Morocco Desert Tours: Everything you should know about a Sahara Desert Tour
Many travelers are considering a Sahara desert tour on their Morocco wishlist. But, quickly the questions start to pop up.
Planning Your Morocco Sahara desert tour it can be quite a challenge. What do you know about where to begin when each tour claims its one of the best Morocco desert excursions?
If you’re at the beginning stages of the process of planning your Morocco desert excursions and you’re wondering what the best way to organize your Morocco desert journey, you’ll appreciate this Sahara Desert vacation guide very helpful. In this article I’m going over all the basics you should know about Morocco desert trips including:
- The ideal spot to begin on your Sahara Desert Morocco tour;
- Where is the Sahara to go;
- What is the most suitable time of year to be a part of one of the Sahara tours?
- How many days do you have on your Sahara trip;
- What can you expect in terms of Morocco costs for desert tours, and what can you expect to pay from different price points
- What should you pack for your Morocco desert getaway; and lastly
- Some suggestions for Sahara tours and traveling with kids.
I hope that after you’ve read this article which will cover everything you need to know about Sahara Desert tours Morocco offers that you’ll be in better position to make reservations for one of the top Morocco desert tours that are perfect for you.
Morocco Desert Tours: Where to Begin and Where to go?
One of the first items you have to do is decide on your Sahara Desert travels is which region of Sahara will you visit and from where you will begin your trip to Sahara.
There are two main deserts that tourists go to in Morocco for its Sahara Desert holiday – either the Merzouga Desert or the Zagora Desert and usually tourists begin their trip from either Marrakech as well as Fez. This article will cover both points further below.
Sahara Desert near Merzouga
Merzouga tours are among the most popular Sahara tours in the region, with Merzouga being close to the famous Erg Chebbi sand dunes. The dunes of Erg Chebbi are taller and richer in color then the dunes found near Zagora making them a popular destination.
Perhaps the biggest advantage of Merzouga desert toursis that the town sits close to the majestic Erg Chebbi sand dunes. Additionally, the town is packed with modern hotels, and you can easily reach the sand dunes in only a 30-minute Morocco Camel Trekking. This allows a Merzouga desert adventure relatively easy and practical, and is ideal for people short on time or don’t want to travel too far from the path.
But its proximity to the sand dunes could be a reason for its down to the down. Because it is more well-known it is more expensive . It is busy with plenty of visitors.
Merzouga is situated around 9 hours drive away from Marrakech and 7 hours drive from Fez. If you’re taking some of the Marrakech desert excursions, you’ll need to make room for two days and two nights as the tour stops overnight during the journey to get there.
Zagora is situated in the south of Morocco and is situated just a few kilometers from the Erg Chigaga sand dunes. The sand dunes are approximately 60 km away from the nearest road , so the trek to see these dunes takes longer than to view the sand dunes from Merzouga.
To get to Zagora You must first reach the small town of M’hamid. From here , it’s a long hike through the rugged desert terrain before reaching Zagora’s Erg Chigaga sand dunes.
It’s also important to note this: the Zagora desert isn’t the typical orange desert that one may think of – it is an arid desert that is more moon-like in appearance. That’s why (as well as taking longer to get there) it can be less well-known in comparison to Merzouga and is generally more affordable for budget-conscious travelers or for those that prefer to be off the beaten route.
Zagora is located about 6 hours’ drive from Marrakech and 9.5 hours drive from Fez (without stop-overs).
Where to Commence?
The most popular location to start Sahara Desert trips is from Marrakech. Mainly this is because Marrakech has been deemed the capital of Morocco and where many travelers commence their trip. But, you can also explore the Sahara Desert from Fes. It is important to note that as Marrakech Desert trips are more sought-after, there are other options available from here.
A popular option is to do an Marrakech to Fes desert tour. Start your journey in Marrakech and then, following your Sahara desert safari move onto Fez and vice reverse.
