THINKING OF A DESERT TRIP?
First, most important, most two day one night tours from Marrakech will not get you to either of the sand dunes on the edge of the Sahara, Erg Chebbi or Erg Chigaga. Watch out for agencies that say Desert or Sahara experience, but do not get you to Erg Chigaga. So if you are visiting Marrakech and want a desert experience the options are:
- The Agafay 'little desert' about 45 minutes' drive from Marrakech. In the summer this arid landscape can offer a special desert-like experience. You can go for lunch and afternoon, a sunset dinner, or lodge overnight in luxury tents.
- The two day one night shared trip to the arid scrubby 'little dunes' south of Marrakech at Zagora or M'hamid. They are not the 'fairytale' image of dunes, but the ride over the Atlas Mountains and along the Draa Valley is spectacular. Most tours will include a visit to the UNESCO site of Ait Benhaddou. Expect to pay between 650Dhs and 900Dhs per person depending on time of year and whether you want hot showers!
- Three days and two nights shared or private tour will get you to the dunes at Erg Chebbi south east of Marrakech, over the Atlas Mountains. Access to the dunes from the paved road is easy, which means they can get busy and there can be trinket sellers. It is about 10 hours travelling time from Marrakech, and you can visit the Dades and Todra gorges on the way. Erg Chebbi can be part of a private tour Marrakech to Fes which can be done in 3 days, but better in 4 or 5. There are luxury and bivouac camps here.
- Erg Chigaga is again about 10 hours travelling time, south of Marrakech, the last 2 hours being in a 4x4. The dunes are more isolated so can be quieter. Most excursions are private, and not shared. A couple of agencies will do a two day one night trip here, but it is still the 10 hour travelling time each way, and only available as a private option. Again there are luxury or bivouac options. Most trips here will be minimum 3 days, and will all be private.
For our guests we are happy to pass on names and contacts for providers of these tours and excursions.
- The day excursion tour we offer to Ouirgane and the Plateau de Kik in the Atlas Mountains with Linaya Transport has a small section that you pass through in the afternoon where there are camels you can ride in an arid spot just before arriving at the barrage at Lalla Takerkoust.