Booked a desert tour in Morocco and wondering what on earth you should pack? Here’s what you need to know.
Planning a desert holiday is exciting but at the same time kind of daunting — it’s not quite your average sun holiday in the usual European hotspots, where everything is so familiar and similar to home, including the food and drinks. Immediately it might spring to mind that, well, there’s not much of anything in the desert, so you may well ask yourself what you should take — and leave behind — when you’re about to embark on a desert holiday.
On the desert tours in Morocco that we organise, we advise our clients to come prepared or risk disappointment. It only takes a little advance planning to ensure your amazing holiday goes perfectly so that you thoroughly enjoy it and don’t suffer or even become ill. We specialise in tours of the Sahara Desert from many Moroccan cities, and although it’s a beautiful and spectacular environment that will take your breath away, it’s also a harsh place of differing temperatures that can go from one extreme to the other, and it’s unwise to just turn up for a tour without being ready.
Here are our tips for what to, and what not to, take on a desert holiday in Morocco:
Days in the Sahara Desert are intensely hot and can reach 40C or more during the summer months; at night, however, the mercury plunges to around 15C or lower, due to the absence of insulating cloud to keep all that heat in. During the winter months, it can get as low as around freezing at night, and shorts and a t-shirt are not going to keep you warm.
So pack protective and comfortable clothing, including a jacket to keep you cosy at night (you may also want to bring a sleeping bag if you’re spending several nights at a desert camp). Something like chinos or cargo pants will allow you to trek in comfort, whether you’re climbing the soaring dunes or riding a camel, where you don’t want to risk having your legs chafed by their rough hair. A hat with a wide brim is also recommended to keep the sun off the top of your head and prevent you from overheating and possibly being at risk of sunstroke — a real prospect when on desert tours in Morocco if you’re not properly shielded. And, if you are trekking, make sure to bring proper hiking boots — not flip-flops — and consider hiking socks to protect you from blisters, as well as talcum powder to soothe your feet at night and absorb excess moisture.
Rounding out the right kind of gear to bring with you on desert trips is a large scarf you can wind around your face in the event of a sudden sandstorm, which could otherwise give you an unwanted facial as the sand grains are whipped up and ricochet around your face. Traditional turbans are available everywhere – just ask your driver to stop at an apporpriate place.
The glare of the searing sun of African desert regions, especially as it can bounce off the sand and become even more intense, means you need the best sunglasses you can get — cheap ones from the local market won’t do much to protect your eyes. Instead, opt for something like polarised sunglasses, which will eliminate the glare and fully protect your eyes.
As for your face and other exposed skin, make sure you bring along a high-factor sunscreen — of at least 30 but preferably 50 — and slather it on liberally before heading out into the sun. Lip balm that will moisturise your lips and prevent them from chapping is also a good idea, as is some aftersun you can apply at the end of a day in the Sahara Desert — even if you don’t get burned, it’s still soothing and will help to make you feel more comfortable.
When packing for desert tours in Morocco, leave those jeans behind — while protective, denim is a hard and restrictive material, so it’s not suited to hiking or being in hot desert areas. Also, don’t bring lots or even any jewellery with you, as it’s unnecessary and no one will be dressing to impress. Equally, it’s not such a good idea to come loaded up with the many kinds of electronics that people travel with these days — laptops, tablets, multiple mobile phones, gaming devices and more. They will only weigh you down and are not suited to high temperatures and there is the possibility of sand getting into them, which could cause damage.
Pack light, and pack right, for desert tours in Morocco, and you’ll have the time of your life in one of the most incredible places in the world.
Thinking about desert tours in Morocco and wondering what’s right for you? Desert Majesty can take you to the most spectacular Sahara desert areas from the Moroccan city you’re based in, whether you choose one of our popular tours or one that’s customised just for you. Contact us today and find out more.