- Back to homepage
A 4 day trip from Marrakech out to the magnificent Erg Chebbi sand dunes staying at boutique hotels. Camel trekking, sleeping under the stars, hiking in the shade of date palmeries a visit to the crumbling Kabah Telouet and the Unesco World Heritage site of Ait Benhaddou. This is a fantastic way to get a taste for Morocco's South East.
Morocco's south east, whilst not on every traveller's itinerary, holds a plethora of interesting sights, both man-made and naturally occurring, to explore. Located on the former caravan trading route between Morocco and the desert, thousands of crumbling kasbah dot the hillsides. The most famous of all is Ait Benhaddou, used as a backdrop for several Hollywood movies, including Gladiator. The landscape is ever changing, from the red-rock Atlas Mountains, to the mesa and butte formations protruding out of vast rocky plateaux, to steep gorges and rich palmeries. But it is the naturally occurring sand dunes or Erg Chebbi and Erg Chigaga which is arguably the region's biggest draw. With vast dunes, rising up to around 150m, the silent and unspoilt dunes offer a second to none desert experience.
This tour begins and ends from your base in Marrakech and leads you out of the chaos of the city to the unparalleled peace of the desert. You begin by heading out of the city and over the High Atlas mountains on the Tizi-n-Tichka pass, affording some amazing views. With optional stop offs along the way at the Ouarzazate film studios, or hiking opportunities, you will spend your first night at Dades Gorge. Your second day will see you heading out to the rocky desert, stopping off for an optional hike along the way. In the late afternoon, you will arrive at a kasbah in the desert, where you will meet your guide and camel and trek off over the dunes to your camp for the night. After an early morning start the next day, timed to coincide with a spectacular sunrise over the dunes, you will head to Ait Benhaddou, a Unesco World Heritage site, well worth an explore. The following day sees you visiting the crumbling Kasbah Telouet, before heading back to Marrakech.
This tour is perfect for those who want to explore the Kasbahs and countryside of Morocco, as well as visit the the Saharan dunes and experience camping under the stars. There is no heavy trekking involved so it is very much accessible to all. We have selected comfortable boutique guesthouses to provide a relaxing environment after a long days driving. By its very nature the desert camp is basic, but some efforts have been taken to add a degree of comfort to the experience (e.g. proper beds).
You don't need any prior riding experience for the camel riding. Camels are lead by a guide, so you just need to hold on. Rides are timed for sunrise and sunset so that you are not riding at the hottest time of the day.
The dunes themselves are around a 10 hour drive from Marrakech. This trip reduces the car journeys into more bite sized chunks, but you will still be in the car for several hours each day.The car will have air conditioning. If you travel in the summer, when the days are longer, there will be many chances for stops along the way, but in the winter, with shorter days, there will be less time for stops. You can discuss your options with your guide as you go, whether you would like to make time to stop and visit the film studios in Ouarzazate, or whether you would like to stop off and hike along the way.
We had a wonderful time on our trip through Morocco. We would rate the experience a 4/5 overall and Tourdust a 5/5. We had a wonderful time seeing the Moroccan country side. The only negatives were the extensive driving time (couldn’t be avoided) and that we wish we’d had a little bit more time on our own. We loved both our guide and our driver, but four days straight together was a little much.
Tourdust did a completely perfect job coordinating the trip. I was sure SOMETHING was going to go wrong. But the only things that did were our own errors (such as arriving at the airport too late).
Thank you so much for your help! We hope to use you again on a future trip.
Betsy Twitchell reviewing Boutique Sahara Desert Tour to Erg Chebbi