Merzouga, Morocco: Plan a Desert Tour & Camel Trekking
Merzouga, the small desert town in Morocco, is a real travel highlight and belongs to the fixed program of almost every round trip. This is the right place if you want to do a desert tour with camel trekking in Morocco, possibly also with an overnight stay in the desert! Because in this part of the country is the Sahara with the most spectacular sand dunes. The dunes of Merzouga, the so-called Erg Chebbi dunes, can be up to 180 meters high here. The best way to experience this breathtakingly beautiful scenery is on the back of a camel. A fantastic experience, which you will not forget so quickly.
In this travel guide we give you all information about Merzouga in Morocco. In addition, we share with you our experiences, the best pictures and give useful tips on accommodation, desert tours with overnight stay, jeep safaris, best desert hotels and camel trekking in Merzouga.
General information about Merzouga
With 500 inhabitants, Merzouga is a tiny town in the southeast of Morocco, and people here live almost exclusively from tourism. The village is located directly on the edge of the desert, is quite spacious and consists entirely of the typical clay buildings of the country. Most of the houses were built from 1980 onwards to meet the tourist demand for hotels, restaurants and stores.
A visit to the desert of Merzouga is one of the absolute best things to do in Morocco. Here the huge up to 200 meters high dunes of Erg Chebbi await you – a fascinating landscape formed purely by the wind. Thanks to its ideal location on the edge of the sand dunes, Merzouga is thus the perfect starting point for camel rides, jeep tours or to go on other exciting excursions into the desert.
From Marrakech to Merzouga
Getting from Marrakech to Merzouga you drive about 560 kilometers, which is about 9-10 hours pure driving time. The roads are well developed and there are also enough gas stations on this route. This route can be covered excellently by rental car on your own.
The journey to Merzouga, in the desert of Morocco, is already a great experience. The drive leads over the imposing Atlas Mountains, further over the dreamlike road of the 1000 Kasbahs and past the lush oasis of Tinghir. The further south you go, the more barren and dry the landscape becomes and you realize that you are getting much closer to the Moroccan desert.
The journey continues to Erfoud, a small desert town that is considered the gateway to the Sahara. From there it is another 50 km to Merzouga. The last stop is the desert town of Rissani with its magnificently decorated city gate.
In this Merzouga itinerary we tell you about our experiences of camel trekking in Morocco. In addition, we share with you the collected impressions of an unforgettable desert tour with an overnight stay in a desert camp. Of course, we will also give you some tips about what kind of clothing is best and how much such a trip costs in Merzouga.
Desert Tour and Camel trekking in Merzouga
Arrived in Merzouga, we were warmly welcomed by the team of the desert camp. There was delicious mint tea to welcome us, and we felt arrived home right away. After a delicious lunch that was freshly prepared for us, we immediately got fit and motivated for the upcoming camel trekking. Since everything was very well organized, we were able to leave our pastries in the room, take a shower and then in the late afternoon we started the desert tour.
Leisurely we rocked on our desert boats into the Erg Chebbi and already after about 15 minutes we reached the first dunes. The dunes became higher and higher and the sand glowed reddish-yellow in the evening sun. Soon we found ourselves in a sea of huge sand dunes. The camel ride was truly breathtakingly beautiful.
After about 1 ½ hours we arrived and stopped in front of a huge dune about 200 meters high. We still had time to climb the dune before sunset.
Although the climb was not easy, but from the top we had a breathtaking 360 degree panoramic view over the beautiful Erg Chebbi desert. We had never experienced anything so unique!
We stayed a while at the degree of the dune to sit around, from there the incredibly beautiful sunset to witness. So deep in the Sahara it seemed as if we were there all alone. Around us it was so quiet, magical moments that should make our Morocco trip unforgettable.
