How to Visit the Sahara Desert in Morocco
One of the most awe-inspiring natural wonders in the world is the Merzouga, making it a must-see when planning a visit to the Sahara Desert in Morocco. Encompassing a vast expanse across North Africa, it spans approximately 3.6 million square miles. Morocco, known for harboring a significant portion of the Sahara Desert, has become a favored destination for travelers seeking to immerse themselves in this expansive, arid landscape.
Selecting a starting point is the initial step in embarking on an adventure in Morocco’s Sahara Desert. Given that Marrakech is a bustling city replete with a diverse range of accommodation options and transportation choices, many tourists opt to commence their journey from there. The journey to the heart of the desert typically takes several hours from Marrakech.
Once in the desert, there are various ways to explore the surroundings. A popular choice is embarking on a guided camel trek, offering a unique perspective as you traverse the sand dunes and absorb the magnificence of the desert. Other favored activities include stargazing, sandboarding, and visiting nearby Berber towns to delve into the area’s rich history and culture.
It’s imperative to bear in mind that the Sahara can present challenging conditions with limited resources and intense heat. It is crucial to pack appropriately, including an ample supply of hydration, sunscreen, and protective clothing. Additionally, it is advisable to enlist the services of a reputable tour operator who can cater to essentials such as accommodation and meals.
Exploring Morocco’s Sahara Desert is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, affording a unique perspective on the natural splendor of our world. With proper preparation and a spirit of exploration, anyone can marvel at the grandeur of this breathtaking landscape.
How to visit the Sahara Desert in Morocco from Fes
Fes, one of Morocco’s most culturally significant cities, serves as an excellent starting point for exploring the Sahara Desert. The journey from Fes to the desert, winding through the Atlas Mountains, Berber settlements, and picturesque valleys, is an adventure in itself.
The initial stop on this journey is Ifrane, often dubbed the “Switzerland of Morocco.” This charming village is renowned for its immaculate streets, European-style architecture, and invigorating climate, making it a favored destination for both locals and travelers.
Continuing southward, you’ll arrive at the Ziz Valley, a breathtaking oasis stretching over 100 kilometers along the Ziz River. It offers a splendid opportunity to pause, absorb the natural beauty, and explore the quaint towns and palm groves that dot the valley.
Next on the itinerary is Erfoud, a town steeped in history and distinguished by its magnificent architecture. Visitors can explore the Royal Palace, once the residence of the Alaouite Dynasty, as well as the 17th-century fortified granary known as the Ksar of Tissergate.
From Erfoud, easy access to the Merzouga Desert, home to the towering 150-meter-high Erg Chebbi sand dunes, awaits. Here, you can engage in activities such as camel trekking, sandboarding, and marveling at the night sky, gaining a true appreciation for the allure of the Sahara Desert.
A noteworthy attraction in the vicinity is the small community of Khamlia, renowned for its Gnawa music—a traditional genre with roots in sub-Saharan Africa. A visit to the local musicians offers an enriched understanding of the history and culture of the Gnawa people, as you soak in their mesmerizing rhythms.
How to visit the Sahara Desert in Morocco from Casablanca
Starting on a guided tour of Morocco to the Sahara Desert may not immediately lead you to consider Casablanca, the country’s economic hub. However, it serves as an excellent starting point for an unforgettable journey through some of the nation’s most stunning and captivating destinations.
The first leg of this adventure brings you to Rabat, the imperial capital, which is approximately an hour’s drive from Casablanca. Here, you can explore the historic Kasbah of the Udayas, a 12th-century marvel offering breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean. Additionally, don’t miss the opportunity to visit the Hassan Tower, an unfinished minaret, and the Mausoleum of Mohammed V, the revered king of Morocco’s monarchy.
Continuing southward from Rabat, you’ll reach the ancient city of Meknes, a former capital of Morocco. The Bab Mansour gate, an exquisite example of Islamic architecture, stands as a prominent attraction. Another site worth exploring is the Heri es-Souani, an expansive granary once used to store grain for the royal horses.
From Meknes, a short journey takes you to the nearby Volubilis Roman ruins, designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This archaeological treasure trove boasts some of the best-preserved Roman ruins in North Africa, including remarkable mosaics, a basilica, and a triumphal arch.
The final destination of this extraordinary journey is the Sahara Desert, where you’ll be captivated by the majestic sand dunes and embraced by the warm hospitality of the indigenous Berber people. Immerse yourself in local cuisine, serenaded by regional music, embark on a camel trek into the desert, and spend a night in a traditional nomadic tent for an authentic desert experience.
How to visit the Sahara Desert in Morocco from Marrakech
One of Morocco’s most renowned tourist destinations, Marrakech, serves as an excellent starting point for a journey to the Sahara Desert. The route from Marrakech to the desert winds through some of the nation’s most captivating and culturally significant regions.
The first notable stop on this journey is the High Atlas Mountains. Here, you can marvel at the awe-inspiring vistas of snow-capped peaks and explore authentic Berber settlements. Immerse yourself in the lively markets and quaint shops lining the winding streets, engage in conversations over mint tea with the locals, and gain a firsthand experience of local life.
Continuing southward, you’ll arrive at Ouarzazate, often referred to as the “Hollywood of Africa” due to its rich history of hosting film shoots. Visitors have the opportunity to tour the remarkable Ait Benhaddou Kasbah, a 17th-century UNESCO World Heritage site. Additionally, explore the Atlas Film Studios, which have been featured in numerous renowned films and television productions.
The next stop on this route is the Todra Gorge, a striking natural marvel known for its shimmering river and towering canyon walls. Here, you can embark on treks or rock-climbing adventures, relish the breathtaking scenery, and visit one of the many Berber communities that dot the area.
The journey culminates in the Sahara Desert, where you’ll be embraced by the warmth of the locals and the enchantment of the dunes. Watch the sun dip below the horizon, start on a camel trek through the desert, and spend a night in a traditional nomadic tent for an authentic desert experience.
Tour to Morocco is a reputable travel agency specializing in a diverse array of tours and activities throughout Morocco, including unforgettable journeys to the Sahara Desert. Our dedicated team of seasoned travel experts is on hand to assist you in meticulously planning your trip and ensuring you have all the essential information and assistance you need.