Dreaming of the Sahara in Morocco
The dreamy Sahara Desert is a place that should be on the top of any Morocco trip itinerary.
Full of neverending, seemingly undulating sand dunes that layer on top of each other for what seems like infinity - a camel ride at sunset or sunrise is quite simply one of the most magical experiences I've ever had.
How to get to the Sahara in Morocco
Merzouga is the gateway to the Sahara - typically you get there via Fez or Erfoud. I'd recommend staying in Erfoud and arranging a 4x4 tour from there since it's much closer than Fez.
A fantastic place to stay in Erfoud is the Kasbah Hotel Xaluca. The decor and ambiance feels like something straight out of a movie, with its adobe clay walls and traditional Moroccan architecture.
Rooms run from $80 to $250 for a standard room, depending on high/low season rates and if you choose to have access to the breakfast, lunch, or dinner buffet.
They also offer fantastic 4x4 tours out to the Sahara which include local Berber tea ceremonies, authentic Berber music performances, sunset camel rides in the dunes, lunch in a desert oasis, and camping under the desert stars.
Tour prices run from $90 to $350 USD per person depending on which activities you choose.
Some fun facts:
The Sahara Desert is the largest hot desert in the world (Antartica and the Arctic have larger deserts, but they are cold deserts).
In Arabic, Sahara translates to the 'Great Desert', since it covers a large part of North Africa. In total, it covers large parts of Algeria, Chad, Egypt, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Sudan and Tunisia.
Most of the Sahara is actually not comprised of sand dunes, but barren, hard, rocky plateaus. Luckily, I know where to go in the Moroccan Sahara to find the sand dunes!
After the Sahara
After a couple days in the Sahara I recommend that you head over to Ouarzazate, which is the 'Hollywood' of Morocco since many films such as Gladiator, Lawrence of Arabia, Babel, Kingdom of Heaven were shot here. For you Game of Thrones fans out there, many scenes featuring Queen of the Dragons were shot there also!