthy and reputable campany. Simply, a company with a strong reputation will be more professional, cut the middle man and in case anything wrong happens, you have someone to blaim .
As a legitimate tour company with licensed guides and drivers and a expertise of a decade, we recommend browising our carefully crafted Sahara desert tours to experience the true Sahara. We offer the option of a 3 days desert tour from Marrakech to Erg Chebbi dunes or Erg Chigaga dunes and back or the option to go onward to Fes after you trip instead of returning to Marrakech, which you can find here.
Well, if you are on a limited budget or you have limited time, the best option will be to spend a one night in the desert in a three days desert tour from Marrakech. Otherwise, the ideal option that we recommend will be to spend two nights in the Sahara Desert. With two nights, you will be able to explore the desert in a relaxed pace and fully immerse yourself in the nomadic culture and the tribes lifestyle. Spend your days sand-boadring, camel trekking, climb the dunes and visit the nomad in thier house and have a glass of tea with them. Enjoy evening of music and dance to beber drumming under the shiny stars, and sleep in a nomd tent at the foot of the dunes. You can spend two nights in the desert in one of our Marrakech desert tours either to the famous Erg Chebbi Dunes or the wild Erg Chigaga Dunes in the remote Sahara Desert.
Even though Morocco is home to four main desert dunes, namely, Erg Chebbi Dunes, Zagora Dunes, Erg Lihoudi Dunes and Erg Chigaga, the two main sand dunes that travellers visit the most to explore the Sahara Desert are Erg Chebbi Dunes and Erg Chegaga.
The most famous and touristic destination is the Erg Chebbi Dunes as it is easily accessible with a 30 min camel ride into the desert camps and well-equipped with modern hotels and luxury desert camps. On the other hand, the Erg Chigaga Dunes offer a more wild adventure and are perfect for those who wish to visit the wild Great Sahara. Located 65 km from the nearest paved road, there is a 2 hours off-raod drive in 4×4 through the Sahara Desert to get to these dunes.
Both dunes, however, offer camel rides, climb dunes and watch the sunset and sunrise, berber music under the stars and overnight in authentic nomad tents with the option to upgrade ot luxury. Both dunes requere at least a 3 day tours.
If you are heading on a Sahara desert tour, there are some essentials that you need to have in your packing list These are the following:
- A windbreaker or a warm jacket to keep you warm in the cooler nights and morning of the desert, so you can catch the sunrise and the sunset.
- Approperiate shoes for hiking in the gorges and the mountians, for the desert you can go barefeeted.
- Confortable pants to make sure you can ride camels and climb the dunes freely.
- Sunglasses and headscarf (turbans) to protect your eyes from the strong sun in the regions of the south and the dust and sun of the desert.
- A flashlight to use at night at the campsite.
- Enough medications that can cover for an extra day or two. As you know, there are no pharmacies in the desert.
As the Sahara desert is rans along the border with Algeria, you should be aware that you are travelling from the center of the country to the eastern side. You will drive for about 6 to 7 hours per day. Most of the drive hours are spent ascending and descending the Atlas Mountains wher the road is quiet diffecult and is under construction. There will be stops along the way for photos, visits, breaks and toilet. In the Atas Mountains and the Dades Gorges, the views are simply beautiful and breath taking, so keep your camera at ready to snap some shots, as you will stop at panoramic viewpoints.
Another stop that you can look forward to is your visit to the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Kasbah Ait Ben Haddou. A backdrop that set the scene to many Hollywood movies including the famous TV series of Game of Thrones. If you have limited time, you will need 3 days minimum to visit the real Sahara Desert.
Even though most traveller visit the Sahara Desert in order to ride camels and sleep in nomad tents, you will be surprised at how many activities and entertainments that is waiting for you when you go on a Sahara desert tour.
- Besides riding camels as your means of transportation to explore the great Sahara Desert, Quad-biking can be a good choice for mechanic sport enthusiasts. This is a great way to dive little deep into the dunes and the sahara.
- Hunt for fossils. The regions of the south are rich in fossils as there are plenty of of areas such as Rissani and Eriki Lake that are quiet famous for fossils enthusiasts.
- Visit Khamlia and listen to Gnawa Music. Altough Gnawa is more famous in Essaouira, the desert is also home the Gnawa music. Take a half a day to visit the town of Khamlia to listen to Gnawara music.
- Explore the golden sand-dunes. wherther taking a walk, riding camels or taking a ride around the dunes in a 4×4, the dunes are suhc an amazing setting that is waiting for your to explore.
- Visit Errissani and shop in the local market. Errissani is the largest village before Merzouga.
- Visit the nomad either in their cave or house to have glass of tea with them and explore the local life in the desert.
The choice to travel in a group or a private trip is based on personal preference. If you wish to travel with a group, there are many travel agencies that organise group trips and tours.
However, you shuld note that the trip are usually done in a mini-van with only a driver and no guide. There will be no opportunities for off-road driving and you can not drive into the camp, but instead, you will be taken by a camel caravane. The stops along the way are scheduled in advance and limited. The pros, is that travelling in group tour can be more affordable and more suitable for solo travellers.
Travelling on a private desert tour, on the other hand, can cost a little more. The pros, is that you can stop along the way whenever you wish fo photos and visits and do off-road driving. You can go to the camp in the 4×4 car. Of course, a private trip is more personal and more intimate. Its is suitable for couples and families.
The best time to go on a Sahara desert tour depends on many factors. As far as the temprature is concerned, The best time to visit the desert will be between May and October as that is when the daytime temperature is convinient. During December and Junuary, the temperature drops below freezing and sandstorms are more frequent. Between June and September, the whether can be hot with july and Augest daytime being the highest often crossing 50 degree celsius.
From a high season and low season perspective, the high seasons are from late February to late April and from September to late December after the new year's eve. If you wish to come to Morocco in the low season, you can choose any month but these.
Yes, we do! We offer a variety of private tours that can be customised to fit your needs and special points of interests. Our tour a carefully crafted to fit almost any traveller style. They are organised into categories starting from each of the major cities. browse our website and choose the sahara desert tour that you desire. If you are struggling to find the tour that you want or would like to customise a tour, contact our friendly team of experts to help you plan your Sahara desert tour and to answer any questions that you might have about Sahara desert tours.
Posted By Hamza Slimani on 31/03/2020