Large erg chebbi   watching the sunrise

3 Day Sahara Desert Tour to Erg Chebbi

Leave your base in Marrakech and be whisked off to visit the Erg Chebbi dunes on this three-day Sahara Desert Tour. You’ll ride camels at sunset, sleep under the stars in the desert and visit the World Heritage site of Ait Benhaddou.

Small Group Classic 3 days

'From Price' is the average price per person for ground arrangements for two people sharing.

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Itinerary

Overview

South East Morocco has just two areas of classic Saharan Sand Dunes, or 'ergs'; Erg Chegaga and Erg Chebbi. Folklore has it that the latter was sent by God to the townspeople of Merzouga as a punishment for turning away hungry travellers. Whether you choose to believe it or not, the range, measuring around 22km long by 5km wide make for an impressive site. With the highest dunes measuring approximately 150m high, the sight of the undulating Ergs appearing out of the rocky desert is guaranteed to leave you breathless.

This three day Sahara Desert tour departs from Marrakech from where you will head out over the High Atlas Mountains on the Tizi-n-Tichka mountain pass. The road reaches up to about 2,600m, providing breathtaking views of the surrounding areas. Once over the other side of the mountains, you will stop for lunch and a chance to explore the UNESCO World Heritage site of Ait Benhaddou. This is an ancient fortified city containing countless kasbahs and has been the atmospheric subject of numerous hollywood movies (The Mummy, Gladiator, Alexander, Lawrence of Arabia...) Heading deeper into the rocky plateau, you will spend the night at Dades Gorge, a spectacular deep-sided canyon.

The following day of your tour sees you heading into the rocky desert, stopping off en-route to explore another geographical phenomenon - Todra Gorge. Once you arrive at the desert gateway town of Merzouga, you will pause to pick up supplies and will then drive a further hour to meet your camels and guide. You will then mount your camels and trek across the dunes for an hour and a half to the desert camp, where you will spend the night enjoying a traditional Moroccan meal and dining under the stars. The next morning, you will get up very early and trek by camel to watch the sun rising over the dunes. After a hearty breakfast, you will get back into the car and drive back to Marrakech.

Day-by-day

Please note itineraries are provided for guidance only and are subject to change if the weather or other factors change.

Day 1: You will be picked up from your accommodation in Marrakech at 9.00am. Drive to the World Heritage Site of Ait Benhaddou, crossing the spectacular Tizi n’Tichka Pass of the High Atlas mountains. You’ll pass through lots of Berber villages, and once you’re in the desert, you’ll see riverside oases and barren hillsides dotted with kasbahs (fortified dwellings that house families and their livestock). Ait Benhaddou is an ancient fortified city containing countless kasbahs and has been the atmospheric subject of numerous hollywood movies (The Mummy, Gladiator, Alexander, Lawrence of Arabia...) You will be able to walk amongst the old buildings and walk to the top of the fortification if you have the energy. Later on, you’ll head through the Valley of the Roses to Dades Gorge where you will enjoy a Moroccan dinner and evening at a small hotel with beautiful views of the Dades valley. Overnight in Dades. (Total driving time approx. 7-8 hours)

Day 2: Breakfast at the hotel. Transfer from the Dades Valley to Todra Gorge - a massive fault dividing the High Atlas mountains, rising up 300 metres in a narrow valley with palmeries and Berber villages. After lunch you’ll head further into the desert to the gateway town of Merzouga to pick up supplies for your desert trip. You will then drive on to a kasbah to pick up your camel. At sunset, you’ll trek for an hour-and-a-half by camel to a Berber camp where you will enjoy a traditional Moroccan dinner, and sleep under the stars or in tents at a desert camp. (Total driving time approx. 5-6 hours)

Day 3: Wake to a desert sunrise and then return to the kasbah by camel. You will then have a chance to freshen up and enjoy a breakfast. You will leave for Marrakech travelling across the High Atlas Mountains. You’ll arrive in Marrakech in the evening, normally around 6.00pm. (Total driving time 10 hours)

You can see some more photos of the trip on our blog

Accommodation


Guide price is based on recommended accommodations. Alternative accommodations and upgrades are available. Please get in touch or click on 'alternatives' below for alternatives and upgrade options.

Chez Pierre

Sahara Desert

Our rating

6/10

Price guide

Price rating 3

- Stunning, traditional building
- Mountain views
- Simple, traditional rooms

Mohayut Desert Camp

Sahara Desert

Our rating

6/10

Price guide

Price rating 3

- Dinner by starlight
- Camel Trek

Details

Getting there

Flying from the UK... Marrakech has an international airport (RAK) which is serviced by several airlines flying direct from the UK. The flight time is around 3.5hours. On average it takes around an hour to clear airport security and then around 15 – 20 minutes to drive to the Medina or 1 – 1.5 hours to reach the Atlas Mountains.

