The Sahara is arguably the worlds most famous desert and so we knew a trip to Morocco would be incomplete without visiting it. Riding Camels on glorious red sand dunes, watching incredible sunsets and sleeping under the stars was exactly what we dreamt of experiencing during out visit to the Sahara desert.
How To Visit The Sahara Desert
Being a ten-hour drive away from Marrakech we knew it wouldn’t be an easy place to visit independently so decided to do a tour for this once in a lifetime trip. We did our research and I Go Morocco seemed the best option. We were planning on visiting Fes during our time in Morocco, so the three-day Marrakech to Fes tour seemed our best option. It included airport pick up and drop-off to our hotel in Marrakech as well as transport, accommodation, most meals and tours over the course of the three-day Sahara tour. We would then be driven to Fes by a taxi at the end of the tour (which was an 8 hour drive away. The main van went back to Marrakech if that is preferable). For €135 per person I found this to be quite well priced.
The tour wasn’t perfect (we had to wait two hours at the airport for our hotel transfer and then got pulled over five minutes after leaving the airport as the driver didn’t have the right permit so we had to sit around for a further hour until another driver picked us up. They also claimed they never found the clothes we left on our shuttle bus when we hurriedly got transferred into a taxi after the overnight Sahara trip) but all in all we had a really great time and would recommend it for your own Sahara adventures. Just be conscious of the fact that it’s still Africa and things don’t always run as smooth as you’d hope.
The Three Day Sahara Desert Tour Itinerary
As the Sahara Desert was so far away the tour had many stops along the way to break up the days of driving. We visited a small Berber village and was shown how they make their rugs by hand and how they live their daily life. We visited the Todra Gorge and admired the Atlas Mountains for hours and hours. We also visited the relatively small but beautiful town of Ouarzazate (aka Kasbah Ben Haddou). The town is known for two things, as the gateway to the Sahara Desert and as a popular filming location. Over 100 films and TV shows have used this beautiful town as a film set including Gladiator, The Mummy and Game of Thrones.
Camping In The Sahara Desert
Finally, after what felt like days of driving we finally reached the Sahara desert, the red sand dunes getting larger and larger with each mile we drove. We were dropped off at a hotel where we were given refreshments (mint tea, of course) and where we could store our luggage for the night. We were then taken to the camels to start our camel ride into the desert for sunset. We spent around two hours winding through the magnificent red sand dunes, the colour of the sand dunes changing from yellow to bright red and everything in between. It was magical.
We then arrived at our Berber campsite where we were greeted with more tea and a delicious dinner (probably the tastiest Tagine in the whole trip). Once our bellies were full we sat around the warm fire and listened to the Berbers play traditional music. It was Andy’s birthday and they were so lovely in getting him up to play the drums with them (and even had a birthday cake for him and another guest).
The stars were incredible, with no light pollution to deter the view the sky was covered in millions of stars. Absolutely stunning. The bed was covered in sand but you can’t expect much else when in a desert can you? At 5am we woke up and hopped back on the camels (my butt was so sore and bruised by this point that this ride was more painful than enjoyable if I’m honest haha) for the sunrise trip back to the hotel and on to the drive to Fes.
We had an incredible time exploring Morocco’s Sahara Desert, Andy said it was his best birthday ever. The Sahara is a magical part of the world and I’m so glad we got to tick it off our bucket list.