While in Morocco I felt I had to take a trip out to visit the Sahara Desert, which embarrassingly I didn’t even realize I could do until I arrived. While the dunes were beautiful, the camels cute, and the camping an experience, my highlight of the desert trip was actually the scenery glimpsed out the window on the drives to and from the desert, as well as checking out some of the tiny desert towns en route.
After traveling to the small desert town of Merzouga, we got onto some tourist-ready camels all tied together in a row and began traveling across the Erg Chebbi dunes. The experience was a bit (OK, a lot) touristy for me, but still breathtaking. The camels moved along at a very slow pace (although to be clear not sure if camels are ever fast). The dunes were different than expected, and strangely ended just as abruptly as they started; after an hour we’d made it to the other side. This “Sahara” differed greatly from the one in my mind; I think since Morocco’s portion is on the very outskirts the dunes are less continuous than I envisioned. There is another popular Moroccan Sahara access point – Zagora – which also has dunes (Erg Chigaga) although I’m not sure how they compare.
Eventually we made it to one of the many camps which was cute albeit freezing (20 degrees or less) as it was winter. The accommodation was basically a blanket and the desert floor inside a makeshift tent, shared with other random people. Of course many had been sold “private, luxury tents” in town and were not pleased upon arrival, but it actually exceeded my expectations! The evening was spent by a fire, eating dinner, and listening to the Berber men working at the camp play music and sing. I also enjoyed a magical night time desert walk and star gazing with some people from my group, and we saw some unknown desert creatures scurrying about in the dark.
Our trip culminated with a camel ride back to the town, riding as the sun came up over the dunes. It was literally freezing and I maybe kind of wanted to die.
Read More → Morocco: A Drive Through The Desert
[Visited December 2019]