Choose between the Merzouga or Zagora

Choose between the Merzouga or Zagora

Choose between the Merzouga or Zagora

Choose between the Merzouga or Zagora: If you want to feel the freedom of running or shouting a secret to the wind, nothing beats doing it in the middle of Morocco’s deserts. You choose to go to the Merzouga desert or Zagora. Maybe you’ll end up telling the camel you’re about to ride.

If you want to feel the freedom of running or shouting a secret to the wind, nothing beats doing it in the middle of the Moroccan desert. You choose to go to Merzouga or Zagora. Maybe you’ll end up telling it to the camel you’re about to ride.

Traveling through the deserts of Morocco is like visiting the locations of the film The Mummy. Although the events took place in Egypt, the film was shot in Morocco’s Sahara region, and it’s here that we cross two of its major deserts. At the end of the trip, you’ll decide which you prefer: Merzouga or Zagora.

I’ll tell you how to get there, what to do, what to see, when’s the best time to travel and where to sleep in Morocco. I’ll tell you where Game of Thrones and Gladiator were filmed. I’ll also give you some tips on how to ride a camel and wear a turban: feel like a Moroccan!

The most important thing is to have Internet data to stay connected and update your networks.

Moroccan deserts in the Sahara

The Sahara desert, located in Africa, is one of Morocco’s main attractions. But beware, it doesn’t belong to Morocco alone: its 9 million km² are shared with Egypt, Tunisia, Sudan, Libya, Mali, Niger, Mauritania and Algeria.

The Sahara desert is the largest in the world, making it the ideal tourist site for relaxation and a special connection, especially on the Moroccan side, with its two main areas or deserts: Merzouga and Zagora.

To get to the Moroccan deserts, you can start from Marrakech, which is the nearest city, or you can make your way from Fez.

Did you know that the Moroccan desert horned viper is the most dangerous of all, characterized by the presence of horns on its head and easily hidden in the sand thanks to its similar coloring?

Merzouga, the Moroccan desert

If you’re looking for majestic golden dunes, you’ve got to visit Erg Chebbi in the Merzouga desert, with its 150 m-high dunes that look like mountains. It’s the most impressive thing about Morocco’s Sahara Desert. For this reason, these scenarios are used for advertising photos, so it’s time to feel like a model in these magical sands. Are you ready for a photo book?

The journey to the Merzouga desert from Marrakech takes 9 hours and from Fez to the desert, 8 hours.

-The term “erg” is used to describe locations where the sand builds significant dunes.

Cries among the dunes – “The legend of Merzouga”.

Choose between the Merzouga or Zagora: The legend of Merzouga tells how the villagers were celebrating when a woman and her children asked for help. They ignored them, and the villagers perished. As a result, a great sandstorm covered the village. For this reason, it is said that at midday, you can hear screams between the dunes. Shall we?

What to see in Merzouga

What you can see in Merzouga are the esplanades of fine red sand for jumping, running or shouting.

The Milky Way while you’re lying on the sand is a sight you’ll always remember on your trip to the Moroccan desert.

Camel caravans march in rows until they enter camps in the middle of the desert.

Moroccan Arab decoration, either in the Berber camps or on the camels.

Watch the sun set as the locals prepare the campfire to await the night. Later, it’s time for dinner.

What to do in Merzouga

Get on a camel, the moment has come, the moment you’ve been waiting for. It’s time for a camel ride. Tip 1: bend your legs, Tip 2: get on and stretch the handle, Tip 3: talk to the camel…. There aren’t really any tips, just enjoy the heights and be free.

Wear a turban. It’s not just about going to Morocco, it’s about becoming a Moroccan, and to do that you need all your tools, starting with the turban. Ask a Moroccan to put it on you so you feel like a local. Ask him also to teach you how to make twists with the fabric.

You can explore the dunes by 4×4 or off-road motorcycle. But it’s best to do it on foot and feel the delights of the sand.

Dancing and listening to the music of the Gnawa people is a must. You can also sing along to the rhythm.

Sandboarding involves gliding over the dunes on a board. It’s an adrenalin-filled experience.

Zagora Desert, Morocco’s most stunning desert

If you go to Zagora, in the Moroccan desert, I guarantee you a place of rest, reflection and peace. You’ll come across the small dunes of Tinfou, which are more rocky and arid. What’s more, Moroccan food is one of its strong points, thanks to its affordable prices.

The excursion to the Zagora desert from Marrakech takes 6 hours by car, 1 hour by plane and 10 hours from Fez to the desert.

