When you decided to travel to Morocco, one thing that you must do is to go to Sahara Desert and experience to live in a tent in the middle of Sahara, eat traditional Moroccan food and enjoy local music played by locals.
1. How to go to Sahara Desert
You can go to Sahara desert depending on how much time and budget you have.
- By your own. There is a local bus (ctm bus) goes from Marrakesh to Ourzazate / Zagora, or to Merzouga. if you have a limited budget yet plenty of time, We suggest you to go on your own with a bus. If you have some money and driving license, We believe, the most convenient way to travel there is to drive by yourself. You can spend a couple of days in Ourzazate to enjoy small yet beautiful city. Then you can continue your journey to Sahara desert which you can choose between Zagora or Merzouga. Zagora desert is closer than Merzouga, so it really depends on how much time you have. once you arrived in Zagora/Merzouga, there are many camel/camp providers which you can use. don’t forget to always bargain the price!
- Private tour. there are many tour providers which offer a private tour to Zagora/Merzouga. If you have some money yet limited time, We suggest you take this trip, especially when you really want to travel in a small group of your own.
- Group Tour. This type of tour was the most suitable for us since we had limited budget and time to spent. The typical group is between 6-12 people. the range of the price is between 50-70 for 2 Days 1 Night travel from Marrakesh to Zagora.
2. How to Book Sahara tour
- Website. We always make a booking in advance for everything since we travel in a limited time. there are a couple of tour operators website which you can choose and book Sahara desert tour online. Usually, if you book the tour online, you get a complimentary pick-up in the airport. However, based on our researchers in the internet, you need to be very careful in choosing tour operator. We saw bad reviews on some tours which you really want to avoid! We suggest you to do your own research before making any bookings. We booked our tour in Andotravel.com since we heard a very pleasant experience from a friend which tried their service. and their service are really awesome! read our review of Ando Travel here.
- On the Spot. SAHARA Tour departs EVERYDAY from Marrakesh! so, you don’t need to be afraid if you decided to travel to Sahara once you arrive in Marrakesh. You can always ask in your hostel/hotel if they can connect you with a tour operator. Usually, some hostels provide many kind of tours including Sahara tour. or, you can simply walk to the Medina and find the tour operator by yourself! don’t forget to compare the price.
3. Sahara Tour: 2D1N (Group Tour)
#Day 1 – Marrakesh to Ourzazate & Zagora
- The tour starts from your hostel on 7 am. The tour operator will pick you up at your hostel on 7 am. Make sure you have had your breakfast before you go.
- You will travel in a group using a minivan car. We travel in a group of 8 including 2 of us. So, we think it’s not really a big group, besides we had a very nice group along the journey
- you will pass a High Atlas Mountain and stops in some points to take pictures!
- you will have your lunch in Ourzazate, if you have time (it really depends on how many stops you make because you need to be on the Desert before dark), you can go inside Ourzazate. You need to pay lunch by yourself (lunch is not included in the tour)
- around 5pm you will arrive in Zagora and start your camel trekking to the camp
#Day 1 – Night in the Camp
- after you arrived in the camp, you will get a private tent for yourself/your own group. If you travel in a group of 3 people, then you’ll get a private tent for 3 people too!
- you will get traditional Moroccan dinner. First, you will get Moroccan mint tea as a warm greeting from the camp. Then, Harira soup (tomato soup) will be served as your appetizer. After that, the main course will be served. the main course for dinner is chicken tagine! and you will have fresh fruits for your dessert.
- After we had our dinner, we can sit in the circle with a bonfire. The camp crews will present some traditional music with the traditional instrument. It was such an amazing experience for us because we had a chance to sit and enjoy a beautiful starry night with Moroccan music in the middle of Sahara desert!
#Day 2 – Zagora & Ait Ben Haddou to Marrakesh
- in the morning, you have to wake up early! because you can’t miss the sunrise on the desert! the camp will serve you breakfast.
- you will ride the camel back to the car and continue your journey to Ait Ben Haddou
- we had lunch in a very nice restaurant with Ait Ben Haddou kasbah as our view! our driver gave us 2 hours if we wanted to go to Kasbah. but all of the people in our group do not really want to go, so we decided to go back to Marrakesh. So, it really depends on you, if you want to go to the Kasbah, you need to hire a guide to go there.
- The road from Marrakesh to Ourzazate has so many turns. We really suggest you to have your full breakfast before you go to avoid getting sick on the road. or, you can take your sleeping pills with you (but this is the worst case scenario because if you sleep, you will miss plenty of beautiful things!)
- Always go to the toilet whenever the van stops. this is to avoid making many stops to go to the toilet
- Bring your winter jacket and shoes please! we underestimated the weather in Morocco. We went there in winter, the weather was okay, it was sunny all the time yet in the desert, it was not okay anymore! it was so freezing at night, we thought the temperature was at 0 Celsius. It was colder than winter in the Netherlands. So please bring your proper jacket and shoes!
- Bring your snacks. during our trip, we can’t really make stops anywhere we want. we had small stops for about 10-15 minutes for 3 times and 1 long stop for lunch. In order to stay up and avoid getting hungry, just bring your personal snacks. we brought some bread and meat to eat in the car.
- Bring your water always. before you reach the desert, you will have 1 stop to buy water. because the camp does not provide you plenty of water to drink. It’s SAHARA.