Misadventures at the Sahara Desert

“If you want to go to the Sahara for 2 days 1 night, the price is 650DH. No bargaining” the hostel manager told us. Granted, this wasn’t cheap since it’s almost 65 euros.

Having already dealt with Moroccan tour agencies before in my trip to the Ouzoud Waterfalls (where the price went from 350 to 150DH), I knew that there was definitely a way to obtain a cheap Sahara tour in Morocco.

I’m glad to say I wasn’t wrong.

Camel in the Sahara Desert

Her name’s Camila. Camila the Camel.

How to get a cheap Sahara tour in Morocco

Me and my friend, the amazing Evangeline from Canada, went searching for a tour agency in the crowded souks of Marrakech. As soon as we entered one, the managers showed us the price list for their tours. Of course, the 2 days 1 night tour of the Sahara was actually listed as 650DH…and right next to it we could find the discounted price of 550DH.

This time I tried a different strategy than before and actually tried to befriend the tour salesman by talking about everything except the price (he even showed us photos of his brother who works as a skate instructor in London!).

The camel caravan of the Sahara

The camel caravan of the Sahara!

In the end, we told him that we would go back to our hostel and decide later to which he agreed and actually offered us a kind invitation for dinner later that night. Normally, my scam alert would go off at this sort of situations but this guy seemed completely trust-worthy.

The plot-twist? He totally was! Evangeline and I enjoyed a lovely Moroccan dinner with the tour salesman and his friend and we soon booked our Sahara tour for only 400DH (250DH less than what the people at the hostel would normally pay) including dinner and breakfast at the Sahara. Let’s go get some Camel selfies!

Camel selfie at Morocco

The ultimate camel selfie?

The Sahara 2 days 1 night journey

There are basically two Sahara group tours leaving daily from Marrakech: the 2 days 1 night and the 3 days 2 nights. The difference is that the 3d2n goes to a different part of the desert called Merzouga where the color of the sand dunes is orange/red instead of the yellow/orange that you will see in Zagora.

The extra night is spent at the Dades Valley, which includes a gorge located in the Atlas mountain range. Granted, it does sounds better than the 2d1n tour but since both my friend and I were short on time we opted for the shorter version of the tour.

The Sahara desert. Zagora, Morocco

The sand dunes at Zagora

During the 4 hours ride from Marrakech to Aït Benhaddou, Hollywood’s favorite filming spot, we stopped at least four times to take a toilet break and to admire the extreme beauty of the Atlas mountain range. As I said before, it is important to bring your own lunch since the tour will stop at very expensive restaurants (100DH for a Tagine menu? No way Jose!).

The ride is a very smooth one so you can have some time to sleep (after all, we had to meet at 07:00 for the tour to start). However, I would definitely suggest you to keep your eyes open in order to admire the immense beauty of the Atlas region. After leaving Ait Benhaddou we went into another scenic 4 hours ride to the town of Zagora, the closest one to the Sahara desert.

By the way, did you know that during certain months you can actually see snow in Morocco? How cool is that?

The Atlas Mountain Range

The Atlas Mountain Range. Impressive, uh?

Riding camels in the Sahara desert of Morocco

This was my fourth camel ride (having previously rode them at the Egyptian Pyramids, the India Thar desert and at the beaches of Morocco) and yes, each time it gets smoother and smoother. If you’re riding a camel for the first time, remember that the secret is to actually move your body along with the camel in order to avoid feeling sore after the ride.

The camel journey from the town of Zagora to the Berber camp wasn’t really that scenic since we could see electricity cables and cars on the highway right next to us. However, the last few minutes were completely magical as we approached the sand dunes just in time for sunset.

Riding camels at Zagora

The first camel experience is always the most painful one!

What came after was an amazing all-inclusive home-made dinner at the camp-site as the Berber people played the drums and sang to the tune of the desert. After filling up our stomach with Tagine, we drank the Berber Whisky (actually, mint tea) as a sign of friendship with our new friends as we turned off the remaining lights in order to fully appreciate the starry sky.

