The best desert in Morocco / Morocco Sahara Desert
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 3 closest desert areas from Marrakech are Erg Chebbi near Merzouga, Zagora desert, and Erg Chiggaga near Mhamid.
Erg Chebbi : is the more popular among the travelers, given its higher, colorful dunes, considered the largest and the most beautiful sandy desert all around Morocco and everyone dreams to visit it at least once in a lifetime and it is more accessible even if you travel by a small car. Erg Chebbi near Merzouga is located 560 km (one way) and it takes 8 - 9 hours with short stops traveling through route N9 and 10N or 565 km through route N9 and N 12. Keeping in mind that the speed limit on open roads in Morocco is 100km/h, 60km/h in towns.
Zagora desert: is the nearest desert from Marrakech located 360 km (one way) via route N9 and takes 6:30 h. Please keep in mind that Zagora is a more arid desert so there are no really high and big sand dunes that you expect to see only little ones but it still has its special charm ...
Erg Chigaga: remains significantly less visited than Erg Chebbi because it is relatively difficult to access. Erg Chigaga near M'hamid has located around 500 km ( one way) from Marrakech and takes around 9 h. Please keep in mind that if you are traveling by small car your last stop will be Zagora town and you will need to hire an off-road vehicle 4x4 in order to reach Erg Chigaga dunes. in Erg Chigaga the dunes also are wide but not as high as Erg Chebbi in Merzouga.
Morocco Desert Tours from Marrakech
Given the distances involved, it is recommended that the minimum required time to enjoy a desert trip from Marrakech is 4 days/3 nights desert tour from Marrakech to Merzouga ( Erg Chebbi dunes ). Using this plan, 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 tour from Marrakech to Merzouga and back, however, this means that the last day will be a full-day drive from Merzouga to Marrakech with the chance to make short stops to enjoy the panoramic views, take pictures, have lunch...
We offer also 2 days/1 night desert tours from Marrakech for easy-going travelers who have very very limited time in Morocco but they still would like to visit the Sahara desert such as 2 days tour from Marrakech to Zagora desert that will give you the opportunity to visit some interesting sites on the way or Marrakech to Merzouga 2 day tour that will give you the chance to visit the charming Erg Chebbi desert including few stops to take photos of the landscapes. You can also do 2-day desert tour Marrakech to Fes desert if you would like to end your trip in Fes.