Climb lofty sand dunes and gaze out over expanses of Martian-esque sandscapes that seem to stretch on forever on one of these top Morocco desert tours.
Morocco’s landscapes vary from the fertile Mediterranean shores, to the lofty Atlas Mountains and down to completely inhospitable (for humans, at least) mile after mile of desert. Head south or southeast from Morocco and there is nothing but Saharan sand. But with the right tour company, a trusty camel and some top-notch logistics you can travel like Lawrence of Arabia through the Moroccan desert. Here are five of the best tour options based on factors such as safety, itinerary and duration.
3-Day Sahara Desert Tour from Fès to Marrakech
Both Fès and Marrakech are located on the more fertile northern side of the Atlas Mountains, but a route between the two passes through the lofty range of peaks to the arid desert on the southern side. This three-day tour is a great initiation into Saharan life without the hardship. You’ll spend the first day exploring the villages of the Ziz Valley before a night in the desert at the Merzouga Camp, surrounded by sand dunes. Escape the sun the next day in a deep gorge before working your way back through the Atlas towards Marrakech. From $509 per person.
Moroccan Desert Adventure
Longer tours mean a deeper dive into the desert and a better appreciation of the Sahara’s beauty and the customs that have developed as a result of the challenges of living on the fringes of it. This seven-day tour, starting and ending in Marrakech, is a great way to see much of the landscape, and towns and villages dotting the southern foothills of the Atlas Mountains, such as the magnificent Aït Ben Haddou, with its UNESCO-listed kasbah. You will spend a night also at the Merzouga Camp and ride a camel on the dunes there. From $525 per person.
Moroccan Desert and Beaches Tour
There’s another type of much sought-after sand in Morocco beyond the desert: that of the beautiful Atlantic coast beaches, such as at Essaouira. Highlights of the tour, which heads out from Marrakech, include the red rock of Todra Gorge, a camel ride on the Mergouza sand dunes, a short hike near the highest mountains of the Atlas range, and a surfing lesson on the waves off Taghazout. As with all tours, accommodation is provided. As this is a lower-priced tour, accommodation is basic, in one-star hotels and hostels. From $769 per person.
Morocco Kasbahs & Desert Tour
Another open-jaws tour option, ideal for anybody wanting to slot a guided experience into a broader Morocco or North Africa trip, begins in Casablanca and ends in Marrakech. The itinerary is packed with experiences and activities from camel riding on Saharan dunes to a lesson in cooking the perfect tagine. The tour also stops at Fès, another major hub of the backpacker trail, and includes guided tours and dinner in an old Moroccan palace. Accommodation quality is a step above the previous tours on this list. From $899 per person.
Imperial Cities & Sahara Desert Experience
If you’d prefer to take a private tour of the cities, landmarks and desert of Morocco, this is a great eight-day option. You’ll also find yourself on a trip that maintains a high standard of comfort throughout; with the exception of your stay in the desert at the Merzouga Berber Camp, which is worth the sacrifice for the open canopy of stars and Lawrence of Arabia vibe, you can expect to stay in three- or four-star hotels. Highlights of the tour include a camel ride on the dunes of Erg Chebbi, and private guided tours of Fès, Volubilis and Marrakech. From $1,715 per person.