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1 night in the desert - advice

london
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1 night in the desert - advice

After having read lots of discussions on this forum it sounds like a night in the desert is not to be missed! Coming from Marrakech, en route to Fes, I am hoping to do a couple of overnight stops including 1 night in the Erg Chebbi dunes.

Can anyone recommend a great tour guide company for this? I have read mentions of camel treks that go for 1.5hrs with dinner prepared, a tent set up, drumming and then woken the next morning for early dune photos before riding back to base (which I assume is Merzouga?).

I am very interested in doing this or something similar without the camel involved! We'd want a quality experience with good food, enough blankets etc to be comfortable in the tent and English speaking hosts.

Any suggestions of who I should contact and whether I should go with or without a camel would be fantastic! If the latter - how do you travel into the dunes - just a 4WD for a few hours and then return to Merzouga?

Many thanks.

Marrakech, Morocco
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1. Re: 1 night in the desert - advice

Most of the hotels that re located by the dunes of Erg chebbi can organize a camel trek, if you wish to spend the night in the dunes ( tent, food..etc)..without the camel ride, thats doable,

As for the 4 WD, you can have an excursion around the dunes of Erg Chebbi for a couple hours, the tour will likely include attending an African folkloric music/ dance performance in Khamlia village, share tea with Nomads, pause at the lake...etc

Cheers

london
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2. Re: 1 night in the desert - advice

Wow, that was quick - thank you!

Sounds like it will be quite easy to do when we get there although I suppose if we are not staying overnight in one of the hotels it might not be possible to book through them? Was thinking of just dropping car, heading straight to desert for the night and back to car the next day to keep on going.

Would you go camel or no camel? Not so interested in full dune tour as such - 'pause at the lake' - lah! :) Think those experiences sound great but I'm just not a tour kind of girl...but I do want to see the dunes - they sound amazing...and from what I've read one can't just wander off into them - you do need a guide - hence simple 1 night on a camel idea.

Thanks again for your prompt info!

Marrakech, Morocco
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3. Re: 1 night in the desert - advice

Welcome.

I would go camel, since the ride is approximate over 1 hr, the option of continueing walking is possbile if/ when feel uncomfortable!

The hotels will be willing to arrange only the camel ride! A plus to have an English speakin guide, make sure ur camera batteries re fully charged also have a plastic bag as the sand easily get to it.

Cheers

Toronto, Canada
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4. Re: 1 night in the desert - advice

Whatever you choose to do (use a tour company or book your desert "adventure" through a hotel in Merzouga), make sure that you have written details of what you will actually experience. Our camel trek was part of an organized 2-week tour and proved to be an underwhelming experience -- a camel guide who spoke little English, no music, dinner delivered by moped (!) from the hotel, and a view from our tent of the lights of nearby Merzouga. You can read more about our experience in my hotel (and camel trek) review here: tripadvisor.ca/…CHECK_RATES_CONT

london
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5. Re: 1 night in the desert - advice

Thank you for both your replies.

ToCanadaGal - I'm so sorry you had such a crappy time and you are quite right that is EXACTLY what I don't want! I too have read such amazing accounts but my sister had a very similar experience to you and I'd rather not do it than find myself in a cold, uncomfortable tent with bad food and a view of the city.

I'm hoping to get a good recommendation here but it sounds like I might have to chance it when I get there. Maybe not? There is quite some time before we go (late March) so perhaps someone will suggest a wonderful contact in Erg Chebbi in time.

Finger's crossed and happy travelling everyone!

Stockholm, Sweden
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6. Re: 1 night in the desert - advice

How you will travel? By bus or by car? Or want you take some tour company? I would recommend you to go self, it will be more nice. By bus it is OK, they are good and comfortable. Or you can rent a car. Both will be sure cheaper also than tour company.

As you read post from ToCanadaGal, they were not exactly lucky using the tour company, I am sorry about that.

I think it is pity to stay in the desert only one night. If you go by car you come late at day whether you go from Marrakech or Fez. So it would be better to stay one night at hotel and second night in the desert.

Camel trek take about 1-2 hours, you can walk also if you not want to ride. Many do it, a little by camel, a little they walk only.

You are sleeping in tent or under the sky only, climbing up on sand dune for to see sunset and sunrise, if it is still cold they make a fire in the camp. Often they play the music there too.

I did 4x4 excursion, were going behind sand dunes there Nomad family are living and have been invited to drink camel milk. On the way we saw fossils in riverbed, visited also mineral mines in M´Fis, were going through one old French village now empty. Salt lake with birds and flamingos and also camel taking bath saw we too.

Last time I was there I was also in mountain near Taouz for to see old painting in the rock. So it is so much to see and do there so neither 2 nights is not enough.

This music Tizi talk about, it is Gnawa music, spirituel old music, they are singing about old times, how it was before theirs ancestors were taken to Morocco as slaves, but even new times. You are sitting there and listen and relax.

idaho
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7. Re: 1 night in the desert - advice

depends on the agency that you use. we had a blast talking to our young berber guide, and he and his friend, made us the best dinner in their rattan (?) hut...we didn;t have any music, but we danced to the magical stars. he asked us if we were finally going to bed. the desert was magic. we had crisp white sheets, and a lovely bed. the tents were covered with colorful rugs, and all the floorings were rugs, as well.

you will love the desert, nothing like it.

8. Re: 1 night in the desert - advice

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9. Re: 1 night in the desert - advice

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