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 and Zagora as well, regardless of whether your visit is in Marrakech or Fez, expect a very long day of driving to and from. Therefore, it’s impossible to make the Fez or Marrakech desert day trip.
A minimum are able to do overnight Sahara trips out of Marrakech or Fez However, for a Sahara Desert camp trip to be worthwhile , you’ll require two to three nights. If you’re planning a two or three night Sahara camping trip, the majority of your tour will still mostly be driven.
If you’re planning to begin to embark on your Sahara Desert experience in Marrakech and you only have one night The best choice is to go to the nearby Zagora Desert. If however you have more than three nights available, you can easily visit the stunning orange sand dunes found in the Merzouga Desert.
If you do arrange a 2 or 3 night tour, just double ensure that at least two of the nights are in fact spent in the desert. Certain of the most budget-friendly tours will just spend single night spent in desert, while the remaining nights will be in hotels. Spending two to three nights in the desert, you will be capable of exploring the desert at a much slower pace and partake in a variety of activities like visiting tribal villages such as sandboarding, camel trekking and just lying back in the stunning dunes of sand.
Visiting the Agafay Desert
For those who are strapped for the time to travel, 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 has a rough dry moon like landscape.
There aren’t any amazing dunes of sand as you will with Merzouga or Zagora, on this Marrakech day trip into the desert, there’s still the possibility to go on camel rides across the desert. I want to make it clear it is the Agafay Desert is not the Sahara Desert.
It is worth a visit to the Agafay Desert is also a suitable option if traveling to Morocco in summer. A majority of Morocco desert camps close down for a month or two due to the extreme temperatures and the risk of inviting people to the desert during this time.
So if you’re planning to go on a Sahara Morocco tour in summer it is worth considering visiting the Agafay desert camp close to Marrakech rather than a Marrakech desert camp where it’ll remain hot but the camps will be open.
Should I DIY or Book a Guided Sahara Trip?
It’s completely possible to do a DIY Sahara excursion. It is possible to hire a vehicle and drive to the sand dunes, or perhaps take a bus. When you arrive, you can plan all of your activities on your own and do what you’d like within the Sahara.
However, when it comes to camp in the Sahara, there are numerous advantages with joining one of the desert Morocco tours that far surpass taking it on your own. Here are the top reasons to book one on the Morocco Sahara Desert tours:
- The best Morocco desert trips are all inclusive , and include transport to either Marrakech or Fez, activities, lodging and in most cases all meals.
- There is a lower chance of getting lost;
- If you are on a guided desert Morocco tour your guide will have knowledge of the best spots to stop for those amazing images;
- You’ll have less trouble regarding language barriers.
- You are reasonably assured of your safety.
- Overall , you’re more likely of the entire trip going exactly as you planned.
What is the best Sahara Desert Camp to Book What type of Sahara Desert Camp to Book? Budget, Luxury or Mid-Range?
Now you have an idea of where you’d prefer to go on your desert safari tour in Morocco and how many days you’re able to take It’s time to begin planning whether to book a cheap, mid-range or luxury tour.
But prior to booking any tour, make sure you ask the Morocco desert tour company about the following:
- What is included in the Sahara desert tour cost? What is not included?
- Do you actually offer tours scheduled during the time you’ll be there and how do you feel? This is something you’ll need to know about the those who travel during the summer. Many operators do not provide services in the summer months. There is no air conditioning, but temperatures can easily go from 100 to 110 F during the daytime and the mid 70’s at night.
- Where will you stop including the name of hotels and riads?
- If it is not one of the Morocco private desert tours how many others are traveling with you?
- Are there any stop-overs that offer additional tours or tips that you can expect to pay?
- What meals will be paid from pocket? And what’s the average price?
- If you’re not keen to take a meal at one of the restaurants closed for meals There are other choices?
- What do you think of the sleeping arrangements in your desert camp?
- What’s the full schedule of the tour? What are the breaks, and when to get to and from the desert camp?