A curiosity in the Sahara desert is the Rose of Jericho. It forms a ball when it dries out. However, when its branches regain moisture, they hydrate and return to their original shape.

What to see in Zagora

Choose between the Merzouga or Zagora: Zagora is known for its palm groves, Kasbahs and dates.

The henna plants, where this natural reddish dye is produced, are used in a skin-coloring technique called Mehndi.

Enjoy the sunsets and take some spectacular photos during your trip to the Moroccan desert. Watching the sunrise is also incredible.

Their method of serving tea is considered to be part of the art. They place the teapot high up and then, with astonishing precision, drop it into fine glasses. Cheers to tea!

-Kasbahs: Fortified spaces that form part of Moroccan architecture.

What to do in Zagora

What you need to do in Zagora is to sleep in Jaimas or Haimas, to experience the Bedouin way of resting in these tents. There are cheap haimas from €15 up to those with a private bathroom and even air conditioning.

Get a henna tattoo, done on the hands and temporarily. Each design has a different meaning, being used to protect against witchcraft or the evil eye. If you’re planning to have children, don’t hesitate to get a tattoo, as tattoos also invoke fertility.

In the old Jewish quarter, you can visit the synagogue and see the Berber symbols made by craftsmen. They bring good luck.

Take a quad bike ride in the desert at sunset, or ride a camel like in Merzouga.

Nights of music, enjoy the best cultural exchanges with people from other countries, locals. Between drums and percussion, enjoy the best night of the camp. What’s more, you can dare to play one of their instruments.

-Bedouins: People who belonged to a nomadic Arab people.

Morocco’s Desert: African Hollywood

Whatever your choice when traveling through the deserts of Morocco, this stop is a must.

Like Russell Crowe in Gladiator, Emilia Clarke in Game of Thrones or Brendan Fraser in The Mummy, you can take a stroll through the Kasbah Ait Ben Haddou. In fact, this is where some of the scenes were shot. It’s an extremely well-preserved Moroccan stone and clay village, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Next, we’ll find another cinematic surprise, Welcome to African Hollywood or the Desert Gate in Ouarzazate, Named for the number of studios in the film industry, being Atlas Studios the most recognized. In addition, they organize annual events dedicated to the seventh art and own a museum.

Merzouga vs. Zagora

In conclusion, the Zagora desert will suit you if you’re traveling with very limited time and want to visit the town. However, if you have more than 2 days and want to take “the photo” among the dunes, then you should choose Merzouga.

Another difference is that Merzouga is more touristy due to its popularity, while Zagora is a much quieter destination.

Best of all, whichever destination you choose, a camel and “Tajin” (a typical Moroccan dish) will always accompany you.

Frequently asked questions

When is the best time to travel to the deserts of Morocco?

The best season is spring (March to May) and autumn (September to October). I don’t recommend traveling in summer or winter, because of the extreme heat and cold.

What currency should I bring to Morocco?

Choose between the Merzouga or Zagora: The official currency is the dirham, and it is not possible to change currency before traveling to Morocco. The dirham is not convertible abroad. For more details, consult the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.

How many days do I need to visit the deserts?

If you go to the Zagora desert, you can do the tour in 2 days minimum, and if you decide to visit the Merzouga desert, you’ll need 4 days. Both depart from Marrakech.

Where to sleep in the Moroccan desert?

There are a number of hotels to choose from, but I’d advise you to sleep under the stars in a Berber camp for a truly Moroccan experience.

In Zagora, you can stay at Sahara Sky, where the main attraction is stargazing.


Once you’ve made up your mind about the Moroccan desert you want to visit, don’t forget to pack sunglasses, sun cream and, of course, a scarf in your suitcase for Morocco.

Take the opportunity to visit the blue village of Chefchaouen in Morocco.

Take your cell phone with a full battery and two external batteries, as well as your Morocco eSIM card. Don’t pay roaming charges in Morocco!

To access the dunes, you’ll need a 4×4 off-road vehicle.

Choose between the Merzouga or Zagora

Don’t forget to stay hydrated – you’re in the middle of the Moroccan desert! It’s hot!

The best way to walk in the desert is to zigzag through the dunes, which saves energy.

If you want to travel Morocco on your own, we’ve got the best itineraries and travel tips for you.

There, in your hands lies the decision between the Merzouga desert or Zagora in Morocco. What I’m sure of is that you’ll see a spectacle of stars, experience the richest sense of freedom and touch the magic.

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