Sahara Desert Trips Things To Know Before You Buy

Morocco Desert Tours: Everything you must know about Sahara Desert Tour

A lot of travelers are considering a Sahara desert trip on their Morocco wishlist. But, in the blink of an eye, the questions begin to surface.

When you are planning the Morocco Sahara desert tour it isn’t easy. What do you know about where to start, when every tour promises to be one of the most enjoyable Morocco desert excursions?

If you’re at the beginning stages of planning your Morocco desert excursions and you’re wondering what the best way to organize your Morocco desert journey, you’ll be able to find the Sahara Desert vacation guide very useful. In this article I’m going to discuss the most important things you should be aware of Morocco desert travel, such as:

  • The best place to start your Sahara Desert Morocco tour;

  • Where in the Sahara to go;

  • What is the ideal time of the year to take part in any of Sahara tours?

  • How many days to spend on your Sahara excursion?

  • What should you expect from of Morocco costs for desert tours, and what can you expect to pay at different price points

  • What to bring to your Morocco desert vacation; and lastly

  • Some tips on Sahara tours and travelling with children.

I hope that after you’ve read this article that covers all you need to know about the Sahara Desert tours Morocco offers You’ll be in a better position to make reservations for one of the top Morocco desert excursions that’s the right fit for you.

Morocco Desert Tours: Where to Start and Where to go?

One of the first items you have to determine for your Sahara Desert travels is which area of the Sahara will you go to and when you’ll be starting your journey to Sahara.

There are two main deserts that tourists can visit in Morocco for its Sahara Desert holiday – either the Merzouga Desert or the Zagora Desert and usually tourists start their journey from Marrakech as well as Fez. We’ll go over both of these aspects further down.

Sahara Desert near Merzouga

Merzouga tours are among the most well-known Sahara tours that are offered, with Merzouga being situated near the well-known Erg Chebbi sand dunes. The dunes of Erg Chebbi are taller and more vibrant than the dunes found near Zagora and make them a more sought after destination.

Perhaps the most important benefit of Merzouga tours in the desert is the fact that the town lies in the middle of the breathtaking Erg Chebbi sand dunes. Moreover, the town is filled with modern hotels and is a short distance from the sand dunes on an easy 30 minute Morocco Camel Trekking. This makes an Merzouga desert safari relatively easy and comfortable, which is perfect for those on a tight schedule or those who do not want to venture away from the main route.

But, its proximity to the dunes could be a reason for its down fall. Because it is more well-known, it tends to be more expensive . It will be crowded with a lot of visitors.

Merzouga is located around 9 hours drive far from Marrakech and 7 hours drive from Fez. If you’re participating in one of the Marrakech desert tours, you’ll need to plan at least two days and two nights as you will be stopping overnight while traveling to the city.


Zagora is situated in the southern region of Morocco and is located near the Erg Chigaga sand dunes. These dunes lie approximately 60 km away from the nearest road and thus the journey to view them takes a great deal longer than going to the sand dunes of Merzouga.

To get to Zagora the first step is to get to the tiny town of M’hamid. From here , it’s a long trek through rugged desert terrain, before reaching Zagora’s Erg Chigaga sand dunes.

It’s also important to know you should know that Zagora desert is not the orange-colored desert you might imagine – this is an arid desert that has a more moon-like appearance. That’s why (as well as taking longer to get there) Zagora is known to be less popular than Merzouga and is a good choice ideal for budget travelers or those who prefer to go off the beaten path.

Zagora is located about 6 hours’ drive in Marrakech which is 9.5 hours driving distance away from Fez (without stop-overs).

Where to Commence?

The most popular place to start Sahara Desert trips is from Marrakech. It is mainly because Marrakech is the capital city of Morocco and the place where many tourists begin their journey. But, you can also go to Sahara Desert from Fes. Take note that, as Marrakech Desert trips are more sought-after, there are more options from here.

A well-known route is to do one of the Marrakech to Fes excursion in the Sahara desert. You can start your trip in Marrakech and then after having completed the Sahara desert safari head to Fez and vice versa.

How Many Days to Allow for a Morocco Sahara Tour?

