I spent 5 days in the Sahara Desert of Morocco to hand-pick the ultimate experience for you…
During my Sahara desert trip quest, I traveled for 120 hours across two different regions of the Saharan Desert in North Africa…
And for approximately 119 of those hours, I had sand in my pockets. I also spent 18 hours mostly on bumpy, sandy, off-road tracks in a 4×4; enjoyed a hilarious four hours atop a camel, at least six hours indulging in home-cooked Berber food and around an hour crawling up the orange Moroccan sand dunes with a wine glass glued to my hand to perch myself at the top of the world for another spectacular sunset.
But before you think I was all about the fun, please note that I even arranged for a tiny sandstorm (which happens, maybe once a year) just to experience the extremes of this landscape for you.
During my desert travels, I met the locals, inspected the desert camps, analyzed every minute detail, all to bring you…
An Experience Most Can Only Dream Of.
As my quest began, I had so many questions whizzing through my head.
Will I get bored spending five days on a desert safari in Morocco?
Will I get bored spending one day on a desert safari in Morocco?
Will there be phone reception in case I am needed at work?
What if I get lonely (a gal on her own in one of the last remote places left on earth)?
Fortunately, I had much time to contemplate and find the answers to all my questions.
What is the driving on a Moroccan Sahara desert tour like?
This depends on which area you travel to. Some destinations are very remote and can only be reached after 2-3 hours of quite bumpy off-road driving (the Australian in me strangely loves off-road adventures!). En-route passing shepherds with flocks of goats, and countless camels resting under the shade of trees. The vegetation is quite fascinating, having found a way to dig deep roots far into the earth to access water amid a desert, however, once you get to the dunes themselves that vegetation morphs into the sand.
Some Moroccan Sahara desert camps can be reached after only a relatively easy hour on a dirt road (fair to middling on my official Bumpiness Scale). You are immediately rewarded by mountainous dunes for days in every direction. But, in this area, there are also other camps within ear’s distance, which isn’t very far at all considering how easily noise travels through the desert.
It depends on how remote you want to be. And we are here to provide expert advice tailored to you.
What can you expect from a Moroccan desert camp?
Surprisingly, the camps are quite comfortable. If you’ve been to Africa and stayed in some of our favorite camps here, well, we cannot compare. The desert is a little trickier to get to (no quick flights in and out of the desert to your destination, although if the cost is no issue you can helicopter in!), and therefore camps are definitely more ‘rustic’.
You’ll find a comfortable and secure en-suite tented room with proper wood flooring, and bonafide double beds with luxurious linen and blankets. Many camps along your Moroccan desert tour now have flushing toilets and a hand-held shower. Even in the more basic desert camps, you will have everything you need for a good night’s rest, and you will no doubt be up early for the sunrise!
Some tented rooms are furnished with beautiful old wooden chests, handwoven Moroccan rugs, crystal salt lamps by the bedside and a private wooden verandah. If you wish for more ‘bells and whistles’ we suggest a private camp. I did the groundwork here, meeting many camp managers and inspecting their lovely spaces. There are options to suit almost every taste, and we are here to help guide you to the perfect camp.
How long should I spend out on a Sahara desert tour?
One night is the perfect amount of time in the Sahara to get a taste of the local people, culture and landscapes. This will allow for sunset atop a camel, a night under the stars, and a beautiful sunrise atop a dune you climbed by foot.
For most travelers, one night is enough.
Two nights is recommended if you really want to immerse yourself, allowing time to take tea with a nomad family or hunt for fossils and visit mud-brick villages in the surrounding areas.
What are the camels like?
Ok, you are probably wondering what the people here are like. But I confess as an animal lover, I was more excited to meet the camels. And so… The camels are friendly, the camel owners have learned broken-English over the years, and it’s hilarious as you exchange sentences, each trying to learn from the other while taking photos at sunset of the most jaw-dropping view you’ve seen this year.
And the people?
Your camp staff speak fantastic English and provide excellent service; their job is to see you smile. The happiness and warmth of the Saharan people is something that remains with you for a long time.
After dinner on my very first night in the Sahara, I walked towards the campfire to join my new friends. The pathway was decorated by Moroccan rugs and candle-lit lanterns resembling the starry sky. As the sound of tribal music inched closer, my bumpy ride into camp was a distant memory… I realized I would not get bored or lonely here, and phone reception or sand in my pockets was no longer critical. All my little worries were gone.
Being in a place like this quickly leads to what many blogs and gurus describe as Mindfulness or Being In The Moment. And boy, was I here.
I sat by the fire on a mass of giant handwoven cushions, silently watching the local Touareg Berber men play drums while singing North African tribal songs and couldn’t help myself. The music was contagious, the other travelers were politely watching, but we all wanted to join in. And so half an hour later, I had the whole group clapping and singing, some even playing the drums. We had a great laugh and a lovely evening.
Over those days in the desert, countless moments were spent lying on a blanket watching the stars with our guides / new friends. Your ears start listening out for the beautiful silence that descends at night. The sunset leaves you speechless as what seems like 1,000 dunes undulate as far as the eye can see.
Best of all? You will find all these wonders again at sunrise.
Whether you choose a modest, rustic-style camp, or a luxurious private camp, you will take away a million photographs and can expect endless memories of an experience than is grounding, re-connecting and unforgettable.
If you are ready to experience an unforgettable adventure, in the Moroccan Sahara Desert or elsewhere, travel is our passion. Our first love.
This is what we do best.