Morocco: A Guide to Glamping in the Sahara Desert
If you asked me to give you some good reasons for visiting Morocco as soon as possible, spending time in the desert and experiencing Berber tradition would be on the top of my list. For us, that was the highlight of our trip. I still smile at the thought of all the memories we made there and would gladly return in a heartbeat. To make your experience just as amazing, I wrote down a guide to glamping in Erg Chebbi desert (also known as Merzouga desert).
We got there by car, but there are plenty of other options if you do not wish to do that. You could either hire a driver, take a bus (check Supratours for more information) or do a tour.
If you are driving from Fes to Marrakech or the other way around, I recommend you do not rush. Morocco is huge and while you may not realize that when looking at the map, it’s quite a drive. The roads are in great condition and we have always felt very safe, though. We split the route into more parts. On day 1 of our trip to the desert, we did a guided tour in Fez, stocked up on snacks and water, and then drove to Zaida (Midelt would be another great stop). On day 2 we ate a very filling breakfast, walk around the town of Zaida and then headed to Merzouga. We reached the village just before the sunset (around 4 pm). Two days later, after leaving the desert, the road led us to Dades Valley, where we were staying in one of the most beautiful riads. Our following night was spent in Aït Benhaddou (Ouarzazate is a good alternative) and the night after that in Marrakech. Both parts could be done is a day, but I do not recommend that. You would have to spend up to 10 hours of driving, no stops included. Splitting the trip into smaller parts will allow you to relax at the end of the day and get to know the Morrocan culture.
How long to stay
What tour to choose
Booking on the spot: There are so many camps in the desert you will have no trouble finding one. This will also be the cheapest option.
What was included in our 2-nights package
Upon arrival to Mohammed’s home, we were sat in a living room and welcomed with a cup of tea. Until the other couple – also being hosted by Mohammed – arrived, we were mostly being left alone, free to do anything, every now and then being approached by one of the Berbers.
What to pack
– sesh (turban cloth; you can get it in a city or in Merzouga),
– sandals and trainers,
– hoodie/other layers,
– any other clothes you may need,
– camera, tripod, extra batteries,
I spent 99 % of the time being barefoot but felt better having shoes on when riding a camel and when on the day trip.
Sunscreen and sunglasses were not needed in our case because it was cloudy and rainy. As you might have guessed, that is usually not the case. Our sesh was bought in Fes for 100 MAD (around €10), which was a really good deal.
sunset: arrival to the camp,
darkness: dinner + live music,
sunrise: going back to Merzouga and breakfast there
If you’re staying for longer than one night, here’s how the rest of your trip may look like (again, this may differ for your camp):
early morning: breakfast (ours was at Luxury Camp) and some free time
10 am: organized day trip
3 pm: lunch and free time
darkness: dinner + live music,
sunrise: going back to Merzouga and breakfast there.
During our free time, we practiced sandboarding (which is the coolest thing ever!). As for day trips, Mohammed revealed he has up to 5 different daytrips he can do. We went to the stone desert one hour away, just a few kilometers away from Algeria. It was so interesting to see how people live there.
One of my biggest concerns was how very uncomfortable the ride to the desert may be. I have read several articles about it and I was prepared for the worst.
I wish I had known the settings for shooting the night sky during our first night there. It was spectacular! Do not by any means forget your tripod and a good camera (my Nikon D3300 was already strong enough).
Have a great time!
Visiting the Merzouga desert is a must when in Morocco.
No time now? Pin for later.