Truck and campervans in the Dades Gorge in Morocco.

Due to the extensive amount of driving required to reach either Merzouga and Zagora in any case, and no matter if you visit either Marrakech or Fez, expect a very full day of driving between the two. This is why it’s impossible to take one of the Fez or Marrakech day trip to the desert.

At a bare minimum you can make overnight Sahara excursions at Marrakech or Fez however, for the Sahara Desert camp trip to be worth it, you require two to three nights. If you’re planning a two or three-night Sahara camping trip, the majority of the trip will being driving.

If you’re starting the Sahara Desert experience in Marrakech and only have the single night to stay in then your best option is to visit the closer Zagora Desert. If you’re able to spare two or three days, you can easily go to the stunning orange sand dunes that make up the Merzouga Desert.

If you do arrange a 2 or 3 night tour, double make sure that at least two nights of your stay are in actual desert. The most affordable tours will just spend single night spent in desert, whilst any additional nights will be in the hotel. For a period of 2 to 3 nights in the desert you will be permitted to travel through the area with a much more relaxed pace , and engage in a variety of activities like visiting tribal villages such as sandboarding, camel trekking and just sitting back and enjoying the breathtaking sand dunes.

Visiting the Agafay Desert

For those short on the time to travel, Marrakech day excursions to the Agafay Desert is a good alternative. Agafay Desert is an ideal destination for day trips. Agafay Desert is located 40km southwest of Marrakesh and has rough and dry moon-like landscape.

There aren’t any amazing dunes made of sand, like those you see at Merzouga or Zagora, on this Marrakech day trip to the desert you’ll still get the opportunity to go on camel rides over the desert. I need to stress it is the Agafay Desert is not the Sahara Desert.

The Agafay Desert is also a good option if you are traveling to Morocco during the summer time. A majority of Morocco desert camps shut down for a couple of months due to the extreme temperature and the risk of taking people to the desert during this time.

So if you’re planning a Sahara Morocco tour in summer you should consider visiting an Agafay desert camp outside of Marrakech instead . It will still be very hot, yet the camps will remain open.

Should I DIY or Book a Guided Sahara Trip?

It’s totally possible to make a DIY Sahara trip. You can rent a car and drive yourself towards the sand dunes or perhaps take a bus. When you arrive, you can plan everything on your own and do whatever you want on the Sahara.

However, when camping in the Sahara there are many advantages when you join one of the desert Morocco tours that they far surpass the benefits of taking it on your own. Here are the top reasons you should take advantage from the Morocco Sahara Desert tours:

  • The most enjoyable Morocco desert adventures are all inclusive , and include transport to either Marrakech or Fez accommodations, activities and generally most if not all meals;

  • There’s less chance of being lost.

  • In a desert Morocco tour your guide will have knowledge of all the best places to stop to take those stunning photos;

  • You will have less issues dealing with language barriers.

  • You can reasonably be assured of your security; and

  • Overall , you’re more likely of your trip going according in the right direction.

What is the best Sahara Desert Camp to Book What type of Sahara Desert Camp to Book? Budget, Mid-Range , or Luxury?

You now have an idea of the places you’d like your next destination to be for your desert safari in Morocco and how many days you have available and you’re ready to start thinking about whether you’d like to take a budget, mid-range or luxury tour.

But before booking any tour, inquire with the Morocco tour operator in the desert to answer the following inquiries:

  • What is included in the Sahara desert tour cost? What is not included?

  • Are you actually able to schedule tours in the time that you’ll be there ? And how the temperature is it? This is something you will want to know for summertime. Some operators do not provide services in the summer months. There is no air conditioning, and temperatures can easily get to 100-110F during the day and mid 70’s at night.

  • Where will you stop with the names that of any establishments or Riads?

  • If it is not on one or the Morocco private desert tours what other guests will be on the tour?

  • Are there any stops offering extra tours or tips are worth paying for?

  • What meals will you pay out of pocket ? What’s the average price?

  • If you’re not able to take a meal at one of the restaurants closed for meals What other alternatives do you have?

