Merzouga, Morocco: Plan a Desert Tour & Camel Trekking
A visit to Merzouga in Morocco and a desert tour is definitely the best things you can do while you are traveling in this country. Also for us, the camel trekking and night in the desert in Merzouga was one of the most memorable experiences of our 3 weeks trip through this country. Camel trekking on the vast dunes, watching the most incredible Sahara sunset, singing songs next to the berber camp, camping underneath the bright shining stars and spending the night in the desert camp. Countless unforgettable memories that shouldn`t be missed. Merzouga und the Erg Chebbi dunes are definitely a must see if you visit Morrocco and desert tours can be easily be organized.
In this travel blog guide about Merzouga you will learn more about what you can expect from a desert tour and where you can do the best camel trekking and Sahara excursions. Also we will show you more about activities in Merzouga, jeep safari and the best desert hotels.
From Marrakech to Merzouga
Coming from Marrakech, we drove down the High Atlas road to Ait-Ben Haddou – Quarzazate. After we passed lots of beautiful scenery’s, we stopped at the Rose Valley for one night. Afterwards we went to the Dades Valley and also the Todra Gorge near Tinghir. After Tinghir all the area turns into desert: Barren landscapes as far as the eye can see.
Distance: Plan 560 km drive from Marrakech to Merzouga and a minimum of 9 hours drive. Make sure you take the road via Erfoud, the Gate of the Sahara. The roads are well developed and also there are plenty of petrol stations on this route. Of course, there are also amazing guided tours starting from Marrakech. Here some of the recommended desert-tours.
Just about 20 km after Erfroud you will reach Rissani. The bab of Rissani (main gate) is an expample of many spectacular Moroccan structures.
Merzouga is a city located at the beginning of the Sahara, from there you will already see the big sand dunes of Erg Chebbi.
Dersert Tour & Camel Trekking
We arrived around 3 pm in the afternoon at the house the desert camp. The crew from the berber camp welcomed us warmly. With lots of jokes and laughter, we had some nice mint tea and an excellent lunch was served. Although we had a long drive, immediately we felt fresh and full of energy again. We got a big cozy room for taking a shower and leaving our luggage
Then we started with our 1 ½ hour camel tour deep inside of the Moroccan Sahara, it was just the 4 of us riding the camels so it was a really private and relaxed trip.
Merzouga is famous for the Erg Chebbi desert and its huge sand dunes. Just after 15 minutes we passed the first dunes. After a while, the dunes became higher and higher and the late-afternoon sun colored the sand a in a deep orange. Being surrounded by this never ending desert was an amazing experience.
After a while we stopped the camels in front of a really huge dune (appr.200 meter) and continued to climb up this sandy mountain! It was absolutely worth it though, the view was just breathtaking – sand dunes without an end. The Sahara Desert Morocco in all her glory.
We sat down for a while to watch an incredible beautiful sunset. It was magical! One of the best ones we’ve ever experienced and the atmosphere was so quiet and full of harmony.
Note: Riding a camel was a great fun, but also not the most comfortable one. So you better wear good clothes (long trousers, turban, and comfortable underwear). Read more about in “What to wear in Morocco“
Later, we went back down to our desert camp, where Youssef and his brother Ismael already prepared a delicious Berber dinner for us. The camp was really clean, with lovely details, a comfortable bed and so much better than our expectation about sleeping inside the Sahara was.
That night we had so much fun, joking and laughing a lot – Youssef Is a natural born entertainer. We drank tons of mint tea and we ate the best and biggest tajine that we tasted traveling 3 weeks in Morocco. Until late in the night we sat down next to the open fire, singing Austrian and Moroccan songs. Our guides Youssef and Ismael played drums music and we watched the stars which we had never been seen so close to before. A “once in a lifetime experience”.
The next morning we woke up with a sand storm. So we packed our stuff and went back to the house where we had a delicious breakfast.
After we got picked up by a 4×4 wheeler and startet the jeep safari. First, we went to the village Khamlia where we enjoying the spiritual Gnawa music. Later we visited the black volcanic rocks desert, our guide Hassan taught us how to find beautiful minerals and fossils. With the 4×4 we passed some tiny Berber villages and also the mines of Mefis. All the time we had a panoramic view of golden dunes near the Algerian border – that was fantastic!
Where to stay in Merzouga
If you like to stay a bit longer in Merzouga, you will find a great choice of accommodation and desert hotels. To extend our stay in Merzouga, we stayed another night inside a beautiful Kasbah Azalay hotel, a desert hotel with views to the dunes and refreshing swimming pool – which was amazing too. It was the ideal place to recover our camel butt and to get prepared for the next day’s long drive to Fez. Click here for a choice of fantastic Desert Hotels.
Best Merzouga Desert Tours
Search in the Internet, you will find many tour operators. So, it is not easy to find the perfect desert-camp. In principle, we recommend check the reviews of the tours here. The program of the desert tours (camel ride, dinner, spending a night in the desert) are very similar, only the equipment of the desert camps is different.
Here are our top 3 recommendations for desert camps in Merzouga:
- Cheap and Good: The Berber Camp is a small but nice and cheap desert camp in Merzouga. A fantastic opportunity to get to know the desert authentically.
- Just perfect: The Erg Chebbi Camp is one of the best desert camps in Merzouga. It’s amazing what kind of comfort you can find in the desert! As a special experience you can spend the night in the tent as well as in the open air.
- Pure luxury: The luxury camp Sahara Majestic Luxury Camp ensures a truly unforgettable stay. Here you will find pure luxury in the middle of the desert.
Guided tours from Marrakech to Merzouga
If you are not traveling by your own with rental car, you do not have to miss a desert adventure! From Marrakech and from Fes really amazing trips to Merzouga are offered. Usually these tours include food and there are additional sightseeing stops, for example at the mud town of Ait-Ben Haddou and the Todra Gorge. You can easily book these tours online in advance. Here are 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.
Visiting the Sahara Desert in Morocco was a great choice and for sure an absolute travel highlightof our 2 Weeks in Morocco itinerary.
Find the best Desert Camps & Hotels in Merzouga:
Read more about traveling in Morocco:
Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links. Meaning that if you click on certain links, and then subsequently purchase a product, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.