Morocco Desert Tours: Everything you must know about Sahara Desert Tour
Many travellers have the Sahara desert trip on their Morocco wishlist. However, as soon as the tour is over, questions start to pop up.
In the process of planning your Morocco Sahara desert tour it can be somewhat daunting. Where do you know to begin when every tour advertises it’s one the most popular Morocco safaris?
If you’re at the beginning stages of making plans for your Morocco desert adventures and are wondering what the best way to organize your Morocco desert vacation, you’ll discover this Sahara Desert vacation guide very useful. In this article I’m going over the most important things you should be aware of about Morocco desert trips including:
The best spot to begin you on Sahara Desert Morocco tour;
Where is the Sahara to visit;
What is the most suitable time of year to be a part of for one of Sahara tours;
How many days do you have on your Sahara trip;
What to expect of Morocco cost of desert tours and what to expect at various price points;
What should you pack for your Morocco desert holiday; and lastly
Some tips on Sahara excursions and trips with kids.
After reading this guide that will explain everything you need to know about Sahara Desert tours Morocco offers it will put you in a better position to book one of the top Morocco desert excursions that’s just right for you.
Morocco Desert Tours: Where to Begin? And Where to go?
One of the first things you need to decide for your Sahara Desert travel is what region of the Sahara will you go to and where will you commence your journey to Sahara.
There are two main deserts that tourists go to in Morocco to spend the duration of their 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 details further below.
Sahara Desert near Merzouga
Merzouga tours are among the most popular Sahara tours, with Merzouga being located near the well-known Erg Chebbi sand dunes. The dunes of Erg Chebbi are taller and darker in color than dunes that are found near Zagora and make them a more sought-after location.
The biggest benefit of Merzouga tours in the desert is that the town is right near the stunning Erg Chebbi sand dunes. Additionally, the town is packed with modern hotels, and it is easy to get to the dunes by only a 30-minute Morocco Camel Trekking. This allows a Merzouga desert safari relatively easy and practical, and is ideal for those on a tight schedule or who don’t wish to go out of the route.
However, it’s closeness to the sand dunes, can also be its down in the fall. Due to its popularity is a reason why it’s costlier and can get busy with lots of tourists.
Merzouga is located about 9 hours drive from Marrakech in Morocco or 7 hours driving distance from Fez. If you are joining any of the Marrakech desert tours, you will need to make room for two nights and three days since you will stop overnight while traveling to the city.
Zagora is located in the southern part of Morocco and is near the Erg Chigaga sand dunes. These dunes lie just 60 kilometers away from the nearest road , thus the journey to view them is a good bit longer then to see the sand dunes of Merzouga.
To reach Zagora To reach Zagora, you first need to get to the tiny settlement of M’hamid. From here , it’s a long trek through rugged desert terrain before reaching Zagora’s Erg Chigaga sand dunes.
It’s also important to know you should know that Zagora desert is not the typical orange desert that one might imagine . This is an unpaved desert, which has a more moon like appearance. So for this reason (as as it takes longer to get there) it tends to be less sought-after in comparison to Merzouga and is usually more affordable for budget-conscious travelers or for those who want to go off the beaten trail.
Zagora is about 6 hours’ drive to Marrakech in Morocco or 9.5 hours drive to Fez (without stopping).
Where to Commence?
The most popular place for beginning Sahara Desert trips is from Marrakech. Mainly this is because Marrakech is considered to be the capital city of Morocco and where many people start their journey. However, you can visit the Sahara Desert from Fes. But, given that the Marrakech Desert tours are more sought-after, there are different options to choose from here.
A well-known route is it as a Marrakech through Fes desert tour. This means that you begin your trip in Marrakech and after having completed the Sahara desert safari you can move to Fez and vice reverse.
How Many Days to Allow for a Morocco Sahara Tour?
Campervans and trucks at the Dades Gorge in Morocco.
Because of the massive amount of driving required to visit either Merzouga or Zagora as well, regardless of whether you visit via Marrakech or Fez Expect a full day of driving to and from. Therefore, it’s not feasible to go on an Fez or Marrakech desert day trips.
A minimum can take overnight Sahara trips in Marrakech or Fez, but for the Sahara Desert camp trip to be worthwhile , you’ll should allow for two to three nights. If you do a two or three night Sahara camping trip, a large portion of your time will being driving.
If you’re starting your Sahara Desert experience in Marrakech with only one night, your best bet is visiting the more distant Zagora Desert. If you’re fortunate enough to have two or three nights you are able to visit the magnificent orange sand dunes that make up the Merzouga Desert.
If you do take a two or three nights tour, you should double make sure at least two nights are actually spent in the desert. Many of the cheaper tours will just spend one night in the desert while the remaining nights will be in an accommodation. If you stay for two or three nights in the desert, you’ll be allowed to experience your desert in a much more relaxed pace and participate in numerous activities such as visiting tribal villages such as sandboarding along with camel trekking and relaxing among the stunning sand dunes.
Visiting the Agafay Desert
For those who are strapped for time, 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 rough and dry moon-like landscape.
You won’t see the stunning sand dunes like you do with Merzouga or Zagora, on this Marrakech day trip to the desert you’ll still have the opportunity of riding a camel through the desert. I want to reiterate however that Agafay Desert is not the Sahara Desert.
There is a lot to see in the Agafay Desert is also a ideal option for anyone visiting Morocco in the summer months. A lot of Morocco desert camps shut down for a few months because of the extreme temperatures and risks associated with bringing people to the desert during these months.
If you’re thinking of a Sahara Morocco tour in summer think about visiting an Agafay desert camp outside of Marrakech instead , where it will remain hot but the camps will remain open.
