Thinking about an enthralling trip to the Sahara, but wondering what to expect on Morocco desert tours? We have the essential information you need.
It’s not often you pack up for your holidays and head off into the desert for an incredible adventure unlike any other. After all, many people find it hard to resist the easy lure of the usual tourist hotspots to spend their holidays. But there comes a time when some of us want more than just lazing by the pool or beach and soaking up the sun until we’re scarlet and need a cool-down.
Here at Desert Majesty, we find that many of our clients are seeking something entirely different and it’s why Morocco desert tours have become such a hit in recent times. They offer you a chance to experience life out in the vast and largely barren areas of the Sahara Desert — a place of dazzling beauty, sheer escape and many magical moments that will last well after you return home.
A holiday in African desert regions is unlike anything you have ever experienced before, so it pays to know what to expect on Morocco desert tours. Your trip out into the desert will last a few days or more and it’s essential that you’re fully prepared before embarking on this thrilling excursion, so that you fully enjoy it. Here are some of our suggestions for an excellent Morocco desert tour.
Wrap up Well
The desert is beautiful, but it’s also unforgiving and mistakes can be costly. Going out into this harsh, hot-sand environment is not exactly a day at the beach, so definitely don’t expect to head off in your swimwear and slather on some sunscreen along the way. Such a proposition would be a recipe for total holiday disaster and it’s the opposite of what you need to do.
That means keeping yourself covered as much as possible from the searing effects of the strong sunshine, so that you retain as much moisture as possible. Just look at the local nomadic people out in the desert for an instant clue as to how to dress — head to toe in as much material as possible, including your head and face. Strong winds are common in many desert areas and, with no structures to block them, they can grow and whip up incredible sandstorms that can make it hard to breathe. A light scarf to wrap around your head is, therefore, essential.
Don’t Wander Off
Another vital tip for when you’re out on a Morocco desert tour is to stay with your guide and others in the group — don’t go wandering off. While you may want to climb that amazingly tall dune nearby to get an incredible view of the vast expanse of the desert, this is one place where it’s easy to become disorientated and get lost. There will likely be few, if any, landmarks around and you could wander around for ages without knowing where you are. Without water or anything else, you could soon find yourself in a great deal of trouble.
Get Properly Kitted Out
If your trek into the Moroccan desert involves riding camels, you will especially want to prepare yourself in advance. Riding a camel is not like jumping up on a horse or pony: it’s a rocky ride and so high up that you won’t want to fall off. Again, make sure you’re properly attired — with hard-wearing jeans instead of shorts — otherwise you risk getting your legs painfully chafed. As you’re sure to want to take photos, and perhaps videos, of your amazing camel ride for your social media accounts, make sure your camera equipment is tethered to you with a lanyard, or something else equally secure, to prevent it from plummeting to the ground and getting lost forever in the great sands of the Sahara. If you’re not used to riding, you may be sore the next day, so bring some aspirin or similar pain relief along with you.
Avoiding the Nighttime Chill
Spending nights in the desert under a twinkling constellation of stars is another mesmerising element of Morocco desert tours that you won’t want to miss, so you’ll want to be prepared. Because there will almost certainly be no, or only few, clouds to keep the day’s intense heat in, it will all escape into the heavens and leave you feeling the great drop in temperature. You’ll need to wrap in an extra layer and you should even consider bringing a sleeping bag with you when trekking for several days. Otherwise there are plenty of blankets in the bivouac tents. This will leave you all cosied up for one stellar evening and an altogether unparalleled holiday experience. By contrast, though, in the height of summer, it is warm enough to take your mattress outside to sleep under that panoply of stars lulling you to sleep as you gaze and gaze at their incomparable beauty.
For the best Morocco desert tours, contact Desert Majesty today. You’ll soon discover why we are the best at organising magical trips out into the Sahara desert that will leave you spellbound. Contact us today and soon you could be on your way to the trip of a lifetime.
These shares are available over the coming months.
Please remember when sharing, that although your trip becomes cheaper, there may need to be an element of flexibility as wishes and requirements could differ. We try to limit the number in the car to four for the greatest comfort.
9 – 12th: Marrakesh to Fes with two others
10 – 14th: Marrakesh to Fes five days with two nights in Erg Chebbi with two others
11 – 12th: a little Majesty in Zagora with two others
12 – 13th: a little Majesty in Zagora with two others
17 – 19th: Marrakesh to Fez in three days with two others
17 – 19th: Valleys of the South with two others
25 – 28th: Kasbahs, Dra’a Valley, Zagora, Erg Chagaga – available for one person
26th – 29th Kasbahs, gorges, Erg Chebbi dunes with two others
28 – 30th: Camels in Mhamid, Stars in Chagaga with two others
28th – 31st: Fes to Marrakesh with two others
1st – 2nd: a little Majesty in Zagora with two others
8 – 11th: Marrakesh to Fez with two others
20th – 22nd: Valleys of the South with two others
30th – 2nd January: Marrakesh to Fez with two others
We will be updating these trips as more people book and as more people let us know if they are happy to share.
