4 Days Sahara Desert Tours From Marrakech Itinerary

How to plan Morocco desert tours

The Sahara desert is an essential part of every trip to Morocco, since it is one of the main attractions that the vibrant country has to offer. However, first time travelers might get overwhelmed when trying to plan a Morocco desert tour. For this reason, we bring you this guide in hopes to simplify the task and make sure you have wonderful Morocco desert tour experience:

The planning

When planning a Morocco desert tour, there are many things that should be taken into consideration to make sure everything goes smoothly. You have to keep in mind that Morocco desert tours take place in… the desert obviously. This means that things like the weather, clothing, and special conditions should be kept in mind while planning. For example, only visit the Sahara desert during the spring (from March to May) or autumn (from September to November). This is because during these two seasons, temperatures are not too hot during the day and not too cold during the night.

Moreover, the desert is pretty isolated and far away from cities, so if you are someone who takes medication, make sure you’re packing enough for the duration of the Morocco desert tour. Don’t plan to spend 4 night in the desert if your medication only has enough for 2 nights left. You can stock up on medication and other related things in nearby cities like Erfoud or Errachidia. On that same note, make sure you’re packing flowy and light fabric clothes if you’re visiting in the spring and warm coats for autumn.

The destinations

For you Morocco desert tour, keep in mind that there are 2 main deserts in the country: the Erg Chebbi desert at Merzouga and the Erg Chigaga at Zagora. Both sets of sand dunes are southeast of Marrakesh, toward the Algerian border. The two deserts are similar in many aspects, but each one of them has its own characteristics.

Erg Chebbi:

Erg Chebbi is by far the more popular destination of the two. It is home to the largest dunes in Morocco, at an altitude of over 700 meters, which makes the experience unique. The Erg Chebbi dunes offer a mesmerizing landscape to their visitors, who can choose to cross them either by Camel, quad biked, or 4×4 vehicles. At Erg Chebbi, you can take breathtaking pictures of the desert with golden and orange hues.

Erg Chebbi

Erg Chigaga:

The Erg Chigaga dunes, located further south, reside off of a road less traveled. In fact, they’re located over 60 kilometers away from the nearest, lightly traveled road. Not to say that Erg Chigaga is harder to reach, it just may be a longer journey depending on where you’re coming from. The fascinating thing about this desert is that it remains largely untouched, wild, and unspoiled. They receive less visitors, which means that the Erg Chigaga dunes remained authentic over the years.

The itineraries

From Casablanca:

If you’re going to be arriving to Morocco through the Mohammed V Casablanca airport, there are many itinerary options for you to get a Morocco desert tour. The itinerary can differ depending on the stops you want to make along the way, specifically on imperial cities and other tourist attractions. We suggest this 5 days Morocco desert tour from Casablanca.

casablanca

From Marrakech:

Marrakech is one of your best itinerary options to get to the Sahara desert, especially if you’re planning to go to Erg Chigaga at Zagora. Once you land at the Marrakech Menara airport, you will have the option to either head directly to the desert or spend some time exploring other destinations first. We suggest this 4 days tour from Marrakech to Merzouga.

marrakech

From Fes:

Fes is another one of the top itinerary options if you want to experience a delightful Morocco desert tour. The itinerary from Fes will take you through the mesmerizing Middle Atlas Mountains where there is a lot to see as well. We suggest this 5 days Morocco desert tour from Fes to Marrakech.

fes

From Tangier:

Tangier is geographically the furthest option from the Sahara, but it makes for a wonderful itinerary option since it allows to explore so many interesting destinations along the way. From big imperial cities buzzing with life to small lazy fishing villages, a Morocco desert tour from Tangier will show you the true Morocco.  We suggest this 5 days desert tour from Tangier.

tangier

The activities

So far, we’ve talked a lot about the Sahara desert and how you can get here, but you might be asking yourself: What is there to do in the middle of nowhere when I actually get to the desert? Actually, there is a ton of fun activities you can try while on a Morocco desert tour, and here are a few of them:

Camel trekking:

This one doesn’t need much explaining. You’ve seen it in pictures, you’ve heard about it in reviews etc. When you’re on a Morocco desert tour, you can’t miss the chance to get on a camel trekking ride around the desert dunes.

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Sandboarding:

You’ve heard of snowboarding, skateboarding, but have you ever heard of sandboarding? If not, then brace yourself for a sandy ride. This fun sport is adapted for fans of skating no matter the surfaces.

Riding Quad bikes:

There are many ways you can travel around in the desert, but if camels are not your cup of tea and 4×4 closed vehicles are too stuffy for you, we suggest trying out riding a quad bike with your friends

marrakech quad and buggy ride

Sand bathing:

A Spa day in the middle of the desert? Why not! Sand bathing is an ancient therapeutic remedy that the locals swear by. It’s allegedly great for rheumatism and joints pains.

Accommodations

Nomad-style desert camps: Those are desert camps scattered across the desert dunes, where you will get to stay in authentic style tents. Usually made with goat or camel skin, these are the same type of tents that local nomads build for themselves.

Luxury desert camps: If you want to spend the night outdoors at a desert camp, but you’re still looking for a comfortable and luxurious experience, then luxury desert camps are the choice for you. These carry all utilities necessary to make sour experience as comfortable as possible.

