This post is all about things to do in Cartagena. Colorful colonial buildings line the streets as a whiff of empanada greets your nose and music echoes all around you. Welcome to Cartagena. Cartagena is undoubtedly the most beautiful city in Colombia. With its…
This Sahara Desert Tour was one of the coolest experiences ever! If you can only pick one thing to do during your time in Morocco, I would urge you to take this tour!
We spent hours researching the best Sahara desert tour to take on our trip to Morocco. There were so many factors to take into consideration when picking our tour company. My top priorities were safety, comfort, and value.
The tour we booked can be found here.
Our tour specifically was: Marrakech – Merzouga, 3 Days Shared Sahara Desert Tour with Marrakech Desert Trips.
My Sahara Desert Essentials
What type of traveler(s) is this suited for?
Anyone would love this tour; Couples, solo travelers, friends, etc.
A moderately active skill level is required as there’s some light hiking and camel riding involved. However, they do offer motor transport options for those not able to ride camels.
For the 3 days Shared Marrakech to Merzouga desert tour it is €89 which is approximately $97 USD. This includes nice accommodations, transportation, and most of your meals. It’s such a great value, and totally worth it.
Here is a day by day breakdown of this Sahara Desert Tour:
Day 1 – MARRAKECH – ATLAS MOUNTAINS – KASBAH AIT BEN HADOU – DADES VALLEY (6 hours driving + stops)
Start your day bright and early, departing from Marrakech.
Your tour guides will communicate the meeting point on WhatsApp beforehand.
Something you should know – you will be spending a whole lot of time with your driver. Our driver was AMAZING.
First stop, Atlas Mountains!
Stop #2 – Aït Benhaddou
Aït Benhaddou is your second stop on your 3 day Sahara tour.
This is a popular filming location as it’s been seen in Gladiator and Game of Thrones. You will have a tour guide and stop for lunch (which will be on your own dime). You will be expected to tip the tour guide as well.
I do remember this guide was not particularly very friendly here, however, the tour company has no control over the guides at tourist destinations like this. Enjoy your time and get some pics in the sandy city!
Stop #3 – Dades Valley
The Dades Valley is made up of rugged gorges carved out by the Dades River in Morocco. This will be your last stop of the day! The roads to get to your hotel are a bit crazy, so if you get car sick easily, bring some medicine to calm your stomach.
Day 2 – DADES VALLEY – TINGHIR – MERZOUGA – SAHARA DESERT (4 hours driving + stops)
You’ll likely wake up early and get to enjoy breakfast before departing. Shortly after you depart, your driver will stop to allow you some time to explore the stunning valley.
Next stop – Tinghir
This was one of my favorite stops on our tour.
You get a glance at what a traditional Berber home looks like, along with the skill and time it takes to craft traditional Berber carpets. While they give you an extensive guide to Berber carpentry, you’ll be treated to hot Moroccan tea.
At this point, you are SO close to the Sahara Desert, you can nearly see it. Riding along the highway straight into the sand dunes was one of the most jaw-dropping moments.
Once you arrive at the tour base, you will have the opportunity to quickly use the restrooms and pack a small overnight bag. There is no way that you will be able to pack all of your luggage onto your camel, nor will you want to.
They will securely lock up the rest of your luggage for you. They will do a quick Berber turban demonstration if you’d like to ride your camel like a true Berber! Also, it really does help keep the sand out of your eyes, along with some sunglasses.
What you need before getting on the camel: thick pants, a headscarf, sunglasses, sunscreen, a small overnight bag.
Finally, The Sahara Desert.
A massive check off the bucket list! Camping overnight in the Sahara was the most exciting and beautiful experience I’ve had thus far in my life. The endless golden dunes are pure serenity and bliss.
Traveling to camp, via Camel.
It’s not every day that you can say you rode a camel to your accommodation! Your trek to your overnight camp is LONG. Like, nearly two hours long. Our inner thighs were sore for days. This is why it is especially important that you wear very thick pants.
Don’t worry, there will be plenty of chances to get your photos!
Camping in the Sahara Desert.
After you’ve finally arrived at the camp, you’ll quickly get settled in your tent and prepare for a delicious dinner. All of the meals on this trip were really impressive, and this one did not disappoint! Most of the dishes we ate during our tour were mainly Vegetarian based.
Following dinner, you will be treated to a beautiful night under the stars. There will be music, dancing, stargazing, and our guides even took us on a sand dune hike! Sledding down the dunes at midnight is a moment I will cherish forever.
Take this time to really engage and get to know your tour guides. They are all young, most of them in their 20s, but are very intelligent and can teach you a lot about their culture if you listen. I enjoyed my conversations with them getting to know more about their real way of life away from all of the tourism.
Camping in the Sahara Desert consists of large private tents (for an upgrade) with beds & blankets and restrooms. It’s really more like Glamping! Be sure to bring layers of close to sleep in, nighttime is freezing
Day 3 – MERZOUGA – OUARZAZATE – ATLAS MOUNTAINS – MARRAKECH (9 hours + stops)
Prepare to wake up very early the next morning to begin your camel trek back to the tour base in Merzouga, where an elaborate breakfast awaits. There will be 1-2 more stops for photo ops on the way back, but not near as many as the day before, so be sure to take advantage of your final moments in the beautiful Sahara Desert.
Back on the road again!
The route from the Sahara back to Marrakech is pretty straight (figuratively). Meaning there won’t be as many tourist stops as you had on the way to the desert.
Ouarzazate will be your main stop on the way back to Marrakech, where you’ll enjoy a leisurely lunch & quick look at Atlas Studios.
Atlas Studios is the world’s largest film studio. Iconic film and television shows such as Indiana Jones, Game of Thrones, Aladdin (2019), Mummy, Gladiator, and more have used this lot to film on. Unfortunately, you don’t really get a tour of the grounds, it’s really just a quick stop to stretch your legs and walk around outside the gates.
Back on the road to Marrakesh.
You should arrive in Marrakesh/ Marrakech at around 7 pm (19h00). Your driver should drop you off at, or within walking distance to your accommodation.
This tour was so spectacular, and completely exceeded our expectations. For such a low price, you really get your money’s worth and an experience of a lifetime.
That concludes a full 3 Day Tour from Marrakech to the Sahara Desert!
*my fab travel bestie, Annika Berntsen, contributed some of these photos.