It goes without saying that no trip to Morocco is ever complete without exploring the Sahara desert that the country is most known for. It is perhaps the most important thing for you to be looking forward to on your trip here. And if you are currently planning your trip to Morocco, you probably already know that spending at least three days in the Sahara Desert is most likely the best option for you to explore this magnificent place. That’s because you really can’t squeeze the real full desert experience into any time period that is less than three days. Now that we got that out of the way, if you want to know what it’s like to spend 3 days in the Sahara Desert Morocco, then you’ve totally came to the right place and all you have to do is keep reading!
Arriving at Merzouga
Our exploration of the Morocco Sahara desert started the moment we arrived at the town of Merzouga (on our 3rd day in an 8 day tour starting from Marrakech and ending in Fez). Now Merzouga in itself is just a small town in the southeast of Morocco, but its huge value lies in the fact that it is the gateway to the Morocco desert, more specifically to Erg Chebbi. The first thing we did once we got there was to check in at our hotel in order to put down our luggage and rest a little bit from the long drive here. Then we got some free time to relax and chat with the super friendly locals, before the start of our camel-trekking ride.
The camel trekking ride began later on during the afternoon, and this made for the perfect timing to catch the sunset over the dunes. Now I cannot even begin to explain how magical this experience was; watching the sky fade into a scarlet red color as the sun was setting down behind the majestic sand dunes of Erg Chebbi. This experience honestly lives up, maybe even exceeds, all the expectations we’ve had before. Me, riding a camel in the middle of the Sahara desert in Morocco? I had to pinch myself to make sure this wasn’t all just a dream. I really appreciated the fact that we stoped multiple times during the ride so that we could take photographs of these breathtaking views.
The camels, who were actually very accustomed to the roads of the desert, took us to the camp where we would be spending our first night. This was a Luxury camp located in the heart of the Sahara desert of Morocco, surrounded from each side by the fascinating apricot-colored sand dunes. Now when I say luxury, I really mean it! This camp was equipped with everything that made our stay there as comfortable as it could get. Electrical outlets, private showers, running hot and cold water, fine meals… the camp had it all. Spending the night here away from all the noise and activity of the city, was a real breather. This camp really made us feel like we were royalty straight out of an Arabian nights’ story.
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This next morning, we were woken up quite early in order to catch a view of the stunning sunrise over the Sahara desert dunes. The sight was so captivating that I didn’t want to blink so that I wouldn’t miss any second of it. Then after we had a delicious traditional breakfast at the camp, our tour guides offered a wide array of desert activities to choose from. We could choose to spend our morning either snowboarding from the top of the highest dunes, going for a crazy drive through the desert in a four-wheel drive vehicle, or sandbathing (this activity has a lot of medical benefits). Each one of these activities in the Sahara Desert of Morocco was a lot of fun; however, those who weren’t interested in them could simply stay at the camp and relax in the sun.
The next part of our Sahara desert exploration included a visit to some desert towns nearby. First of all, we visited the town of Rissani and discovered its massive flea market, which held an important economic value back in the day as an essential trade center linking between the sub-Saharan regions and the rest of Morocco. We also stopped for lunch at a traditional restaurant in Rissani, where we tried the area’s mouthwatering delicacy: the Berber Pizza. After that, we headed straight to the next Sahara desert village, the village of Khamlia. The village itself is very simple and traditional, but the most special thing about is its deeply rooted connection to the indigenous Gnaoua music, which we got the chance to watch performed live right in front of us.
As the evening started to settle, we had the memorable experience of camel trekking once again, and this time in the direction of the camp where we would stay that night. We rode camels into the sunset through the Sahara Desert dunes, finally reaching the traditional nomad style camp tucked away deep into the desert. This camp experience is unique because it allowed us to truly become one with nature, in a way that no luxury camp can offer. The tents were set up in a modest way resembling those of the Berber nomads to whom this is the lifestyle. Nothing would ever match the great feeling that accompanies gazing at the clear star-lit desert sky. And to top it all off, we had a tasty dinner while listening to the trance-inducing drum music.
More desert activities
For our last day in the Sahara desert of Morocco, we woke up to another magnificent desert sunrise, before starting the eventful day waiting ahead of us. We were again able to choose from many activities that were available, such as taking a guided walk across the dunes, or meditation in this peaceful and relaxing environment. After that our guides took us for a drive towards the seasonal Srji salt lake. The location was very interesting, for it showed a contrast between the dry desert dunes and the fresh water of the lake. It’s also very special for being a resting point for a lot of bird species during their migrations. We were actually very lucky because we got to see some pink flamingos resting by the lake.
sunrise in merzouga
Visiting nomad families
The next part of this day was probably the most humbling experience out of our entire Morocco trip: meeting the local Berber nomads. These people are indigenous inhabitants of Morocco, who have kept their minimalistic and nomadic lifestyle unchanged throughout the years. They live out in the wilderness, with no fixed home except for their humble tents and the vast plentiful lands surrounding them. Our guides were able to arrange for us an invitation to one of the families’ residences, where they gladly welcomed us and showed us nothing but the utmost hospitality. It was truly an eye-opening opportunity which made us aware and grateful for our blessings.
As a point marking the end of our trip to the Sahara desert of Morocco, we drove back to Merzouga to spend the night at a hotel in the village. This was a much needed thing after these last three days of constant action and exploration, we were ready for the last night to be in the comfort of our hotel beds. However, despite being in the town and inside a modern hotel, it still felt like a dream to know that we were in the mieddle of the Sahara desert dunes from all sides. That is a memory that will be forever engraved in both our minds and our hearts no matter where we go from here.
Hotel In merzouga