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Safaris to Sahara Dunes in Morocco
The most user-friendly part of the Sahara is accessible from the northern edge of Morocco. You can trek with Berbers from the town of Zagoura, or camp out in Tazzarine, where runners from all over the world complete the weeklong Marathon des Sables every spring.
The foot of the Merzouga Dunes is the ultimate location for gazing at stars, totally free of light pollution.
For many visitors, a trip to Morocco would not be complete without visiting the rolling sands of the Sahara. With a number of desert towns and evocative camps, Morocco is a rewarding place to do so and we include an overnight stay at Erg Chebbi on all of our group tours along with a camel ride across the sand dunes
Spread out over 9 million square kilometers across North Africa, the great Sahara desert is the largest sand desert in the world with a remarkable variety of microclimates and communities of plant and animal species. From the Red Sea in the east to the Atlantic Ocean in the west, the Sahara morphs from vast stone plateaus to areas of undulating sand dunes, punctuated by deeply cut mountain ranges and small green oases.
Despite the harsh conditions, the Sahara is home to an estimated two million people formed of permanent communities that have set up close to water sources and the ethnic tribes that live a traditional nomadic existence following ancient trade routes. Most famous of these tribes are the Berbers, descendants of the pre-Arab inhabitants of North Africa, who even after some 4,000 years maintain their own language and culture across the Sahara and much of Morocco.
How to experience the Sahara dunes in morocco
Parts of the Sahara are currently off-limits to travelers, but such is its scale that significant areas can still be visited, most notably in Morocco, Tunisia, and Egypt. In these places, experiencing the Sahara is all about remote campfires, slow camel journeys, and more wide-ranging 4WD expeditions.
Where to stay at the Sahara dunes morocco
If your time in Morocco is limited yet you still wish to enjoy a desert camp experience sleeping out under the stars away from civilization, the Agafay Desert is a great option and just an hour’s drive from Marrakesh. Although bearing little resemblance to the rolling sand dunes of the Sahara, the hilly terrain of the Agafay is almost lunar in appearance with rocky ground, gently rising mountains and jagged crevices with panoramas stretching all the way to the snow-capped Atlas Mountain Here’s our selection of luxury camps in the Agafay Desert that are ideal for a night’s stay:
Terre des Etoiles Camp
Featuring 10 permanent and spacious tents with an indoor seating area, comfortable beds, and a private bathroom with running water, the Terre des Etoiles provides a Zen-like retreat away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Guests can enjoy delicious Moroccan cuisine in the large restaurant tent and drinks at the bar whilst the sun sets and gas lamps are lit to create a truly magical ambiance. Optional activities on offer at the camp include camel rides, mountain biking, and horse riding – or simply relax and reconnect with the great outdoors.
Scarabeo Stone Desert Camp
Each private sleeping area at the Scarabeo Stone Desert Camp consists of a nomad-style tent of thick white cotton with Moroccan textile rugs decorating the floor. Guests can recline in the lounge area of their tents or soak up the views from their private front ‘terrace’. The en suite shower tent provides black soap alongside one bucket of hot and cold water so that you may wash like the Berbers. All tents come with a Western-style toilet and heat is provided in the winter months.
The rustic yet stylish La Pause desert camp wonderfully combines Berber-inspired accommodation with the beautiful severity of the Agafay Desert. Simple canvas tents house low-lying mattresses and Moroccan furnishings whilst the permanent lodges feature mud walls and wide windows with just thick drapes separating you from nature. Luxuries in the lodges include hot running water, a log fireplace, and Egyptian linen. Hidden away in a small sunken garden guests will find a splendid swimming pool where they can escape the summer heat.
When to visit the Sahara dunes in Morocco
The best time to visit the Moroccan Sahara is between October and April when daytime temperatures are bearable; however, in December and January, night-time temperatures can plummet below freezing so you’ll need to travel with suitable clothing. To experience the ethereal beauty of the Sahara sand dunes without the crowds, visit during the quietest months of November, January, and February.
Temperatures are particularly fierce between June and August and therefore not ideal for the elderly or the very young. During the height of summer, Moroccans come to Erg Chebbi to be buried neck-deep in the hot sand for a few minutes at a time. It’s reputed that the power of the sands is a treatment for rheumatism.
THINGS TO DO
|Quad biking in Sahara dunes Morocco|
|Stargazing in the Sahara dunes Morocco|
|Sand Surfing in the Sahara dunes Morocco|
|camping and camp fire in the Sahara dunes Morocco|
|wildlife viewing in the Sahara dunes Morocco|
|Ride the Camel in the Sahara dunes Morocco|
|Watch the Sunset in the Sahara dunes Morocco|
WHERE TO STAY
|Ahlam – Relais & Chateau|
|Les Jardins de Skoura|
|Sahara Sky’ observatory hotel|
|Diamond Mequfi Beach Resort|
|Hotel Xaluca Dades|
WHEN TO GO
|Best time to visit Sahara dunes Morocco|
|7 Days Marrakesh & Sahara dunes safari|