As many of you know from my incessant flooding of social media with pictures from Morocco, I went on a camel trek in April in the Sahara desert. It was a 2-night, 3-day trip that left from Marrakech and ended in the Merzouga desert, near the border of Morocco and Algeria. I went with the travel company Marrakech Desert Trips which we booked in advance to save money. I would highly recommend booking in advance and not dealing with the tourist shops in the city that try to rip you off if you are booking last minute.
In this post, I want to share more photos and a complete breakdown of the itinerary for the 3-days of the tour. I highly recommend this trip, as it is the perfect amount of time to see a lot of Morocco, enjoy the desert, but also get back to the fun stuff in Marrakech without getting sick of being with a big group.
DAY 1: MARRAKECH – BOUMALNE DADES
– Cross the High Atlas Mountains. Bring medication if you get carsick easily. Lots of beautiful views of lush valleys.
– Visit Kasbah Ait Ben Hadou
This was a super cool stop. It is a typical merchant village in the middle of nowhere on the way to the desert. This is where a LOT of notable movies have been produced or had scenes filmed – including The Mummy, Gladiator, Alexander, Kingdom of Heaven, Babel, Prince of Persia, and Son of God.
– Drive across Skoura Oasis
Another interesting stop in the midst of the mountains, a traditional Berber village. This is an opportunity to shop and buy directly from families who make rugs that are sold in the major cities of Morocco. You’ll get a much better deal here and it is a far more pleasant experience.
– Visit the Valley of the Roses
– Drive past the road of 1001 Kasbahs
A short stop to get water and take some photos. Beautiful little village in the valley of the High Atlas.
– Dinner & overnight in Dades Valley Hotel Chems
It was a decent hotel although the beds were not the most comfortable and the bathroom was very simple. There is a pool though and it overlooks a really pretty valley.
DAY 2: BOUMALNE DADES – MERZOUGA
– Breakfast at hotel
– Visit Tinghir town
Another short stop for pictures.
– Walk in Todgha Oasis to the canyons
– Visit Erfoud and Rissani
More little villages right before you reach the foot of the Sahara. Your guides will tell you this is the last chance to buy water – so stock up!
– Arrive in Merzouga and meet your camel caravan
– Enjoy a spectacular 60 minutes camel ride over Erg Chebbi dunes to watch the sunset*
This is the part that came at a surprise for us, as things were not EXACTLY as published. The deal was 1/2 of the group would go by camel TO the desert camp, and 1/2 would go by 4×4, and then swap over for the rides back in the morning. At first, it was a bit annoying, it worked out perfectly. I enjoyed the 4×4 ride a lot more, even though it was a bit intense and terrifying. See my video for an explanation.
– Dinner and overnight at your Bedouin desert camp
We hiked up the sand dunes for an incredible view of SAND. It was like something right out of a movie. Hiking in the sand is also super difficult!
DAY 3: MERZOUGA – MARRAKECH
– Early wake up to watch the sunrise
– One hour camel trek to Merzouga hotel for shower* and breakfast. The shower is an upgrade charge – I think it was 100% worth it!
– Drive back to Marrakech – THIS IS A LONG DAY OF DRIVING. Bring reading materials, download podcasts, or take drugs to sleep.
– Stop in Ouarzazate for lunch
– Arrive in Marrakech at about 19h00
The desert tour experience is A LOT of driving, but it is through beautiful scenery and in a comfortable, mostly air-conditioned van. You take sufficient breaks to get water and go to the bathroom as well. Our group was really awesome, which made the experience far more enjoyable.
We paid €89 euros for the tour which included dinners, breakfast and accommodation. Lunches were about €8-10 which included A LOT of food. Water was cheap to purchase along the way.
I highly recommend a desert excursion if you’re spending a good chunk of time in Marrakech, and the company we went with was fine, I’d recommend them to anyone looking for an inexpensive experience 🙂