While planning our trip to Morocco, Dane was in charge of researching and booking the Sahara Desert logistics. It seemed completely overwhelming to me, but he excels in the more complicated details of our trip planning, so it came completely naturally to him and before I knew it, things were in place. During our trip, we spent two days in the Sahara Desert (the perfect amount of time) and I’m so glad we carved out space in our itinerary for the adventure. Today I’m sharing everything about our time in the desert and tons of photos to inspire you to plan a Sahara Desert trip of your own.
Our Luxury Desert Camp Excursion In Morocco
First things first – we booked our Sahara Desert excursion through Desert Luxury Camp. It was three days and two nights, which was the perfect amount of time. We were concerned that it would not be enough time, but I do not think we would have wanted more time if I’m being honest. To note, we found out the week of our stay that the Moroccan government is dismantling all desert camps in the Erg Chebbi and Merzouga dunes, so definitely research this thoroughly before booking anything!
Our driver picked us up in Marrakech and we were off! Let me be totally honest – I was not prepared for the amount of driving that was going to take place to get in and out of the desert, which probably sounds really stupid, but hear me out — IT IS NOT LIKE A NORMAL ROAD TRIP. Much like our day trip to Chefchaouen, the drive to and from the desert is winding, twisting, bumpy, stop and start and pretty dusty. I’ve never gotten carsick before in my life, but found myself pretty nauseous and relying heavily on medicine I had packed. Rolling through the Atlas Mountains is breathtaking, but I felt like I wasn’t able to fully enjoy it, because I was doing everything in my power to focus on something other than being nauseous 🙁
On day one, we trekked through Tizi and Tichka, Aït Benhaddou (which you might recognize from many, many movies + is a UNESCO World Heritage Site as of 1987) , Skoura Oasis and finally Dades Gorge.
We finally arrived at our stop for the night at Dar Jnan Tiouira, a beautiful bed and breakfast. All rooms offer a view on the numerous terraces and patios of the kasbah and the owner, Mostapha, and his sisters who run the place are the absolute best. We happened to have the property entirely to ourselves which was such a treat.
We were up and out early the next morning to make our final haul into the Erg Chebbi sand dunes! Along the way, we got to see Todgha Gorge, which was just incredible and the walk in/out was refreshing.
I’ll be frank — I thought we were never going to arrive, but as soon as I started to see the golden dunes, I completely forgot all about how nauseous I felt, how badly my legs were cramped and how much my butt hurt.
We saw our driver off, hopped on some camels and rode off into the sunset..literally! Well, kind of. We rode our camels straight into our camp just as the sun was beginning to turn the entire desert a beautiful golden color.
We dropped our bags, checked out our room and the camp, then raced up the nearest dune (holy shit – that’s a workout!) and plopped down into the sand for sunset.
I am kind of struggling to put into words how special those moments were. It felt like Dane and I were in the only people in the world at that moment. I’ll let the photos do the talking…
That night, we enjoyed some traditional Moroccan food and listened to the camp staff perform some live music around the campfire. We also enjoyed looking up at the stars. It was easily some of the best star gazing we had ever done since there was no outside light to interfere.
I think the night at the desert camp was the best night sleep of the trip (maybe?!), solely because there was absolutely no noise and the temperatures were really chilly.
The next morning, we knew we wanted to see the sun rise, but we also knew we wanted to view it from the dune a few over from our camp. See also: a bit of serious hiking. So we woke up at 6AM for the 7:30AM sunrise, hauled ourselves up over the sand (I think at one point Dane was clapping for me, LOL!) and finally made it just in time to see the entire horizon light up. It was the best moment of our entire dessert excursion. We sat in silence for nearly an hour just watching Mother Nature do her thing.
After, we headed back to our camp, we ate breakfast and then…got back in the car. I know, believe me, I know. But, the ride back to Marrakech was going to be 8.5 hours using the alternate road and we didn’t want to be arriving too late.
The trip home we stopped a lot less frequently, but I was no less nauseous and had to have our driver stop several times just so I could get out and stand still for a moment.
People have asked me if I thought our desert excursion was worth it given the amount of time in the car and the subsequent motion sickness I felt and to be completely candid — I go back and forth. Motion sickness and car sickness is like nothing I’ve ever felt before and something I had never experienced until this trip. Medicine we had packed was barely touching it.
Hopefully it’s something I never have to experience again, because it really puts a damper on how much fun you can have or how much you’re able to enjoy things. For example, the views of the Atlas Mountains were incredible, but all I could focus on was trying not to throw up.
On the other hand, actually being in the desert was wonderful and feeling so isolated was truly a gift for us. If there was a way to get out there without all the driving, it would be a different story! I am so, so glad that we got the experience of going and got to enjoy the majestic rolling sand dunes of Morocco (there is nothing else quite like it!) and I’m very glad we chose to add it to our itinerary this time around.
That considered, I’m not sure I would do it for a second time without careful consideration. There are certain places and excursions Dane and I would do over and over again, but this is likely not one of them. I guess it’s one of those things we would both file under “glad we did it, don’t have to repeat” type of a thing. Does that make sense?
Have you visited the Sahara? What did you think?