Earlier last month I booked a last minute trip to Spain along with two friends. While the planning unfolded we contemplated venturing south to Morocco. After booking a four day trip to Marrakech we were realized that if we were going down to Morocco we might as well go out to the Sahara and see the dunes right? Yes, that escalated quickly. It just so happens that from Marrakech the three mayor dune systems are 7.5 hours to Zagora and 10 hours to either Erg Chigaga or Erg Chebbi (BEST DUNES in terms of size, vastness and greatness). At first we were a little skeptical about spending 20 hours driving back and forth from the desert in a four day/3 night trip but "when in Rome..." Well we found out that most excursion companies that we contacted refused to take us since we wanted to do to much in too little time. Marrakech Tour Excursions was one of the few that were willing to take us out. This good initial impression never faded away proved to be accurate. From the pick up to the drop off back our driver, Hamid, was very professional, friendly and knowledgeable. We were picked up from Hostel Riad Marrakech Rouge in a very comfortable and I would say upscale Toyota Prado SUV. The added comfort of the personalized tour and the vehicle made the long drive something truly enjoyable. Between the conversations with Hamid and sightseeing from Marrakech to the desert the ride was well worth it. During the ride out you get to see changes in landscape from dry Marrakech to deciduous forest a you go up the Atlas Mountains up to the snow-covered peaks and back down eventually passing Ouarzazate (Moroccan Hollywood) and from there dissecting painteresque towns all the way to the desert. Once we arrived to Erg Chebbi we had the camels, or dromedaries as we learned is the proper name for the one-humped Saharan camel, and our desert guide Said waiting for us ready to go. We got out there just in time for the sunset as we trekked our way out to the Berber camp. Upon arriving I was favorably surprised by the facilities at the camp. The camp consists of a series of huts lined up one next to the other in typical Berber fashion. They even have a restroom set up out there in the desert! That night Said cooked for us the best tagine (chicken) which we had during the whole trip. After supper we went off to build a fireplace and Said played the tbe and bendir (berber drums) and chanted traditional folkloric music of the region. Next morning we we up before sunrise to see the sunrise above the sea of dunes. Once up we were left free to roam the surrounding dunes and sandboard our way to exhaustion. After this we camel trekked our way back to Merzouga while contemplating the vastness and perfectly shaped dunes. Once back at the town Said took us to the Hotel where we had a very good and filling breakfast followed by a shower before heading back to Marrakech. All in all if you can't judge by my experienceI am HIGHLY recommending going out to the desert and Marrakech Tour Excursions made this all possible for us. This is a great opportunity to witness the greatness of nature and immerse themselves in a completely foreign culture. This is why along with the great treatment we were given I would strongly suggest you contact them if you are contemplating any trip around Marrakech. Even if you are not going out to the desert they offer different tours like the Tour of the Imperial Cities in which they take you around different cities in northern Morocco. I cannot emphasize this enough, they are professional, amiable and easily approachable. If I were to go again I would definitely contact them.
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