From the South East:
Gatwick: Easy Jet, British Airways, Royal Air Maroc &Thomson
Luton: Ryanair
Stansted: Ryanair & Easy Jet

From the South West:
Bristol: Easy Jet

From the Midlands:
Birmingham: Thomson

From the North:
Manchester: Easy Jet and Thomson

From Ireland:
Dublin: Ryanair

Price includes

Transfers to/from Marrakech, half-board accommodation, 4x4 with driver with limited English, camel ride and overnight camping in sand dunes.

When is best?

This tour is available throughout the year except during Ramadan. In the summer, you can expect highs of up to 45 degrees Celsius (although for the hottest parts of the day you will be in the car or in the shade). In the winter, lows at night can be down to -5, so a good sleeping bag is essential.

Is it for me?

This tour is perfect for those who are short of time, but eager to have the chance to get out to Saharan dunes and experience camping under the stars. There is no heavy trekking involved so it is very much accessible to all. Accommodation is simple and local - and when you are in the desert it is down right basic, with a basic shared toilet (no shower).

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.

Prepare yourself for the fact that the dunes are about a 10 hour drive from Marrakech, Whilst the journey is definitely worth it - and there will be stops along the way - you will be in a car for long periods of time. If you travel in the summer, when the days are longer, there will be more chances for stops along the way, but in the winter, with shorter days, there will be less time for stops. The car will have air conditioning. If you have a bit more time to spare, you might want to consider a slightly longer trip.

What customers are saying after travelling with Tourdust

Average Rating

based on 603 reviews

(4.93/5)

  • They were thorough with outlining our personalized trek. They had very thorough information regarding travel in Morocco and on the trek (covers any possible questions). We had unexpected weather conditions on the trek and they were able to safely and reasonably alter our accommodations and plans. We also had a certified guide who spoke very good English, was very knowledgable about the area, and was just an absolute joy to have on the trip.

    Ben feefo reviewer verified review for 3 Day Sahara Desert Tour to Erg Chebbi on 11 May 2016

  • Service rating : Responded right away by email to questions. They didn't hesitate to call me to ensure they had the address correct for our departure. Great customer service
    Product : The guide was fantastic and tailored to our needs. Well worth it.

    Ben feefo reviewer verified review for 3 Day Sahara Desert Tour to Erg Chebbi on 03 April 2015

  • We really have to thank your company for putting us in such capable and welcoming hands, we had an absolutely amazing experience with the two guides that conducted us from Marrakech to Erg Chebbi and back, and recommend a tour with either as highly as is possible.

    Our main guide, Ilyas, was a wonderful tour leader in every respect, displaying a comprehensive knowledge of local history and culture. His enthusiasm for these subjects was infectious -- there's really nothing to help a place come alive like somebody who really knows it, loves it, and loves sharing it, and this is certainly a description of Ilyas. Aside from his helpful asides about out-of-the-way places that we passed on our whirlwind few day trip, or lessons on Amazir language and culture, Ilyas really did everything he could to make sure that we felt at ease and comfortable. Spending a couple near uninterrupted days in a small car with new acquaintances really helps one appreciate this. No question that we had was foolish, no request to stop ignored or unheeded. When we asked to stop somewhere for some camel milk, for instance, both Ilyas and Mohammed (our driver) took this request very seriously indeed. Combined with the clinic that Mohammed put on when it came to cornering and basic highway citizenship (police would recognize him along the way, and ask him for reports on highway accidents), both Jason and I are sure that we couldn't have asked for any better pair of guides to conduct us on our journey.

    MissingSara Doran reviewing 3 Day Sahara Desert Tour to Erg Chebbi on 12 December 2012

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Alternative Itineraries

Our itineraries are carefully designed by our experienced travel designers based on years of experience and customer feedback. For a custom itinerary tailored to you, please enquire giving as much detail as possible on your brief.

Four day boutique tour to the desert dunes at Erg Chebbi with plenty of time to explore Ait Benhaddou, the Todra Gorge and the crumbling Kasbah Telouet.

Tailor-made Classic 4 days

Adults from $682 pp plus flights

'From Price' is the average per person price for ground arrangements for two people sharing.

Visit enchanting Marrakech, Unesco World Heritage sites, palmeries and enjoy pure luxury in the Saharan dunes on this road-trip of a life time.

Tailor-made Luxury 11 days

Adults from $1,643 pp plus flights

'From Price' is the average per person price for ground arrangements for two people sharing.

A holiday combining camel treks, desert camping, Atlas mountain trekking and the wonderful city of Marrakech.

Tailor-made Adventure 2 weeks

Adults from $1,927 pp plus flights

'From Price' is the average per person price for ground arrangements for two people sharing.

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