The Safari is an experience that you have to try when visiting Morocco. Now that you have gotten past your first thoughts, let’s move to the next dilemmas. Merzouga or Zagora desert? Two, three or more days? Transportation by camel or jeep? Should I start from Fez or Marrakech? What should I be careful about? Which is the ideal season and what clothes should I bring with me?… Don’t rush through it, we are only just beginning, and below you will learn everything you need to know in order to have a unique experience in the Desert of Morocco..
Zagora or Merzouga Desert?
The first thing that you have to think through is which desert to visit, the Merzouga or the Zagora. The choice is very easy, as the red desert of Merzouga can offer you better pictures and a more well-rounded experience! It may be farther compared to Zagora (around 2 hours), yet this does not make for a hurdle if you want to have a blast.
The gate to the desert of Merzouga The best season
Now you are wondering which season is the best to visit it. This is also an easy answer, since it is the same as the tourist season in Morocco, namely from mid-September to mid-November (high season). During this period, temperatures are optimal, which makes for a most pleasant trip in the desert!
The companies and the choice..
Dozens of packages and companies, but which one can you trust? Following our tour, we have received many questions, such as…Which company is trustworthy, will I lose my money if I prepay, how many days prior should I book, and more. First of all, you should know that prices are a bit high, because transport fees are high (due to the distance from Marrakech and Fez) and benefits are many (hotels, food, tour guide/driver and activities)!
We made the tour with Morocco-Excursion. Reliability, organization and communication with Hassan were among the best we came across. At their website you will find packages for daily trips to magical waterfalls, to several-day tours around Morocco! The best tour
Now let’s see which the best tour package is for a safari in the Merzouga desert. First of all, the best city to start your trip is Fez, since the distance is shorter and the road is (somewhat) better. We started out from Marrakech, as it was the city where we were staying those days. We opted for the 3-day tour in Merzouga, as the 2-day tour is literally killer! Three-day tour in the Merzouga desert
1) The first day includes a stop at Atlas, so you can see how the famous Argan oil is produced, a stop at the Ait ben haddou Hollywood castle (UNESCO), a visit at castles and Hollywood studios (Ouarzazate) and climbing up to the famous petals of the Dades Valley, for an overnight stay! 2) The second day includes the Desert…but first, you will visit the mountain that resembles monkey fingers, you will visit one of the most beautiful gorges in the world, the Todgha, and pass through the Berber villages! At the end of the journey, camels will be waiting to transport you (1+ hour) to the camp, obviously while making stops to gaze at the sunset and take the most incredible photographs! 3) The tour wraps up with a morning walk in the hills, so you can wonder at the sunrise, return with the camels and an 8/9-hour drive to Marrakech or a 5/6-hour drive to Fez! Top benefits :
a) Closed group of 5-6 people, b) pick-up/return to the hotel, c) luggage transfer to the camp (very important), d) sandboarding (!), e) Berber songs and quality food around the fire, f) comfortable transportation via van, g) guided tour throughout the entirety of the trip, breakfast and dinner.
Difficulties/problems Not everything is all fun and games, as you may have guessed, as the tour includes a few difficulties! a) The journey to the desert (it is indeed a journey) lasts 9-10 hours!! b) The road that passes through mount Atlas will wear you out, since it is full of turns and very narrow (when the roadwork is completed it will be much better). c) The sun during the summer months will add extra burden on your trip. d) There is always a chance of rain, which can spoil your wonderful moment!
What to wear in the Desert
Clothing is something that you should be very mindful of, as the weather in the desert of Morocco is somewhat erratic! But let’s take it from the start..
In the summer, the heat in the desert can become unbearable during the day, so make sure you wear a hat and light clothes. At night, though, the temperature drops, so you are going to need a jacket!
Women: a) Sandals, summer dress, headscarf and hat, b) Baggy/harem pants, light shirt, headscarf and hat. For the evening a jacket is necessary!
Men: α) a) Khaki/beige shorts, a light-colored shirt and headscarf, b) Khaki/beige linen pants, light-colored shirt and headscarf. For the evening a jacket is necessary!❄️ Winter
Winter season (and especially autumn) in the desert is the sweetest period as temperatures range between 15 and 27 ºC. But in the evening, temperature drops very low (4-8°C) and a warm jacket will be necessary (very important)!
Women: Espadrilles, flowy dress (with tights if it is cold), headscarf and a jean jacket or some other (light) jacket. For the evening a warm jacket and jeans are necessary!
Men: Jeans or beige/khaki/grey pants, jean or cotton shirt, a light jacket and headscarf. For the evening a warm jacket is necessary!
What you should bring with you in Morocco’s desert
- Definitely water! The time it takes to reach the camp is long and with such high temperatures, it will be hard to cope.
- Face sunscreen! The sun burns and your face will be all red in a matter of minutes..
- The extraordinary GoPro Hero 7 Black to record your experiences minute-by-minute, under the most difficult of circumstances.
- A Powerbank… The most valuable tool so that you never run out of battery power. Why: When a device is exposed to strong sunlight, its battery power runs out in half the time.
- Sunglasses. The accessory is not only necessary for amazing photographs, but mainly because the sunlight bounces off the sand and blinds you! They also protect the eyes from sandstorms.
- A jacket (light or warm, depending on the season) for the evening.
- The classic headscarf. No, the headscarf is not solely needed to take awesome, insta-perfect photographs! It is truly necessary in the desert, as the thin sand makes your life really hard.
- During the autumn and winter months, rain falls 5-6 times a month!
- Carry some motion sickness medicine, as the route through the narrow mountain roads can cause nausea.
- At the Αit ben haddou castle (UNESCO), famous movies like “Lawrence of Arabia”, “Indiana Jones”, “The Gladiator” and “Asterix” were filmed, while it also hosted filmings for the “Game of Thrones” series!
- You will have 3G or 4G signal through the entire trip, even when you are on Mount Atlas, at an altitude of 2,260 meters.
- Have a light breakfast before the trip, so you don’t get nauseous from all the turns.
- The museums and castles included in the tour have a ticket, while their themes are of no particular interest! If you are not a fan, you don’t need to go.
- The best spot to photograph the petals at the Dades Gorge is inside the Restaurant Riad Bleu Afriqua.
- In order to ensure a spot, you must have made reservations at least one week prior to the tour.