The face of Morocco is a shifting tableau. The landscape itself varies dramatically throughout the country. Broad peaceful beaches give way to lively gem-like cities perched around and among rolling green hills and rugged peaks which then descend into the heaving expanse of the Sahara Desert. Historically, such variation fostered strong tribal affiliations over national unity.
The Sahara Desert is the main reason why people travel to Morocco. In Merzouga, you can see the highest dunes and Morocco is a relatively safe destination to travel in comparison with the other countries where the desert occupies large parts of their territories.
The Sahara Desert is one of the highlights of Morocco and it was definitely the best thing I did is Merzouga and the enormous sand dunes of the Erg Chebbi. This will be many people’s only dealings with the Sahara Desert and it is a very pleasant one. Surprising to many people that the Sahara is only 20% sand and the rest is a mixture of rock, stones, etc so to be in Merzouga gazing at these huge dunes that cover approx 10km x 25km (6 x 16miles) is rarer than you might think. If you travel between Fes and Merzouga you will pass through the Ziz Gorge which is well worth a look with its high wall that was cut out by the Ziz River near the town of Errachidia.
How to Travel around the Sahara desert Morocco?
When in Merzouga you have several options of how you are going to see the dunes. You can take a camel or a 4WD and you can do day trips or stay the night or several nights. If you are there I am telling you, not advising you, to spend at least one night in the desert. It is an incredible experience. The sunset, the millions, billions of stars followed by moonrise are brilliant and you feel almost at peace with yourself. Of course, there best thing is that there is no light pollution to get in your way or buildings to ruin your photos. The next morning you get up to see the sunset the desert on fire as the scarab beetles go about their business.
I took a camel for my trip as although 4WD can get you further I felt I should go for the authentic trip. Anybody who has been on a camel will tell you it is not the most comfortable and guys I think to suffer a little more than women but it’s not Egypt you are going to so you will get over it! All trips include lunch and I stopped with my Bedouin guide and camel in an abandoned village just the other side of the 300mtr high dunes from the village of Merzouga. It’s only at this point that you see an endless expanse of stone and gravel and realize that the huge dunes don’t go on forever. Having said that the stones are much easier to walk on!
3-day Marrakech desert tour is one of the best seller Morocco desert tours from Marrakech to Erg-Chebbi Sand dunes Via the High Atlas Mountains which includes the first night in Dades valley and the second night at Merzouga desert camp.
Need to Know about the Sahara Desert Morocco !!
A very important thing to note when going to Merzouga and getting a tour of the dunes is the heat. Really try to avoid the summer months as the temperatures can be over 45deg Celsius (115F) and there is no shade. The spring or autumn is definitely the best and even winter can be cool but still fine. The cost of a camel ride and over night in the desert is approximately US$45 .