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Over-night trip to Sahara from Marrakech - Advice please

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Bristol, United...
posts: 2
Over-night trip to Sahara from Marrakech - Advice please

Hello,

I am travelling to Morocco in November and I'm looking to do an overnight trip to Sahara from Marrakech (most likely leaving on a Tuesday and returning on a Wednesday if possible). My Riad (Riad Layla Rouge) is offering an overnight trip to the Sahara for 650DHS per person total. The trip includes visits to Kasbah Ait Benhaddou, Ouarzazate to Draa Valley, Zagora, one night sleeping in Berber tent, breakfast, dinner, 2 camel rides (one at sunset and one at sunrise), all transport and accommodation. This seems like a fairly good deal to me, but I might be completely wrong - if anyone could tell me whether this sounds reasonable, I would really appreciate it!!

Also, I've struggled to find many reviews on the tour company (Marrakech Rouge Hostels) and their trips online. If anyone has any experience of any trips with Marrakech Rouge Hostels, I would love to hear about it. Or if anyone can recommend any other companies offering over-night trips to the Sahara from Marrakech for a similar price, I would really appreciate any information.

Many thanks!

12 replies to this topic
marrakech
Destination Expert
for Morocco
posts: 7,501
reviews: 62
1. Re: Over-night trip to Sahara from Marrakech - Advice please

Hi,

No regular on the forum recommends a one night stay in the desert from Marrakech. The distances are too long and you spend the whole time in a vehicle not seeing much at all. 3 nights is the usual amount of time suggested if not more to experience this excursion. I'm sure the riad is just trying to help you achieve what you've asked them to help you with but please rethink your plans. If you don't have 3 or 4 days to spare forget the desert on this occasion.

Edited: 10:50 am, April 27, 2014
Thornton Cleveleys...
posts: 599
reviews: 22
2. Re: Over-night trip to Sahara from Marrakech - Advice please

I have to agree with Shimmin - it would be horrible. Going straight to Zagora in one day would not be the greatest experience but if you are stopping off in places as well, you will be spending so much time travelling that it will ruin the experience.

Not only that but you don't mention the transport offered. Whilst 650MAD may seem like a great value deal, it's not so great if you're stuck in the back of a van with no aircon, uncomfortable seating and lots of other tourists!

The desert is beyond amazing but you need to take your time to fully enjoy it.

Edited: 12:06 pm, April 27, 2014
Marrakech, Morocco
Destination Expert
for Morocco
posts: 2,389
reviews: 66
3. Re: Over-night trip to Sahara from Marrakech - Advice please

Note that the overnight trips only go as far as Zagora which not really the Sahara desert (in fact some on here will tell you that techinically there is no desert in Morocco but that is a whole other can of worms!) - the areas of impressive sand dunes (Erg Chigaga and Erg Chebbi) are a lot further and not doable with 1 night

Thornton Cleveleys...
posts: 599
reviews: 22
4. Re: Over-night trip to Sahara from Marrakech - Advice please

Even ignoring the Sahara/pre-Sahara/hammada argument (!), I would agree that Zagora is nowhere near as impressive or moving as Erg Chebbi. In my opinion anyway.

Castril De La Pena...
Destination Expert
for Morocco
posts: 5,660
reviews: 39
5. Re: Over-night trip to Sahara from Marrakech - Advice please

The closest sand dunes of any worth are Erg Chigaga which is 100km south of Zagora to M'hamid, the 40km west in a 4x4. There are some very low sandy dunes near Zagora but even those who believe the Sahara is in Morocco would be hard pressed to think of this as desert.

Stockholm, Sweden
posts: 3,427
reviews: 59
6. Re: Over-night trip to Sahara from Marrakech - Advice please

"... even those who believe the Sahara is in Morocco would be hard pressed to think of this as desert."

Right, I remember when I came to M'Hamid the first time and saw those low sand dunes, I have been disappointed of the desert there.

So if you wish to see something like more really desert you have go deeper and for that you need much more time than only one night.

Bristol, United...
posts: 2
7. Re: Over-night trip to Sahara from Marrakech - Advice please

Hi All,

Thanks very much for your responses! Unfortunately, due to time restraints, a two-day-one-night trip to the Sahara/Zagora is the most I can manage. In this case, do you think it would be best not to bother at all? Or is it still worth trying to see a bit of the Sahara, even with all of the travelling that would be involved?

As always, very grateful for any advice!!

Stockholm, Sweden
posts: 3,427
reviews: 59
8. Re: Over-night trip to Sahara from Marrakech - Advice please

If you cannot manage more days and really wish to see a little bit, go to Zagora, 20 km after you find one small sand dunes - so you get a little taste of the desert. anyway. There is sure some hotel, or when you pass Zagora towards M'Hamid, there right over the river you can find some nice hotels also. But, don't stay before the river in the center of city, it is really boring there, in my opinion.

Edited: 3:41 pm, August 04, 2014
Luton
posts: 714
reviews: 6
9. Re: Over-night trip to Sahara from Marrakech - Advice please

From my own persepective, I would advise against this trip as it is such a long way to go for such a limited experience. On the other hand, I did once take a school party all the way to Zagora from Nkob and then back to Imlil the following day for the sake of a couple of hours riding a camel across the sand dunes just to the east of town. To my amazement, at the end of their 12 days in Morocco, the pupils told me that the camel ride had been the highlight of their entire trip ....

As for Hostel Marrakech Riad Rouge, I have never undertaken one of their excursions. I can say, however, that I have stayed in the hostel on two occasions. Whilst there, I have only heard glowing reports from travellers upon their return from trips organised by the hostel.

Stockholm, Sweden
posts: 3,427
reviews: 59
10. Re: Over-night trip to Sahara from Marrakech - Advice please

I would neither do such short trip but also remember one man on this forum going to Morocco and Erg Chebbi for only one whole day. He landed in Fes, the same day took overnight bus from Fes to Erg Chebbi where he was the whole day and at evening took bus back to Fes for to next day leave Morocco and fly back home.

He wrote then his report here and he was so happy and satisfied and I believe if I saw him so I would also see his pupils beaming with joy

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