- If you’re dealing with any health concerns, like back pain (me!) ask if there is a back rest to fit your camel to provide additional support.
Just Google “budget Sahara Desert tours” and you’ll receive a flood of negative reviews by unhappy clients. While many appeared to be promises of luxurious and serene tents set in stunning sand dunes is an overwhelming number of tents, poor facilities and a whole lot of displeasure.
This isn’t to say that there aren’t budget-friendly tours there, since I’m sure they exist, but the problem is that the quality of budget-friendly tours do not seem to be the commonplace. Unfortunately, this is my own personal experience as well.
Here’s a list of things you can expect from an affordable tour:
- Camel trek;
- Often , poor-quality meals most, they are served in the desert. Other meals are paid for at the expense of you;
- Lots of people who are on your tour
- No toilets – you are expected to relieve yourself on the sand , or perhaps inside a very basic toilet;
- No showers;
- Insecure bedding or even sleeping on the sand
- Language and communication problems.
For some there is no problem. It is possible to enjoy a more rustic experience. That’s awesome! However, if you’re looking for a desert getaway that isn’t expensive but are expecting something more it’s a long drive and an impossible exit the moment you reach.
A mid-range camp will have some of the amenities found in a luxurious camp but will have fewer frills like a budget camp. This option might also have private transportation as opposed to. sharing rides. To determine if a service is in the middle, compare the prices given to budget and luxury options.
The luxurious Sahara tour is so lavish that it’s hard to believe you’re camping!! In fact, the luxurious tour I took was so luxurious that I slept in a bed even plus comfortable than bed at home!
Here are a few of the things you can expect during the most luxurious tour:
- Tents, camp sites, and individual tents with running water;
- Private bathrooms;
- Tents equipped with heating
- Large, comfortable beds;
- Private sitting areas;
- Delicious Moroccan meals
For more about luxury tours, you can read my experiences in this article.
Other Tips About Booking a Tour
My most important tip to the travelers is to book your trip in advance before you arrive in Morocco. While it’s possible to make a booking at the time of arrival, if you book ahead, you’ll have the time to do the research you need to do and guarantee are booking with a respected tour company and you will know the exact details you’ll encounter on your tour.
Many times, I’ve read reviews in which people are disappointed by their experience. This could have easily been avoided if they had done their own research.
If you are in Marrakech or Fez there will be a plethora of tour guides in the medina busting tourists with their Morocco Sahara trips. If you have not already reserved your trip in advance, you could well end up booking an excursion that you have absolutely nothing about or being convinced to take a tour simply because it sounds relatively cheap.
It is true that the Sahara Desert trips Morocco offers provide many an once-in-a-lifetime possibility, and it’s essential that you do not leave disappointed. Believe me when it comes to an Sahara trip – you really are getting what you pay for.
Morocco and the Sahara Desert Tour: What season to go?
Like any destination it is true that certain times of year are better than others when it comes to Sahara desert excursions.
Most people believe that the best time of year for holidays in the Sahara desert is between April and Oct., since the night and day temperatures are cooler.
If you choose to visit during the winter months (December through March) You may experience the nighttime temperate below freezing, while during the summer months (June from September) the heat can be oppressive.
It’s also worth noting that many desert tours shut in the summer time (specifically in August).
What are the essentials to bring on your Sahara desert adventures?
For you to pack properly in the right way for packing for Morocco Sahara desert trip, you will need to know some facts regarding the kind of camp you’ll be staying in. Before packing, you should know the following information about your camp:
- What are the sleep arrangements? Will you have a mattress with covers or do you have to use your own? Do you have a bed or will you have to sleep in the dirt? Are there heaters in the tents?
- What facilities do you have in the bathroom It is crucial for you to determine what you can wear to make bathroom-ing easiest and if you need to bring toiletries.
- What food(s) and beverages are supplied, or will you need to bring your own on the way and at the campsite?