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Info about Desert Trips from Marrakech

East Gwillimbury...
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Info about Desert Trips from Marrakech

While most of southern Morocco is an arid region, if you are looking to find the "real" Sahara (rolling sand dunes with very little vegetation), you will need to travel a fair distance away from Marrakech.

The 2 closest desert areas from Marrakech are Erg Chebbi near Merzouga, and Erg Chiggaga near Mhamid. Erg Chebbi is the more popular of the 2 with travellers, given its higher, colourful dunes, though reports vary concerning the actual heights of the dunes in both places. Both of these areas are a full day's drive from Marrakech (over 500km's); keeping in mind that the speed limit on open roads in Morocco is 80km/h; 60km/h or 50km/h in towns. Expect the total 1-way driving time to these areas to be approximately 9-10 hours with limited stops.

Given the distances involved, it is recommended that the minimum required time to enjoy a desert trip from Marrakech is 4 days/3 nights. Using this plan, it will limit the amount of drive-time in 1 day to around 4-5 hours, and give you the opportunity to actually see some of the country instead of rushing thru and missing out on sights en-route. The round-trip can be done in 3 days/2 nights, however this means that 1 of the days will be a full-day drive without the chance to see anything but sights thru the window of a vehicle. A 2 day/1 night desert trip, while theoretically possible, is not recommended.

Popular overnight stopping places en-route to the desert are Ait Ben Haddou, Ouarzazate, Skoura, the Agdz area, Todra Gorge & Dades Gorge. Hotels & guesthouses can easily be found in all of these areas.

While many travellers choose to hire a tour company or car & driver for desert trips, one can easily hire a rental car and drive themselves. Once outside of Marrakech, the driving is very straightforward, with relatively little traffic, good signs (French & Arabic) and decent road conditions. The Tizi n Tichka Pass over the High Atlas Mtns. is a mountain pass with many twists and turns, but is in good condition, and should only be a potential problem in poor or winter weather.

The only part of a desert trip from Marrakech that *requires* a guide, is the actual overnight desert trek. One can hire camels or 4x4 vehicle for an overnight trip onto the dunes via organized company, local guide or desert hotel/guesthouse. Many can be found and booked online via their website/direct email.

The TripAdvisor forums have MANY of these contacts already listed by travellers, and trip reports also contain excellent info posted by those who have already been. For more detailed info from others already posted, type in key-words (eg. desert tours, desert trek, tour companies, camel trek, etc.) into the Morocco forums Search Box, and one will find many pages of excellent, specific information that has been contributed by your fellow travellers.

A desert camp generally consists of a group of semi-permanent tents, grouped together with a central eating/gathering area and (hopefully) separate toilet/outhouse. Some camps even offer running water, flush toilets and shower! Of course, facilities will vary depending on cost and services offered. Overnight treks usually leave from the edge of the dunes around sunset, and will return in the early morning light, before the heat of the day sets in. Expect to have dinner at camp, and possibly a very light breakfast as well. If you book your trek via a desert hotel, it may be possible to leave luggage in a storage area in the hotel instead of a vehicle overnight. **Be sure to ask all questions regarding services and facilities offered BEFORE you book your desert trek, so that you will not be disappointed upon arrival at camp.

Hopefully this information has been helpful to any potential desert-trekkers. I hope that others will add other useful information as time goes on as well. A Moroccan desert trek is an unforgettable experience, and I hope you have a great time!

Best regards,

Stuart, Florida
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61. Re: Info about Desert Trips from Marrakech

I just returned the beginning of Oct from a desert trip. It was wonderful as it was arranged by someone I really grew to trust as he had my best interests in mind for what was important to me. As a single female traveler this is important to me. He also always took great care of the camels. His website is www.cameltours.c.la His name is Moha

Let me know if you have any questions. I use Tripadvisor for alot of my questions and feel strongly that sharing great stories, help and care for our travel friends makes a difference.

62. Re: Info about Desert Trips from Marrakech

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Removed on: 24 July 2012, 11:41
Stuart, Florida
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63. Re: Info about Desert Trips from Marrakech

I had a terrible experience on supratours...I would never use this bus service...try cmt...I hope they are more professional and safety considerate. I have never ever seen someone repeately strike another huan being in all my world travels except this supraatour bus driver did this to a man who threw up on the bus....I tried it one more time to only find that it wasn't much better

64. Re: Info about Desert Trips from Marrakech

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Removed on: 24 July 2012, 11:41
Stockholm, Sweden
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65. Re: Info about Desert Trips from Marrakech

teacherfl, can you explain it better please, I not understand what you mean.

Otherwise I have only good experience of Supratours buses so you muste have unlucky if you had some trouble.

Paris...
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66. Re: Info about Desert Trips from Marrakech

What was the name of the company?

Edited: 25 October 2011, 17:49
Galway, Ireland
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67. Re: Info about Desert Trips from Marrakech

You can get a tour for only 100dollars p/p for 3 days.. its worth it as you will end of meeting people and share the fun! Im not sure would i go without a driver too much driving!

Paris...
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68. Re: Info about Desert Trips from Marrakech

@adventurer- which company did you book through? how much did it cost, and for how many nights? sorry for all the questions, I'm leaving this sunday and I am searching around the internet like mad trying to book something!!

New Delhi, India
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69. Re: Info about Desert Trips from Marrakech

Hi Asya, Spmm has already mentioned many possiblities to reach achieve your trip to the desert, there is many good tour companies at the following link show you good reported ones: tripadvisor.co.uk/Attractions-g293734-Activi…

Besides that, you can do your homework too, and try to use your guidebook as a main important thing you could take as your pocket.

Paris...
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70. Re: Info about Desert Trips from Marrakech

Trust me, I've done my homework. I've emailed around 10 companies.. researched for quite some time.. and have become quite confused.

The problem is I've already booked a Riad for 6 nights, and I can't cancel. So each night I spend in the desert, I'm loosing the nights I already booked at the Riad, that is why I am looking at a 2 day 1 night to Zagora from Marrakech. Is it really pushing time? I don't mind to be in the car for a majority of the time- I can bring a book, I can sleep?, I can watch from the window. I hear we get out here and there too?

Have any of you heard of Moroccan Views? I've heard mixed reviews about them..