Marrakech desert Tour

Marrakech desert Tour

Marrakech desert Tour

Marrakech Desert Tour: During a stay in Marrakech, spending a night in the Sahara desert is an experience not to be missed. Sleeping under the stars and enjoying a magnificent sunrise over the dunes is guaranteed to be a magical moment that will leave you with lifelong memories. In this guide, I invite you to discover the different options available for spending the night in the Marrakech desert.

Where to sleep in the desert in Marrakech?

The desert you can discover simply by leaving the city of Marrakech is none other than the Sahara Desert, the world’s most extensive arid zone, which stretches not only across Morocco but also Algeria, Tunisia, Sudan, Egypt, Chad, Libya, Mali, Niger and Mauritania.

Several areas of the Sahara lie within Morocco’s territory, the two most important being the Zagora Desert and the Merzouga Desert. The Zagora Desert is around 360 km from the city of Marrakech, making it the ideal place for a 2-day, 1-night excursion. The Merzouga desert is a slightly less arid area, where the scenery is even more impressive. However, this desert is just over 500 km from Marrakech and a 10-hour drive away. You’ll need to devote several days and a larger budget to visit it during your stay in Marrakech.

But for shorter excursions, the best alternative is to discover the Agafay desert, just 30 km south of the city.

A large number of agencies and tour operators offer desert excursions from Marrakech, with a wide range of activities and prices, so it’s not always easy to make the right choice.

Many other tours also offer departures from Ouarzazate. To help you decide, here’s a selection of the most interesting excursions, which you can book online even before your Morocco tours.

Spend the night in Marrakech’s Agafay Desert camp.

If you’re looking for an incredible, affordable experience just a stone’s throw from Marrakech, a trip to the Agafay desert is probably just what you’re looking for. Stretching south of Marrakech, this is not a sandy desert, but a rocky one, a haven of peace with majestic landscapes and a surprising diversity of flora and fauna.

The advantage of the Agafay desert is that it’s the easiest to get to from Marrakech, taking just 40 minutes by car. And while it’s true that the scenery isn’t quite as impressive as that of Zagora or Merzouga, this vast, arid, rocky plateau still holds many surprises in store for you, and spending a night here is sure to be a memorable experience.

All-inclusive packages

There are many ways to get to the Agafay Desert, but the most practical is to opt for an all-inclusive package: travel, meals, and accommodation.

From Marrakech, for example, you can spend 1 day and 1 night in the Agafay desert. From your hotel or riad in Marrakech, you’ll be picked up in the early afternoon and taken to the desert camp for a snack of tea and Moroccan pastries, in beautiful surroundings. You can then take a camel, quad or buggy ride through the desert, before returning to camp to watch the sunset and enjoy the day. You’ll then spend the night around the campfire in the warm company of nomads, and spend the night in a Bedouin tent. The next morning, after enjoying a sunrise over the desert and an authentic Moroccan breakfast, you’ll set off again for Marrakech. Tour price? 130 € per person

My favorite places to sleep in the Agafay desert

Marrakech desert Tour: If you prefer to choose your own accommodation, you also have several options of camps and lodgings where you can spend the night in Marrakech’s Agafay desert.

The Selina Agafay Nomad Camp is a 3-star hotel with a restaurant, garden, terrace and beautiful family rooms. There are several sleeping options to suit your budget: you can book a bed in a large dormitory tent for €20, reserve a small tent from €75 for two, or even a glamping loft tent for €250.

If you’re looking for an exclusive stay in the desert, I recommend the Inara Camp in the Agafay desert! This superb camp is much appreciated by travelers for its quality service and beautiful rooms. For one night, expect to pay around €240 for two people, including breakfast.

Dinner packages

If spending the night in the Agafay desert doesn’t tempt you all that much, there are other activities available that involve nothing more than a sunset dinner in the Sahara. Here’s a small selection of these Agafay desert dinners:

The second sunset dinner will be held in the Agafay Desert Camp, a very charming and romantic place especially at dusk when the lanterns light up. Expect to pay €68 for a traditional dinner in the Sahara desert.

Dinner with a camel or quad ride in the desert closest to Marrakech will cost €85 per person.

Where to spend the night in the Marrakech desert? Zagora in the Sahara!

The real name of the Zagora desert is the Erg Chigaga desert. Zagora is the nearest town to this desert, some 360 km and just under 6 hours’ drive from Marrakech, but the desert dunes are still over 50 km away and not accessible by any tarmac road. Still, this destination is much quicker to reach than Merzouga, and it’s an environment very close to the typical image of an African desert, unlike the Agafay Desert.

An excursion to the Zagora desert is, therefore, the best option for discovering the Sahara desert and its vast dunes without having to travel too far from Marrakech, and without having to devote three days or more to it. As well as spending a night in a camp, you’ll be able to enjoy a wide range of activities.

All-inclusive packages in the Zagora desert

Here’s a selection of the best all-inclusive tours of the Zagora desert:

A 2-day, 1-night tour of the Zagora desert. Departing from Marrakech, you’ll cross the High Atlas Mountains to Ouarzazate, at the gateway to the desert, for a lunch break. You’ll then continue through the Drâa Valley and discover the Agdz oasis before reaching Zagora. Camel rides through the dunes, sunset in the desert, dinner under the stars around a campfire… you’ll live like a Berber on this safari. After spending the night in a tent, you’ll enjoy breakfast and return to the road by camel. On the way back to Marrakech, you’ll stop to visit the fortified village of Aït Ben Haddou, a UNESCO World Heritage Site where scenes from Game of Thrones were filmed. Cost? €85 per person.