A Highly recommended local agency offering trips to the High Atlas and the desert. Airport pick-ups, multi-lingual guides originating in Erfoud, Merzouga, M’Hamid and Taouz and reassuringly safe drivers are offered at competitive prices. Booking queries are handled by Felicity who is fluent in English, German, French and Darija.
Lonely Planet guide book 11th edition page 113
We just loved this adventure and our wonderful, graceful driver Abdelkader.
Our adventure was Imperial Cities, Sahara, Atlantic – 12 days/11 nights – Departure Casablanca
First and foremost, we felt completely safe and well taken care of – no small feat when crossing mountain passes! Arranging for a birthday cake to celebrate the Nth anniversary of Carol’s 39th birthday …. with singing, in the middle of the desert, was an experience we will always cherish.
We brought four guidebooks with us and were delighted when Abdel made sure we saw things which were in none of them. Telouet’s Kasbah du Pacha el Glaoui was a perfect example. I wandered around it, then went back outside. Abdel asked if I’d gone upstairs. I’d not, and he took me up to the 2nd floor. WOW! Crumbling on the outside, the interior rooms were the best we’d seen since the Alhambra! We would have completely missed it had it not been for Abdel.
I am a photographer and Abdel saw how important the direction of the sun was. Rather than crossing the pedestrian bridge to visit the UNESCO World Heritage of Ksar of Ait-Ben-Haddou, we nimbly crossed the river to the east with the help of local kids. That put the sun in just the right place.
The value was great, some of the hotels and riads were amazing, and the experience was priceless.
We were referred to Desert Majesty by our friends Laura and Brad Duggan …. and have already referred several friends to them.
And to Felicity, Abdelhadi, Mariam and Abdelkader, our Desert Majesty friends, all we can say is Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!
Ira and Carol Serkes
Our Morocco Travel Tips
1: Book your Morocco adventure with Desert Majesty
2: Download Live Trekker and Google Maps to your smart phone. If you’re a photographer, also purchase The Photographer’s Ephemeris
3: Save all your hotel, riad and museum/site addresses to Google Maps
4: When you arrive in Morocco, get a Moroccan SIM Card for your phone, and load it with a 5-10 GB Data Plan and at least a few hours of phone coverage. We used Maroc and found it had very good coverage. We used data (maps, surfing, email, etc.) much more than phone service. If you’ve an iPhone, you can also used it as a hotspot for your computer or iPad. If you run out of phone time, you can always “top it off” at a local shop.
5: When you meet your Desert Majesty driver, and whenever you have a new tour guide or check into a riad, ask them to call themselves from your phone. That way you have each other’s Moroccan phone numbers.
6: Whenever you check into a riad, start up Live Trekker and take a screen shot of your location. The GPS was quite accurate, maps were usually several hundred feet off. Start live trekker and create a “breadcrumb” trail before you leave the riad. That will show you how to return to the riad!
7: Many sites close from 1-3 pm, so plan your visits accordingly
8: When you get on a camel, hold onto the “steering wheel” handle tightly!
Visited February 2016
I have many friends who think we are mad taking Aran to Morocco but I have to say that he absolutely loves it – so much so that after we got back, he asked if we could move there. He is quite reserved at home, but every time we have been to Morocco, it has brought him on in leaps and bounds as he is so stimulated by things being different. We have found that he loves the novelty of the country.
The Moroccans love children in general, so unlike many other countries, travelling as a family will get you a warmer welcome. While we were in Chefchaouen, Aran noticed some children playing with toy cars in the street and we went over to join in. I have some lovely photos of them racing cars together. Aran refers to them as ‘my Moroccan friends’!
In Fes we spent hours watching crafts and tradespeople at work, potters, metalworkers etc. that we never see at home and he was totally fascinated. Equally by things like the ‘rubbish donkey’ in Fes that went around collecting the rubbish – he kept comparing it to home. Even the palaces and medersa are of interest as they provide plenty of places to explore and play hide and seek.
As for the desert, Aran was so excited, he could barely sit still while we were getting there and although I run a lot, I was totally out of breath climbing the dunes. Aran kept going without a complaint as he was so keen to get to the top. In getting to the top of the sand dunes, we have all been left with an enduring memory, not fleeting gratification.