Traditional Kasbahs: Kasbahs are a traditional type of Moroccan architecture commonly found in the south of Morocco, and desert towns are no exceptions. If you do not wish to spend the night outdoor camping, you can opt for a traditional Kasbah to still get an authentic experience.

berber camp
merzouga camp by night
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volubilis 1

Top 10 Morocco tourist attractions

When planning a trip anywhere in the world, it is important to learn everything you can about your destination so that everything can go smoothly once you actually get there, this involves getting familiar with the new country main tourist attractions so that you won’t miss any important road stops during your stay. This means a lot of researching and confusing information online

If your destination is Morocco, we’ve combined a list of the top 10 Morocco tourist attractions you should definitely include during your stay. Buckle up and get ready for a ride through some Morocco tourist attractions that will blow your mind. In no particular order, here are 10 of Morocco’s gems that are worth exploring:

Jamaa Elfna

This Morocco tourist attractions is perhaps the face of Morocco to the entire rest of the world. Jamaa Elfna is located in Marrakech city, a hotspot for tourist activity for its cultural significance and surrounding attractions. Jamaa Elfna is a busy town square that comes alive with food stalls, snake charmers, traditional musicians, story tellers, oriental dancers and more. If you want to get a glimpse of how colorful and vibrant Moroccan culture is, then don’t miss a visit to Jamaa Elfna.

Djamaa El Fna Square in Marrakesh 1

Ait Ben Haddou Kasbah

One of the biggest and most well preserved Kasbahs in Morocco would for sure be the famous Kasbah of Ait Ben Haddou. The Kasbah, or rather Ksar, of Ait Ben Haddou is absolutely worthy of a spot on the list of the top Morocco attractions: not only for its historical and cultural value, but also for the unique charms it casts upon all who visit it. Actually, not even the world’s top movie producers escaped from this magical charm, considering that they’ve been using the Kasbah as a backdrop for their productions for years (The mummy, Lawrence of Arabia, Kingdom of Heaven, and even Game of thrones).

ait benhaddou day trip

Chefchaouen

If you’ve been interested in visiting Morocco for any amount of time, chances are you’ve probably heard of Morocco’s Blue Town. The Morocco tourist attraction in question here is Chefchaouen, a lovely Berber town located at the heart of the lush green Rif Mountains. The reason why Chefchaouen is going to figure in every list of Morocco tourist attractions is because of the unique blue color that covers the town’s walls and buildings. There are many theories concerning the origin of the blue color, but no one can really say for sure. Either way, Chefchaouen won’t disappoint in terms of charm and aesthetic.

Chefchaouen

Merzouga

Merzouga is perhaps one of the most important Morocco tourist attractions that continues to attract masses of visitors every year. Located in the Southeast of the kingdom, the village is home to the impressive Erg Chebbi dunes that are its main attraction. The dunes reach an elevation of 730 meters, making them the tallest in Morocco and some of the tallest in the entire world. Many visitors are attracted to the dunes for the unique and serene atmosphere they provide.

sahara-desert

Fes Elbali

Many aspects of this Morocco tourist attraction are solid enough to make Fes Elbali one of the most interesting Old Medinas in all of Morocco. Actually, Fes Elbali is the largest car-free urban area in the world, which means you can freely stroll through its long and narrow streets away from vehicle disturbances. Considering that Fes Elbali is the oldest imperial city of Morocco, its Old Medina is consequently the oldest in Morocco and the one with most cultural and spiritual influence.

fes

Volubilis

Volubilis is an important archeological site situated on a hill not far from Meknes city. This Morocco tourist attraction is very important because historically, it was the farthest outpost west of the Roman Empire, and a vital component for trade in the area. Many remains of the fine buildings that used to populate Volubilis can still be found in the area, such as the Basilica, the Triumphal arch, and a temple dedicated to the Roman Deity Venus. Volubilis may not be your typical tourist hotspot with big restaurants and coffee shops around, but it’s definitely worth the visit if you’re into history, culture, and ancient civilizations of the world.

volubilis

Toubkal national park

The Toubkal national park is an important Morocco tourist attractions for all those that love hiking, climbing and trekking. Officially established in 1942, the park covers an area of 382 km2   comprising mainly of High Atlas Mountain peaks and a small forest area. The highlight of this park is that it is home to Morocco’s tallest summit, Mount Toubkal, at 3660 meters of altitude. The park’s landscape also offers cliffs, gorges, plateaus, and valleys for visitors to enjoy. Another interesting feature of the park is that it features some prehistoric drawings and carvings on rocks, dated to be around 5000 years old.

Toubkal Refuge

Essaouira

Essaouira is another one of Morocco’s seaside towns, charmed with Andalusian, European and Moroccan influences. This Morocco tourist attraction is famous for its city rampart and Skala corniche, left behind by the Portuguese occupation in the 15th century. What put Essaouira on the map however is that it was a hangout spot for many hippie artists back in the 60s and 70s, mainly Jimmie Hendrix. The town today attracts huge numbers of visitors every year for its breezy beach, and the World Gnaoua Music festival.

essaouira day trip

Todra gorges

The gorges of Todra are one of the top Morocco tourist attractions, attracting rock climbers and adventurous souls from all over the world. The site is located along the Dades Valley, which is known for its unique orange limestone rock formations. In the Todra site, a 300 meters deep fault splits the orange limestone into a deep ravine at some points just wide enough for a crystal-clear river and single-file trekkers to squeeze through.

todgha

Asilah

Asilah is a seaside town located on the northwest tip of Morocco’s Atlantic coast. Back during the 15th century, the town was under Portuguese rule, which left behind impressive ramparts and architectural influences that give the city a unique charm. One of the main reasons that Asilah is worth visiting is that it’s Morocco’s Artistic capital, which can be seen in the amazing artistic murals covering the entire town. There is actually a dedicated arts festival (called the cultural Moussem) held annually in Asilah, during the first two weeks of august.

assilah