I wonder what the ancient people of the desert thought when they gazed at such a breath-taking sight. Do you think that they also named the constellations? Isn’t it interesting how we only know the Greco-Roman names of them? I do wonder how my ancestors named the Northern Star back in the olden days.

Berber hospitality at the Sahara desert

Berber hospitality at the Sahara desert

The long way back from the Zagora to Marrakech

We woke up at 05:00 in order to enjoy the sunrise over the dunes and, after a delicious breakfast, we were ready to embark on the 8 hour journey back to Marrakech. Actually, scratch that since we were stuck two hours at a restaurant in the middle of the road where our driver mysteriously vanished. Want to know where he was? Sleeping on the terrace of the restaurant. He never once apologized to us but at least he was kind enough to turn on the A/C this time.

10 hours after departing Zagora we were finally back to Marrakech, ready to take a shower to get the sand off our bodies and with a deep admiration for the people of the desert. And yes, to this day I still miss that starry sky. Have you ever been to the Sahara? Would you like to? Do you like Tagine? Share your thoughts and let me know what you think!

Camels in the Sahara Desert

Isn’t it cute how each one has their own distinct personality?

July 25th, 2014|Categories: Africa Travel|Tags: |
Raphael Alexander is a Nomadic Digital Marketer and Travel Influencer who overcame the chains of the local economy and found a way to achieve his dream of having a professional life while traveling the world non-stop. His goal in life is to inspire the people of the world to unleash their full inner potential. A perfect day for him includes exotic animals, ancient pyramids, breath-taking waterfalls and tasty tacos. Lots of tacos.

24 Comments

  1. Suzanne Fluhr July 25, 2014 at 10:08 am - Reply

    Not sure about the camel ride, but the rest of the trip sounds awesome especially the night sky in the Sahara. I like tagine just fine, but I’m sure there are better and worse ones. A chicken tagine recipe is my go to default when we have company for dinner.

    • Raphael Alexander Zoren August 10, 2014 at 1:30 pm - Reply

      The first ride is always the toughest one!

      • anggi yanuar saleh March 22, 2015 at 10:10 am

        hallo…

        may i know the name of the tour agency? I will visit Marrakech next month and I am interested in Atlas sightseeing activities. many thanks!

  2. Irene @ Freelancers on the Road July 25, 2014 at 3:39 pm - Reply

    Love those camel pictures – the last one is especially cute! 🙂 That sounds like an amazing experience – and a fantastic deal!

  3. Best holiday destinations July 26, 2014 at 12:22 am - Reply

    Nice pics. its shows there trends and there culture. thanks for posting nice views.

  4. Karen Warren July 27, 2014 at 12:24 pm - Reply

    I’ve not been to the Sahara but I’ve been to other deserts and find them fascinating, as well as great places for photographs. And I love tagine…

  5. Jessica (Barcelona Blonde) July 29, 2014 at 1:42 am - Reply

    Sounds like a great deal! I actually had no idea there was snow in Morocco haha. I mean, of course it’s a big country, but I always imagine it to be such a hot place.

    By the way, sorry to be missing you in Barcelona. Next time!

  6. Jon @ jonistravelling.com August 1, 2014 at 5:02 am - Reply

    I might be heading this way soon, do you think it’s best to organise the desert trips from Marrakech or go to one of the towns closer to the desert?

    • Raphael Alexander Zoren August 10, 2014 at 1:20 pm - Reply

      It’s definitely cheaper to do it from Marrakech since transportation to the desert towns is already included in the price.