After the sun had set, we descended to our desert camp where our guides, Youssef and Ismael were already waiting for us. We were surprised at the beautiful clean camp that had been designed with great attention to detail. The beds and the tents were brilliant, so much better than we would have expected in the middle of the Sahara. A little luxury in the middle of the deep desert of Morocco.
The dinner was also delicious! The tajine was the most delicious in all of Morocco. The evening was a real fun and until deep into the night we sang Moroccan and Austrian songs at the campfire. For a long time we stayed under the dreamlike starry sky and enjoyed the magical ambience.
The next morning we were woken up by a sandstorm. Yes, this can also happen in the desert, and so we rode back to Merzouga right after the obligatory mint tea. Once there, we were treated to an excellent breakfast.
Tip: Camel riding is a unique experience, but can get a little uncomfortable over time. Dress in comfortable clothes, no shorts or tight underwear. Take sunscreen with you and also athletic shoes for climbing the dunes. Don’t forget warm clothes either: You are in the desert, and the temperature varies extremely between day and night. Even if it is warm or hot during the day, temperatures in Merzouga can quickly drop to zero degrees at night. There has even been snow in the Sahara. “What to wear in Morocco“
Well strengthened, the next day we went on a jeep safari to explore the area. Especially interesting was the Khamlia Village, where we heard the spiritual Gnawa music for the first time. Later we went to the black volcanic desert where our guide Hassan showed us how to find fossils and beautiful minerals by ourselves. Another stop was at a Berber family and the mines of Mefis. Back to Merzouga we drove by jeep along the Algerian borders and had a fantastic view over the golden dunes of the Erg-Chebbi.
Hotels in Merzouga
Enchanted by these impressive experiences in the Sahara, we decided spontaneously to extend one night in the desert hotel Kasbah Azalay. The hotel is located directly on the edge of the desert and has a fantastic pool and rooms with a view of the Sahara. After a strenuous camel tour, the hotel was a wonderful place to relax and unwind.
Here you can find a selection of fantastic desert hotels and resorts in Merzouga.
Recommended Desert Camps in Merzouga
If you do a little research on the internet, you will come across a large number of tour providers. So it is not easy to find the perfect offer. In principle, we recommend simply looking at the reviews of the tours here. The itinerary of the desert tours (camel ride, dinner, desert overnight stay) are very similar, only the equipment of the desert camps differ.
Here are our pics for the 3 top recommendations for desert camps in Merzouga:
- Cheap and Good: The Berber Camp is a small but nice and cheap desert camp in Merzouga. A great opportunity to get to know the desert authentically.
- Great desert camp: The Erg Chebbi Camp is one of the best desert camps in Merzouga. It is really amazing what kind of comfort you can find in the desert! As a special experience you can spend the night here in a tent as well as under the open sky.
- Pure luxury: For a truly unforgettable stay the luxury camp Sahara Majestic Luxury Camp provides. Here you will literally be pampered to the hilt.
Guided tours from Marrakech to Merzouga
There are also great possibilities to visit Merzouga by a guided tour. Perfect if you prefer to travel with a group! Especially from Marrakech and also from Fes really great excursions to Merzouga are offered.
Most of these tours include meals, and there are additional sightseeing stops, for example at the mud city of Ait-Ben Haddou and the Todra Gorge. You can easily book these tours online in advance. Click here for the best tours:
What you can expect form a Sahara Tour in Merzouga:
- Extremely good value. The price for a night in a Berber tent including camel trekking, yummy dinner and delicious breakfast often costs as little as 40 Euro per person. Of course, also in Morocco, there are no limits to luxury.
- A camel ride deep into the Sahara is always offered. You have the opportunity to take fantastically beautiful pictures of the dunes of Merzouga.
- The desert camps are well equipped and comfortable, of course there are washrooms and toilets.
- Also, the Moroccan hospitality and the on-site support should be emphasized. At all time, we felt safe and secure in Merzouga.
Find the best Desert Camps & Hotels in Merzouga:
Read more about traveling in Morocco:
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