Merzouga Desert: A Magical Experience in the Sahara

Have you ever dreamed of sleeping under the stars in the Sahara desert, surrounded by golden sand dunes and camels? If so, then you should visit Merzouga, a small town in the south of Morocco that is the gateway to the Erg Chebbi dunes, one of the most spectacular natural wonders in the world.
Merzouga is a popular destination for travelers who want to experience the beauty and adventure of the desert. There are many things to do and see in Merzouga, from camel rides and sandboarding to visiting ancient villages and listening to traditional music. In this blog post, I will share with you some of the highlights of my trip to Merzouga and why you should add it to your bucket list.

Where to stay in Merzouga

Once you arrive in Merzouga, you have two main options for accommodation: staying in a hotel or guesthouse in the town, or staying in a desert camp in the dunes.

  • Staying in town: If you prefer to have more facilities and amenities, such as Wi-Fi, electricity, and hot water, you can choose to stay in a hotel or guesthouse in Merzouga. There are many options to suit different budgets and tastes, from basic to luxurious. The average price for a double room is around 300 to 500 dirhams ($30 to $50) per night, including breakfast. Some of the hotels and guesthouses also have swimming pools, restaurants, and gardens. The downside of staying in town is that you are not as close to the dunes and you miss the opportunity to experience the desert at night.
  • Staying in a desert camp: If you want to have a more authentic and memorable experience, you can opt to stay in a desert camp in the Erg Chebbi dunes. There are many camps to choose from, ranging from simple to deluxe. The basic camps have tents with mattresses, blankets, and pillows, and shared toilets and showers. The deluxe camps have more spacious and comfortable tents with private bathrooms, and some even have air-conditioning and Wi-Fi.
    The average price for a night in a desert camp is around 400 to 600 dirhams ($40 to $60) per person, including dinner and breakfast. The best part of staying in a desert camp is that you can enjoy the stunning views of the dunes, the silence of the desert, and the starry sky at night.

What to do in Merzouga

There are many activities and attractions to enjoy in Merzouga, both in the town and in the desert. Here are some of the most popular ones:

  • Camel ride: One of the must-do things in Merzouga is to take a camel ride in the dunes. You can book a camel ride with your hotel, guesthouse, or camp, or with one of the many agencies in town. The camel ride usually lasts for about an hour and a half, and takes you to the desert camp where you will spend the night. You can also opt for a longer camel ride that lasts for several hours or days, and explore different parts of the desert. The camel ride is a fun and relaxing way to admire the beauty of the sand dunes and the sunset. The price of a camel ride depends on the duration and the season, but you can expect to pay around 150 to 250 dirhams ($15 to $25) per person for a one-way ride to the camp.
  • Sandboarding: If you are looking for some adrenaline and adventure, you can try sandboarding in the dunes. Sandboarding is similar to snowboarding, but instead of sliding on snow, you slide on sand. You can rent a sandboard from your camp or from one of the shops in town, and head to the highest dune you can find. The sandboard costs around 50 to 100 dirhams ($5 to $10) per day. Sandboarding is a lot of fun and a great way to enjoy the desert landscape. Just be prepared to climb up the dunes many times, as there are no lifts or cable cars to take you up.
  • Visit Khamlia: Khamlia is a small village near Merzouga, where you can learn about the culture and history of the Gnawa people, who are descendants of former slaves from sub-Saharan Africa. The Gnawa are known for their music and dance, which have spiritual and healing purposes. You can visit Khamlia and watch a live performance of the Gnawa music, which involves drums, castanets, and chanting. You can also join the dance and feel the energy and rhythm of the music. The entrance fee for the performance is around 50 dirhams ($5) per person, and you can also buy some souvenirs and handicrafts from the village.
  • Visit Rissani: Rissani is a historical town about 35 km (22 miles) from Merzouga, and it was once the capital of the Tafilalet region and a major trading center. Rissani is famous for its lively and colorful market, where you can find everything from spices and dates to carpets and pottery. The market is open every day, but the best day to visit is on Tuesday, Thursday, or Sunday, when the market is bigger and more crowded. You can also visit some of the historical and religious sites in Rissani, such as the Mausoleum of Moulay Ali Cherif, the founder of the Alaouite dynasty, and the Ksar Abbar, a fortified palace. You can get to Rissani by bus, taxi, or car from Merzouga.


What to pack for Merzouga

Merzouga has a desert climate, which means that it can get very hot during the day and very cold at night. The temperature can vary from 5°C (41°F) in winter to 45°C (113°F) in summer. Therefore, you need to pack accordingly and be prepared for the extreme weather conditions. Here are some of the essential items that you should pack for Merzouga:

  • Sunscreen: The sun is very strong in the desert, and you can get sunburned easily. Make sure to apply sunscreen regularly and protect your skin from the harmful UV rays.
  • Hat: A hat is also important to shield your head and face from the sun. You can also use a scarf or a turban to cover your head and neck, and to keep the sand out of your hair and mouth.
  • Sunglasses: Sunglasses are essential to protect your eyes from the sun and the sand. The sand can get into your eyes and cause irritation and infection. Choose sunglasses that have UV protection and fit well.
  • Water bottle: Staying hydrated is very important in the desert, as you can lose a lot of water through sweating and breathing. Drink plenty of water and avoid alcohol and caffeine, which can dehydrate you. Bring a reusable water bottle and fill it up whenever you can.
  • Layers: The temperature can change drastically from day to night, so you need to dress in layers that you can easily put on and take off. Wear light and breathable clothes during the day, such as cotton or linen, and warm and cozy clothes at night, such as wool or fleece. You can also bring a sleeping bag or a blanket for extra warmth in the desert camp.
  • Shoes: You need comfortable shoes.

Start planning your unforgettable desert adventure with Fes Morocco Tours, and experience the magic of the majestic Sahara Desert firsthand. Book your trip today!

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