Should I DIY or Book a Guided Sahara Trip?
You can take a DIY Sahara trip. You could hire the car and drive yourself towards the sand dunes or take a bus. Once you are there, you can organize every single thing you wish to do and do what you like on the Sahara.
However, when it comes to staying in campsites in Sahara, there are so many benefits in joining one of these desert Morocco tours which far outweigh going it alone. Here are the top reasons to book one from the Morocco Sahara Desert tours:
The most enjoyable Morocco desert experiences are inclusive , and include transport to either Marrakech or Fez, activities, lodging and, in general, most if not all meals;
There’s a lesser chance of being lost;
On a guided desert Morocco tour, your guide will know all the best places to stop to take those stunning pictures;
You will have less issues when it comes to language barriers.
You can be reasonably sure of your safety; and
Overall you have more chances of the entire trip going exactly as you planned.
What type of Sahara Desert Camp to Book – Budget, Mid-Range , or Luxury?
You now have an idea of the places you’d prefer to go on your desert safari tour in Morocco and how many days you’re allowed to stay there and you’re ready to start choosing whether to go on a budget luxury, mid-range, or budget tour.
But prior to booking any tour, ask the Morocco tour operator in the desert these questions:
What’s included in the quoted Sahara desert tour cost? What’s not included?
Do you actually offer tours in the time that you’ll spend there? How hot will it be? This is something you will want to know for summer months. Many operators do not provide services during summer. There is no air conditioning, and temperatures could easily rise to between 100-110F during the day and mid 70’s at night.
Where will you be stopping including the name of hotels and riads?
If it is not one from the Morocco private desert tours what other guests will be traveling together?
Are there any stops that have additional tours or tips will cost you money?
What meals will you pay out of pocket and what’s the typical cost?
If you’re not keen to take a meal at one of the restaurants closed for meals Are there other options?
What are the sleeping arrangements for Camp in deserts?
What is the entire schedule of the tour, including dates for stops and times to be at and out of the camp in the desert?
If you’ve got any health concerns, like a bad back (me!) Ask if they offer a back rest available for the camel to give you additional assistance.
Just Google “budget Sahara Desert tours” and you will be bombarded by reviews from disappointed clients. While many seem to be promised luxury and peaceful tents in the middle of stunning sand dunes, the reality is there are a lot of tents, low-quality facilities and plenty of disappointment.
This isn’t to say that there aren’t any good budget tours in the world, I’m sure there are. It’s just that the quality of budget-friendly tours do not appear to be the standard. That’s my own personal experience as well.
Here are some of the things you can anticipate on budget-friendly tours:
Often mediocre meals – at most, served with the desert. Other meals are paid at your own expense.
There are a lot of people who are on your tour
No toilets , you are supposed to go to the sand or perhaps in a basic toilet;
Comfortable bedding or sleeping on the sand
Problems with communication and language.
For some people that aren’t, this may not be a problem. You may want to go for a more rustic experience. That’s awesome! But, if you’re searching for a low-cost desert adventure but expect something more it’s an extremely long drive with no exit option after you reach there.
A mid-range camping experience will include certain amenities that are typical of a luxury camp but may be less extravagant than the budget camp. There is also the possibility of private transportation vs. a shared ride. To determine if an option is moderately priced, compare what’s being given to budget and luxury options.
The luxury Sahara trips are so luxurious that people don’t even notice that you’re camping! In fact, the luxury tour I went on was so amazing that I slept in a bed even plus comfortable than own mattress at home!
Here are some of the things that you can expect on an expensive tour:
Camp sites and individual tents which have water running;
Tents with heating;
Big, comfortable beds;
Private area for sitting;
Delicious Moroccan meals
To find out more about luxury tours You can learn more about my experience in this post.
Other Tips About Booking a Tour
The most important thing I can suggest to you is to make sure that you book your trip in advance before you arrive in Morocco. While it’s possible to book when you arrive, if you make reservations in advance , you’ll be able do your research and make your booking is with a established tour company and be aware of exactly what you’ll be getting when you go on your tour.
Many times, I’ve read about reviews that have stated that people are disappointed by their experience. This could have been easily avoided if they had done their own research.
Once you’re in Marrakech or Fez you’ll find a variety of tour touts in the medina, hustling customers with Morocco Sahara trips. If you’ve not booked in advance you may possibly end up booking an itinerary you’re aware of little about, or be influenced to book a tour because it is cheap.
Sahara Desert trips Sahara Desert trips Morocco offers provide many an once-in-a-lifetime experience, so it’s important that you are not disappointed. Believe me when it comes to an Sahara trip – you really are getting what you paid for.
Morocco It is a great place to visit. Sahara Desert Tour: What time of the year is the best to visit?
Similar to any other destination there are certain times of the season are better than others for Sahara desert explorations.
Most would say that the best time of year for festivities in the Sahara desert is between April and Oct., since both the daytime and nighttime temperatures are cooler.
If you visit during the winter months (December until March), you may find temperatures at night that are below freezing, while during these summer months (June until September) the days can get extremely hot.
It’s also worth noting that many desert tours are closed in the summer time (specifically in August).
What should you bring for your Sahara desert trips?
To ensure that you pack the right items for packing for Morocco Sahara desert trip, you’ll have to know a few facts about the kind of camp you’ll be staying in. Before you start packing, learn what you can about your camp:
What are the sleep arrangements? Are you sleeping on a bed with covers or do you need carry your own? Are you sleeping in any beds or will you stay on the ground? Do you have heat in the tents?
What is the bathroom facility It is crucial for you to know what clothes will make bathroom-ing easier and also if you have to bring toiletries.
Are there any food(s) and beverages are available, or do you be required to bring your own both on the way and at the camp?