  7. j0zyphyn January 22, 2015 at 2:36 pm - Reply

    Love to ride a camel and a tour in the dessert . Hope to find a cheap tour like yours…

  8. Desert Morocco trips June 10, 2015 at 2:08 am - Reply

    WELCOME TO ‘DESERT MOROCCO TRIPS’
    we are a team of professional Qualified, Drivers, light and extreme Sportlers who will offer you the chance to enjoy your Tour or adventure holiday, we can also help you discover and realize your Desert wishes and dreams.
    We will share our knowledge and love of our country with you of course.
    We know the geological richness of Morocco, in this case, we invite you to experience the culture, lifestyle, mystery and the landscapes of our country, you will feel the intimate (warm) hospitality of Berber families, as well as discovering their traditions, beliefs and cultures that are differ from place to another,(religious, archeological and cultural explorations).
    On your tours and visits, you will discover the authentic Morocco, its imperial cities; Fes the spiritual cultural center of the kingdom,
    Marrakech the city of Souk, Romance and History, is called the red city, known as the symbol of crossin ait ben haddou riverMorocco. Casablanca the largest city, it is the economical capital of the country, there you can visit some interesting places, such as Temple Beth-El and the Museum of Moroccan Judaism, this means you are able to experience Casablanca’s Jewish culture. Rabat the capital city of Morocco, Meknes and Volubilis (the Roman ruins).

    Telephone : +212 618662199 / + 212 678942395 /
    E-mail : DesertMoroccoTrips@gmail.com
    Website :Www.Desert-Morocco-Trips.com

  9. Sam May 20, 2016 at 9:20 pm - Reply

    Hi There, Where did you book this tour from

  10. Nisa August 3, 2016 at 7:58 am - Reply

    Hi
    I was wondering if u know and if it’s possible for a 2D1N desert tour from Marrakesh to Fez? I’m tight on my schedule too and will be from casablanca planning to head to Marrakesh, fez, chefchaouen before flying back to Casablanca in a span of 7 days.

    And thanks for the suggestion.
    Regards
    Nisa

  11. Kirsten B November 18, 2016 at 4:55 pm - Reply

    Hi There,
    this was such a treat to read especially as myself and friend are heading to Morocco for the first in a week! Trying to decide if booking a tour before we leave London or once there but feeling more confident now that we would get a good deal booking in Marrakesh. We are wanting to 3days/2nights. Can you let me know which agent you went too? Thanks again and love your writing and pictures 🙂

  12. Antoine January 9, 2017 at 3:59 pm - Reply

    Hi Rafael,

    Love the article, thanks for sharing.
    I got 2 questions:
    I want to visit Morrocco for 10 days and go in the Sahara for 2 or 3 days.
    Since I am travelling by myself, the tour guide idea is a bit expensive. They only offer private tour aim for groups. Am I right?
    Do you know then another way to go to the sahara desert? Hire a car?

  13. Elli January 22, 2017 at 6:43 pm - Reply

    Was it 400DH per person? Or total for 2 people?

  14. maurice January 25, 2017 at 10:16 pm - Reply

    hello
    Whats thé name of thé agent please?

  15. DAVED March 10, 2017 at 9:53 pm - Reply

    Morocco has it all! In the country you find so many varied and breathtaking landscapes. From palm spotted oasis, amazing golden desert scenes, majestic terrains of the High Atlas Mountains, magnificence of coastal cities to cedar tall forests, sky rising gorges and much more!

    Check into our Desert Tour itineraries that includes night spend in the desert in Nomad tent completely surrounded by deserted dunes and camel trekking of course!

  16. Sandra May 5, 2017 at 1:30 am - Reply

    Went on a tour to the Sahara Desert. It was such an incredible experience! There was myself and three other friends. Our guide was Idir. He was professional, insightful, kind, and extremely knowledgeable. His SUV was big enough for all of us. Clean, air conditioned and even had wifi. He made our visit to Morocco a memorable one. The Sahara was fantastic! Road a camel into the desert for the sunset it was breathtaking. Would absolutely recommend booking!
    Website : http://saharadesertkingdom.com
    What’sapp/Calls 00212671520844

Leave A Comment