Sleeping in the Moroccan desert: all you need to know

Travelling to Morocco? Here, we give you all the tips about sleeping or spending the night in the Moroccan desert. Also, we give you the characteristics of each desert.

One of the dreams of the many tourists who come to Marrakech is to sleep in the desert and enjoy the hollow and resonant calm of the silence that invades it. As said, “One can sit down on a sand dune and not see or hear anything, but there is always something shining in the silence”.

Is it possible to sleep in the Zagora desert?

It is more than possible! In fact, Zagora is the closest desert to Marrakech. This desert is the most suitable for those who have a limited time in Morocco and do not want to miss this experience. Sleeping in Zagora will ensure you a dream night under the desert sky, an opportunity you can not miss if you visit Marrakech.

Which desert is better: Zagora or Merzouga?

Zagora, as a desert, is much more arid and rocky than Merzouga. Because of its character as an area of reflection and rest, you will find yourself in a desert that is doomed to peace, disconnection and tranquility. A place where you can enjoy the pressing sun and the few points of vegetation, which are concentrated in isolated palm trees.

Merzouga is everything you imagine when you think of walking through the desert-like Peter O’Toole in Lawrence of Arabia, besides being well known internationally for the endless dunes of Erg Chebbi that, reaching up to 150 meters high, can be as imposing as mountains.

You can choose to sleep in the Zagora or Merzouga desert, but what is clear is that you will enjoy this unique experience regardless of your choice.

Where do you sleep in the Marrakech desert?

That will depend a bit on the type of experience and excursion to the Marrakech desert that you want to have. We don’t want you to think that sleeping in the desert has to be, necessarily, an uncomfortable practice, as it is quite the opposite.

Beyond the Haimas, you can find some hotels in both the Merzouga and Zagora Deserts, although, as you can imagine, there is not a great variety of options. If you allow us a tip, we recommend you to spend the night in one of the Berber camps, because that way you will feel that your experience is more real and more complete and you will be able to enjoy in a more direct way the meadow of stars that will spread in the sky of the Sahara. After all, sleeping in the Moroccan desert is something you will not do countless times in your life, so try to get the best out of this experience.

What are the tents of the Moroccan desert?

In the past, caravans of merchants and Berbers had to spend the night in the desert. In order to withstand the extreme temperatures and not to lose much time during their journeys, they used tents.

How are the tents built in the desert?

These are small tents made of animal skin, mainly camel or goat. Some large masts held the structure as well as giving enough space to the cabin. On the outside, some ropes nailed to the ground held the mast and gave stability to the construction.

Inside, a small mattress and some blankets and pillows were placed to spend the night. Depending on the size, one or several people could spend the night inside. The ones we will use to sleep in the desert, although they keep their essence, are a little more modern. We can even find some with air conditioning. Nothing bad will come to alleviate the harsh temperatures of the desert.

Is it advisable to spend the night in the Moroccan desert in a tent?

If you want a total experience, undoubtedly YES. Usually, this is what people who make a trip to sleep in the desert of Marrakech choose and it is that sleeping in a tent as the Bedouins did is the best way to feel like one of them. In addition to being the most authentic way to spend the night in the desert, one must admit that it has quite a lot of charm.

With the excursions, you will be able to sleep in a private or semi-private tent or Haima of a desert Berber camp. In addition, these types of camps are equipped with amenities that you may think are unsuitable for the desert, such as bathrooms and showers.

Can I choose the type of tent to sleep in the desert?

Depending on the number of people who are going to make the excursion you can choose the number of tents or the number of people in each one. If you don’t mind, you can share the tent with other people, but of course, you can request one for yourself or for your partner.

You can also request tents with private bathrooms or with air conditioning or showers. Everything depends on the comfort we want to have in our nights in the desert and everything we want to pay.

What do you do on a tour to sleep in the desert of Marrakech?

There are many hours of travel from Marrakech to the desert of Zagora (360 kilometers away) or to the desert of Merzouga (550 kilometers away), but even the transfer from one point to another is an exciting journey, as you can travel the scenic route to the camp of Haimas, a tour full of Berber villages, crossing the Anti Atlas, the Draa Valley and even take you to visit the Kasbah Ait Ben Haddou, the spectacular town of clay and stone best preserved in all of Morocco, which has served to make the declaration of World Heritage by UNESCO.

You can also reach Ouarzazate, known worldwide as the Gateway to the Desert or the African Hollywood, because of the number of film studios in the city, the largest and most important of which are the Atlas Studios, and you can even ride a camel in the Marrakech desert!

After visiting some of the most important and beautiful sights that are scattered along the way, you will reach the key point of the tour: sleeping in the desert of Marrakech.

Whether you decide to sleep in the desert of Zagora or you choose the spectacular dunes on which to sleep in the desert of Merzouga, we recommend that you choose a Berber camp.

But do not tow too much in the Haima in the morning or you’ll miss the best gift that can make you sleep in the desert of Morocco: the sunrise from the top of one of its majestic dunes.

Travelling to Morocco soon? we can offer the best Morocco tours at cheap rates.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Aziz, a young traveler born in the Sahara desert of Morocco. I manage Touring In Morocco tour operator. I love to share travel experiences with other travelers. 

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© 2020 – Simon Andas and Aziz Achabou

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