Which desert to visit in Morocco? 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.
The benefits of visiting a desert
- Skip the hassle and the bustle of the civilization
- Disconnect from the world and connect to yourself
- Listen to the silence and your soul
- Experience the Camel trekking through the vast Sahara desert
- Spend the night out under the stars
- Meet friendly Nomads people
- Learn about the Berber nomadic lifestyle in the Sahara
- Discover different cultures and history
- Contemplate unmatched landscapes
- Enjoy impressive Sunset & Sunrise over the dunes
- Chance to do different activities to make your visit to the Sahara desert a lifetime experience
What Desert to Visit in Morocco?
When it comes to visiting and spending some time in a desert in Morocco. We have mainly three great options which are: Merzouga, Zagora, and Chigaga. the following are some specs of each one of them.
1 – Merzouga Desert
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 has 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.
2 – Zagora desert
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.
3 – Chigaga desert
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 4×4 in order to reach Erg Chigaga dunes. in Erg Chigaga the dunes also are wide but not as high as Erg Chebbi in Merzouga.
How to get there?
There are a variety of travel packages you can take advantage of if you are interested in visiting and having an authentic experience in the Sahara desert and here are a few popular offers.
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 countries 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 which will give them 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 a few stops to take photos of the landscapes. You can also do a 2-day desert tour from Marrakech to Fes desert if you would like to end your trip in Fes.
In general, the best option that has all the characteristics of a desert is Merzouga even it’s the farthest from Marrakech. So, if you have enough time then definitely go and explore it.
For those travelers who are planning to book a very short trip and have limited time in Morocco, we recommend that you visit Zagora and Chigaga Sahara deserts as they’re the closest so you won’t have to bear a long drive and you’ll have enough time to explore, do camel trekking and spend a night in the desert camp.
That’s it for today’s topic, we hope it was helpful and you enjoyed reading it.