  • What do you think of the sleeping arrangements in your desert camp?

  • What is the full schedule of the tour? It includes stops, and times to get to and from the desert camp?

  • If you’re suffering from any health issues like a bad back (me!) Ask if they offer an back rest that can be fitted to the camel to give you additional assistance.


Just Google “budget Sahara Desert tours” and you will be inundated with terrible feedback from dissatisfied clients. While many seem to be assured of luxury and tranquil tents within stunning dunes, in reality it is an overwhelming number of tents, low-quality facilities and plenty of disappointment.

However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t budget-friendly tours there, I’m pretty sure there are. It’s just that quality budget tours don’t seem to be the standard. Unfortunately, this is my personal experience.

Here are a few things you can expect from budget-friendly tours:

  • Transportation;

  • Lodging;

  • Camel trek;

  • Often , poor-quality meals best – included in the desert, all other meals are at your own expense;

  • There’s a lot of people who are you meet during your tour.

  • There are no toilets. You’re expected to relieve yourself on the sand or perhaps inside a very basic toilet;

  • No showers;

  • Uncomfortable bedding or possibly sleeping on the sand

  • Language and communication problems.

For some that aren’t, this may not be a problem. There are those who prefer a more rustic experience. That’s awesome! But, if you’re searching for a desert getaway that isn’t expensive however, you’re hoping for something more it’s a long drive with an impossible exit when you arrive.


A mid-range camp may have certain amenities that are typical of an expensive camp, but could have fewer frills like the camp that is budget-friendly. It could also offer private transportation as opposed to. a shared ride. To determine whether something is middle-priced, compare the options provided to luxury and budget options.


The luxurious Sahara trips are so luxurious that the guests won’t be aware that they are camping!! In fact, the luxurious tour I went on was so incredible as to make the beds plus comfortable than own mattress at home!

Here are some things that you can expect on an expensive tour:

  • Tents for individual and camp sites that have running water

  • Private bathrooms;

  • Tents heated;

  • The beds are large and comfortable;

  • Private seating areas;

  • Delicious Moroccan meals

For more information on luxury tours You can find out more about my experience on this post.

Other Tips About Booking a Tour

The most important thing I can suggest to clients is to book their tour in advance before arriving in Morocco. Although it is possible to book at the time of arrival, if you book in advance , you’ll have time to do your research and make are booking with a established tour company and be aware of the exact details you’ll encounter during your trip.

There are many times that I’ve read about reviews that have stated that people were disappointed by their travel experience, and this could have easily been avoided if they’d done their own research.

Once you’re in Marrakech or Fez you’ll see a number of tour guides in the medina who are hustling people with Morocco Sahara trips. If you have not already made a reservation in advance, you might well end up booking an itinerary you’re aware of isn’t about or getting influenced to make a booking because it’s cheap.

A trip to the Sahara Desert trips Morocco offers offer a unique chance, therefore it’s important to not be disappointed. Be sure to trust me when I say to your Sahara excursion, you are getting what you pay for.

Morocco The Moroccan Sahara Desert Tour: What season to go?

Similar to any other destination There are times of the time are more favorable than others when it comes to Sahara desert excursions.

Most people think that the best time to celebrate vacations and holidays within the Sahara desert is between April-October, when the night and daytime temperatures are cooler.

If you decide to go to the area during winter (December through March) you might find temperatures at night that are below freezing, and during the summer season (June until September) the summer days can be extremely hot.

It’s also important to note that many desert tours shut during summer (specifically from August).

What should you bring for your Sahara desert adventures?

To properly pack with the proper items for packing for Morocco Sahara desert trip, you will need to know some facts about the type of campsite you’ll be staying in. Before you begin packing, learn the following about the camp you’ll be staying in:

  • What are the sleep arrangements? Will you have a mattress with covers, or do you have to carry your own? Are you sleeping in a bed or will you be sleeping on the ground? Is there heat in the tents?

  • What are the facilities for bathrooms This is essential for you to know the clothes that will make bathroom-ing easy and you don’t have to take toiletries.

  • Which food(s) and drinks are available, or do you have to bring them both en route and at the camp?

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