You can spend 2 days in the Zagora desert via Kasbah Ben Haddou at a more reasonable price. This tour includes more or less the same places of interest as the previous one, and costs just €69 per person.

2 days in Zagora at the same price as the first excursion: €85 per person. The only difference between these 2 excursions is the operator offering them. This one is offered by Marrakesh Travel Services.

Where to sleep in Morocco’s Zagora desert?

If you don’t want to take part in one of the tours offered by the various Moroccan agencies, here are a few addresses that should give you a dream night’s sleep in the Zagora desert

Majorelle Desert Camp, as its name suggests, is a camp right in the middle of the Zagora desert. You’ll sleep in a luxurious tent with a comfortable bed. For just €43, you’ll enjoy a traditional night’s sleep, with a local breakfast included.

If sleeping in a tent isn’t to your taste, here’s an accommodation that might suit you better: Riad Dar Sofian. It’s not right in the desert, but only a few kilometers away. At this 4-star hotel, you can organize your excursions into the Zagora desert directly from reception, so it’s a perfect alternative for enjoying the desert just as much. A night at the hotel costs around €81, including breakfast.

Why spend a night in the Merzouga desert?

The Merzouga desert is undoubtedly the best possible destination for people who want to enjoy an emotionally-charged experience and discover some of Morocco’s most spectacular scenery. To the south of the desert are the Erg Chebbi dunes, which in places reach heights of over 150 meters. The real name of this part of the Sahara desert is the Erg Chebbi desert, and Merzouga is the name of the nearest town to it.

The Merzouga desert is the most majestic site, but also the furthest from Marrakech. The distance is over 500 km, and even without a stopover, the journey takes around ten hours. That’s why excursions to this region usually last at least 3 days. These excursions include several stops along the way to make other tourist discoveries that will enable you to learn a lot about Moroccan culture.

Marrakech desert Tour

Marrakech desert Tour: During the 3-day tour I’m proposing, you’ll cross the High Atlas Mountains, and in particular the Tizi Ntichka pass, giving you the opportunity to discover Kasbahs such as Aït Ben Haddou and Taourirte near Ouarzazate. In the afternoon, you’ll visit the Valley of the Roses before settling back in Tinghir. On the second day, you’ll take the Road of the 1,001 Kasbahs to the Toudra Gorge, before continuing across the desert to your campsite – the perfect opportunity to camp in and around Marrakech. The last day is dedicated to the return journey through the High Atlas Mountains. For this escapade, you’ll pay €110 per person.

All-inclusive package for an overnight stay in the Merzouga desert

Marrakech desert Tour: There are other possibilities for excursions in the Merzouga desert, which I’d like to introduce to you without further ado:

Departing from Fez this time, you’ll also have the opportunity to spend 1 night in the Merzouga desert, but less than 3 days. We’re back to the 2-day format, which will cost you €160 per person.

A 3-day tour from Marrakech to the Merzouga desert and Fez, another major Moroccan city. This tour is the ideal opportunity to visit Marrakech, the Sahara Desert and Fez. It will enable you to optimize your trip to Morocco for just €200 per person.

My accommodation tips for spending the night in the Merzouga desert

Once again, you may want to be in complete control of your program during your trip to Morocco, so here are some fantastic places to spend the night in the Merzouga desert

The Desert Berber Fire Camp is my first suggestion. This is a 3-star camp in the middle of the desert. Breakfast is included and a shuttle will pick you up at the airport. If you don’t know anything about the Sahara desert, that’s no problem, as the camp reception will suggest excursions and explain which places are worth a visit. The cost of a dream night is just €28.

Best Luxury Camp is, as its name suggests, once again a camp. But this one is very special, as it has 5 stars. This camp also offers a shuttle and excursion service, as well as breakfast. As for the tents, they are fitted with carpeting, and the sleeping arrangements are very comfortable. Expect to pay €95 per night.

Preparing for your Moroccan desert excursion

Marrakech desert Tour: To ensure that your night in the Marrakesh desert goes as smoothly as possible, here are a few tips and practical information:

Autumn and spring are the two best seasons to visit Marrakech. Winter is also a relatively good time of year to travel, but you should expect to endure the cold at night in the desert, so bring warm clothes, especially if you’re sleeping in a tent. During the summer months, the hot, dry climate is often hard enough to bear in the city, and the atmosphere is even more suffocating in the desert. For all the details, check out my guide to when to go to Marrakech.

If you’re spending the day in the desert, make sure you wear light, loose-fitting, body-covering clothes to protect you from the sun. Lighter-colored clothing is preferable, as it retains less of the sun’s heat.

Don’t forget to bring a hat, bob or cap – it’s very important to cover your head to avoid sunstroke. A scarf will also come in handy to protect you from sand and dust.

Wear comfortable shoes for long walks, if possible high-top shoes, so that the sand doesn’t get in too easily.

Marrakech desert Tour

Take along a backpack that’s not too bulky or heavy. Pack only the essentials, such as a water bottle and a snack, toiletries, sun cream, a flashlight and a small first-aid kit.

Nights can be chilly at any time of year, so pack a sweater and thick socks.

Put your smartphone, camera and other electronic devices in a pouch or case to protect them from the sand, which gets in everywhere and can cause a lot of damage.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this article, and that it’s answered any questions you may have about spending the night in Marrakech’s desert. If you’ve decided that this adventure isn’t for you, don’t worry, I’ve also got a dedicated guide to where to sleep in Marrakech itself.

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