Food wise, Morocco is easy as everywhere we stayed, I was either allowed to use the kitchen to cook him something simple (I quite enjoyed this as I got to see what the local cooks used!) or they were more than happy to rustle up an omelette or pasta at any time of the day. I brought some pasta with me for the desert as I wasn’t sure what food they’d have there, and there wasn’t a problem cooking that with some vegetables.
I firmly believe that kids don’t have to be pandered to all the time – everyone needs their comfort zones pushed – just not too far at once! Morocco is different and exciting, but not too different and you can still find creams, nappies etc. in the supermarkets.
I should add as well that the beauty of a private tour with children is that it can be tailored to suit your needs, both in planning and also on the flexibility during the day. Jamal was very patient with our frequent stops and organisation of the day as Aran doesn’t have much patience when he is hungry.
We have all thoroughly loved the variety and interest in Morocco and your trips – I’d recommend them to any family who wants to think outside the square a little bit. I could go on, but I’ll never get anything else done!
We’ll be back, that’s sure!
We frequently have clients among the diplomatic staff of the US, British and German Embassies.
If you would like to read the feedback written by some of these diplomats, please look at our testimonials page!
Since March 2010, we are recommended as “a little gem” in the latest edition of Frommer’s Guide to Morocco. We should like to thank the author, Darren Humphrys, for his seal of approval! He has continued to list us in the new Morocco edition of 2012.
We are also recommended in the Lonely Planet Morocco and also in the Fodor’s Morocco .
This is what Dr Andrew Murray wrote to us on February 6, 2011 after finishing his run and having returned to Scotland:
“Many thanks to Desert Majesty, for the superb vehicle, driver and level of service which helped considerably with my run to the Sahara desert. Tariq’s knowledge of Morocco is beyond superb, and ensured we stayed in much better places for much less when he was on board, in addition to explaining all about Morocco, and showing us the best places to see. Many thanks Tariq, Felicity and the team.”
At first this seemed like another trip request on the contact page and excitement mounted as we read the request. No, this was clearly something different and special; driving a film crew making a documentary for BBC Scotland of one man’s incredible undertaking of running from the very north of Scotland to Merzouga in the Sahara to raise money for the Yamaa Trust in Mongolia. http://www.yamaatrust.com
It turned into a quite different logistical exercise for the Desert Majesty team. We answered many of the usual questions about the weather and clothing, where to eat and stay, what is available for vegetarians and so on. But suddenly I found myself the go-between for the Department of Public Relations at the Ministry of Communications and the team! I received an unexpected phone call from them about the exact itinerary which was required before the filming could be authorised. I never quite figured out why the phone had come to me and not to the organisers of the filming – Triple Echo! Possibly it was because, being a local company and conversant with the protocols and the country, we understood what was required and how to achieve it without fuss. There followed a series of phone calls and emails with the officials until all the details were clarified to their satisfaction.
Then it was Friday and still no sign of the permission to film! Finally a call came in the afternoon and we were promised it for Monday morning. But the film crew was arriving in Fes with large cameras on Sunday – would they get through customs? Everything went smoothly and at about 11.15 on Monday morning, there was the authorisation in Desert Majesty’s in-box. It was hastily mailed to Tariq, who printed it off in a cyber café and voilà, handed it over to the relieved Triple Echo Team.
To begin with, Tariq was somewhat confused about the unusual request of only covering such short distances each day. It is a long drive from Fes to Merzouga but still achievable in one day. This trip was to take a week to cover that stretch! But he grasped the situation very quickly and really got into the swing of things, acting as interpreter and guide. He advised about better scenery “just round the corner”, hunted down the warmest hotels with the wi-fi needed for Andrew, the runner, to write his daily blog and the crew to connect to base. He explained what was happening to local, bewildered on-lookers. I am sure with time more stories will emerge!
After a while, Andrew realised the crew were onto a better thing and started spending the night in the same Tariq-sourced hotel. And in the last couple of days, it was our new Toyota Land Cruiser TX that took Andrew’s accompanying team into the desert because the camper van couldn’t make it. On the way back to Marrakesh, the film crew, Richard and Carrie, spent the night here with us in Ouarzazate. We dined and danced to Berber drumming in a friend’s riad on the other side of the river. Their last day in Morocco could be a holiday, travelling back over the Tizi-n-Tichka pass in the High Atlas, via the Kasbahs of Telouet and Ait ben Haddou, to Marrakesh for their last night there.
Perhaps on BBC television in March, you managed to see the Adventure show and Andrew’s amazing feat coming to a triumphant finish in the dunes of Merzouga and Desert Majesty’s handsome nomad driver of the Toyota Land Cruiser TX!