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Desert Trip in Morocco

By : Fernanda lustosa | Sep 24, 2020

There are experiences and experiences in life, but certainly some are truly remarkable, exotic and unforgettable. And a trip to the desert is definitely one of them. Morocco is known for some of the best desert experiences travelers can enjoy, and in this post we will tell you what you need to know in order to make the right decisions for you and what you should wait from a desert trip in Morocco. 

Some basic information:

Time to visit

Before even start planning your desert trip in Morocco, you should consider what time of the year is the best for you. Surely tours run throughout the year but if the heat is a problem for you or you simple would like to have a more pleasant stay, then it is better to plan your visit between end March and mid-May, which is spring time, or somewhere between end of September and end of November, which is fall. You can wait temperatures to be around 25 to 30 degrees Celsius.

Where in the desert

Next, you shall think where you would like to go. The desert is very vast and there are two main options: Zagora or Merzouga tours. If you are in Marrakesh, the fast tours will take you to Zagora, which is around 6h driving. However, it is not necessarily the real desert experience you would like to get as Zagora is a dry stoned desert. Merzouga, on the other hand, is around 10h driving from Marrakesh but offers the beautiful Erg Chigaga golden dunes. The first one is cheaper and the second one is more expensive, however it is still affordable and not expensive as we think when considering other touristic places around the world. 

How to go

You can either hire a desert tour agent from Fez or Marrakesh or venture out independently by renting a car. If you are not sure about what to choose, consider how much time do you have and what suits your needs. Travelling independently has the pro of choosing your own itinerary but you still should follow the same routes most of tours take. Have in mind that sometimes renting a car in Morocco can be challenging, even though possible. 

Mergouza does not have an airport so if you want to fly you should go to Quarzazate and from there rent a car or take the bus. Or, from Marrakesh or Fez take the CTM line that stops in Quarzazate. Even for those who like to have total control over their trip, we highly recommend booking a tour for some reasons. First, this is such a specific experience in a foreign country and consider there are challenges in doing it solo (renting car, constant negotiations, not knowing the region). 

Choosing a reliable tour company will ensure your experience will be hassle-free, and having someone else to plan and think about the details allow you to focus your attention on enjoying the trip only. Small details such as worrying about where to stop for going to the loo or more important things as the hotel are not part of your concerns anymore. There are many types of tours, short and long, and in small groups, which would allow you to appreciate the desert experience the fullest without the feeling of being in a hurry. Another point is that most of organized tours already include everything, from transportation, accommodation How to go

You can either hire a desert tour agent from Fez or Marrakesh or venture out independently by renting a car. If you are not sure about what to choose, consider how much time do you have and what suits your needs. Travelling independently has the pro of choosing your own itinerary but you still should follow the same routes most of tours take. Have in mind that sometimes renting a car in Morocco can be challenging, even though possible. 

Mergouza does not have an airport so if you want to fly you should go to Quarzazate and from there rent a car or take the bus. Or, from Marrakesh or Fez take the CTM line that stops in Quarzazate. Even for those who like to have total control over their trip, we highly recommend booking a tour for some reasons. First, this is such a specific experience in a foreign country and consider there are challenges in doing it solo (renting car, constant negotiations, not knowing the region). 

Choosing a reliable tour company will ensure your experience will be hassle-free, and having someone else to plan and think about the details allow you to focus your attention on enjoying the trip only. Small details such as worrying about where to stop for going to the loo or more important things as the hotel are not part of your concerns anymore. There are many types of tours, short and long, and in small groups, which would allow you to appreciate the desert experience the fullest without the feeling of being in a hurry. Another point is that most of organized tours already include everything, from transportation, accommodation 

What company tour to choose?

You will find many tour agents specializing in desert trips in Morocco, most offering similar packages. What should you then take into consideration to differentiate them and choose the best one for you? Usually these are small group tours so you don’t have to worry about crowds. The difference will be the type of accommodation (if simple or more luxurious) and what are your breakfast and dinner options, and sometimes camel ride.

What to see? 

Again, this falls into how many days you will spend on your desert trip in Morocco, but some highlights to check on the list are the Ait Benhaddou fortified city, which was used as filming location to some productions, such as Game of Thrones, the Mummy and Gladiator. It is quite nice to see the centuries-old Kasbahs. In Quarzazate visitors enjoy a brief walk in the old town, which also served as background for shooting movies. The Draa Valley is a main attraction in itself and offers unique landscapes. Another main attraction is Todra Gorge, some of the most fantastic canyons in the world. Visitors are picked up by their guide and head out into the gorge by foot. There you will enjoy a peaceful and beautiful landscape accompanied by the river. Some itineraries might also include the Valley of the Roses. 

What to wear/ pack to a desert trip in Morocco

You are going to the desert, so of course, always wear comfortable clothes, this means loose and stretchy ones. Depending on the time of the year for our visit, it can get pretty cold in the evenings so take some warm coat or hoodie with you. When it comes to your feet, consider tennis or even hiking boots. Scarves, hats, and sunglasses are the main accessories to protect your face from sand and wind. Next, remember to take some personal toiletries; if you are staying at a luxurious camp most probably you won’t use them but if you are at a simple stay you might need to bring your own.  Needless to say that sunscreen is a must and that small travel medical kit can be useful, especially if you suffer from sickness on the road or feel sore after long walks or camel riding. It is also nice to have your own reusable water bottle to refill it on the way and to avoid plastic waste.