How do I choose which Morocco desert camp to stay at?


 

Different Types of Desert Camps

 
There are two different types of camp in each of the Saharan desert dunes of Morocco. These are the Erg Chebbi dunes in Merzouga, the Tinfou dunes in Zagora, the Erg Lihoudi dunes in Mhamid and the Erg Chagaga dunes.  These last dunes are the most remote of all and so the most expansive.  They can be reached via stony desert, giving way to a sea of dunes as you come closer. Alternatively, you can trek there over three days, spending the night in a remote camp erected by your guide.
 

Camping in the Sahara Desert

 
And in each of these desert dunes, there are authentic and luxury camps, run by friendly welcoming local nomads. They know the area intimately and their greatest pleasure is to welcome foreign tourists to share their love of the calm and the magic of the desert.

Here you spend the night, enjoy some of the best of Moroccan cuisine, share Amazigh and nomad drumming and singing around a campfire, and spend the night under a myriad of stars, which you imagine you are able to reach to pluck out of the sky.
 

Authentic desert camps

 
Most authentic Saharan desert camps consist of traditional black tents made of goat hair, just the same as the local nomads have woven and used for decades.  They are loosely woven, which means dust, sand and rain can easily enter. To prevent this inconvenience, the walls and ceiling are lined with thinner material. Of course, the nomads do not share this luxury.  Sometimes the entrance is a wooden door, whilst others are hung with a traditional goat hair covering, or a woven Berber blanket or rug.

The floor is covered with traditional rugs and the raised bedsteads have either an iron or wooden frame.  Each bed had a pillow plus pillow case, clean fresh sheets, and several blankets. The tent is equipped with an electric light and sockets to charge your phone or camera while a small table is conveniently placed to hold your belongings.

Authentic camps have mud and straw communal dining room for dinner and breakfast, although in the warmer months meals are taken outdoors.  Each couple or family has its own individual tent which may have up to four beds, but the bathroom facilities in a similar adobe building are shared.  However, there are plenty of showers and toilets available, and the water is heated by solar panels on the dining room roof.

Two essential features of the camps should not be forgotten – the camel of about an hour to an hour and a half ride with a local nomad guide and the chance to practice some sand-boarding.  Just ask for the board, if you wish to enjoy the fun of boarding down the dunes.
 

Luxury desert camps

 
Luxury camps are altogether different. For many, the main attraction of these camps is the opportunity to spend this magic time in the desert in unadulterated comfort and yet surrounded by the beauty of the desert dunes under the canopy of the Milky Way and innumerable constellations.

Each couple has a spacious tent equipped with king-sized beds, tastefully laid out with towels and prettily decorated to add to the romantic ambiance.  The furnishings are the same as any luxury hotel with gorgeous metal lamps straight out of the medina in Marrakesh or Fes.  There are sizable tables to empty the contents of your pockets onto, mirrors and easy chairs to relax into.  Electric sockets are available as well so that you can charge your camera or phone.

Each tent has its own bathroom, with separate shower and toilets. These private facilities are very popular with travellers and especially among older ones.

Traditional Moroccan cuisine is some of the best you will taste in your time in Morocco. Meals are taken communally in a separate luxury restaurant tent. Water will be provided by your guide on the way to the camp, and tea is always available.

Two essential features of the camps should not be forgotten – the camel of about an hour to an hour and a half ride with a local nomad guide and the chance to practice some sand-boarding.  Just ask for the board, if you wish to enjoy the fun of boarding down the dunes.

Enjoy the Sahara Desert experience with one of our tours, from Marrakesh or from Fes over three four, five days tours – or even longer for a fuller experience of all these dunes.  Alternatively, your starting point can be Ouarzazate.

Need help planning your trip? Contact us for friendly advice for planning your Moroccan adventure. 

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