The highlight of my trip to Morocco was hands down luxury camping (glamping) in the Sahara Desert, it was unreal and unlike anything I’ve experienced before! From the long drives, camel rides, singing/dancing and drinking Moroccan tea under the night sky – I would do it all over again without thinking twice.
How to get to the Desert
There are a couple different ways of getting to the Sahara; however, we decided to take a tour which was more expensive but saved us time as the tour organizes your pickups, drop offs and stays. There are plenty of tours that advertise glamping in the Sahara but we decided to go with Desert Luxury Camp. There are different packages you can choose from, some with longer stays and others with shorter stays. As we only had so many days in Morocco we decided to stay in the desert for 1 night (I highly recommend staying for 2 nights minimum). The pickup and drop off locations are at the major cities and although your route may not be advertised on the website, you are able to contact them and ask to be picked up and dropped off at a specific location.
The cost of the Desert Luxury Camp was roughly $600 CAD per person. What was included in the package was:
- Personal driver
- 2 night stays (1 night at a hotel and the other night at the desert)
- Camel ride to the camp site
- Breakfast and Dinner for both days
Day 1 – Pickup
Our driver, Abdul, picked us up at 9am from Marrakech and we made our way to the High Atlas Mountains. You will pass a couple towns that are known for Moroccan oil, olive, rose etc. It is up to you if you’d like to stop in these towns or continue driving. Your driver may highly suggest it as he will get a cut of the profit for bringing you.
After driving for ~3 hours we arrived at Ait Benhaddou where they have filmed Gladiators, Game of Thrones, The Mummy and so many other films! Our driver had arranged for us to have a walking tour with a local for $20 CAD (the tip that was suggested). Before we began our tour, we went to Chez Brahim for lunch and it was amazing! Not only did we enjoy the food, but the view of the old city was breathtaking.
As we started off in the new city, our tour guide lead the way to the old city which was across the river. To get to the other side of the river you will need to walk on top of rice bags. Although the river is shallow, the rice bags are slippery and i would recommend taking your time on each bag.
Our guide lead us through the city, showed us all the film locations and even brought us into his own home! Getting to the old city is very easy and could be done without a tour guide; however, we enjoyed seeing what a local home looks like and hearing stories of what life was like as an extra in major films.
Driving to our final destination for the day was long and when we arrived in Skoura Oasis it was blissful. The resort is lovely and the rooms are massive! Because it was a full day of driving we wanted to treat ourselves to a Moroccan hammam. Oh what an experience that was.. if you haven’t had a hammam before, I suggest giving it a try. Your skin will be baby smooth for the rest of your trip in Morocco.
Day 2 – Sahara Desert
There was no such thing as sleeping in during these long days of driving. In order to make it to the desert on time, we had to be awake early, eat breakfast and leave the hotel by 9am. After a couple hours of driving we arrived at the Todra Gorge where we got out stretch our legs and admire the view.
Not far from the Gorge are a couple Berber villages that we were told specialize in crafting Moroccan rugs. As i was in the market for a rug, we were brought into a Berber home, provided Moroccan tea and shown the different rugs that are made in the village by the women. After some negotiating i was able to take home a rug that they wrapped and bagged for me.
Finally! We made it to the desert and what a sight it was! The bright orange/red sand was everywhere and it was so exciting. We took a 4×4 to get to the camels and then rode the camels for ~15 mins before we arrived at our camp site. I have to say, i couldn’t stop taking pictures of this campsite – it was serene and magical.
You are greeted with Moroccan tea and brought to your tent where you can relax, wash up and get ready for dinner. The tents are all fully furnished, have a massive king bed with HEATED blankets, washroom with toilets, shower and most importantly.. hot water. What i did not know about the desert is how it gets SO cold at night! So the heated blankets are highly appreciated.
Dinner was incredible but what was really special was after dinner, when the employees performed Berber dances around the fire, played traditional instruments and sang Berber songs under the night sky. Stargazing in the desert is on a whole new level of wow. With minimal artificial light, you are able to see everything so clearly and it is a sight to take in.
Day 3 – Drop off
Waking up in the morning is COLD. If you’re like me, it will be a struggle to get up and dressed but it is warmer outside of the tent! Leaving the camp was hard, those of us that only stayed for 1 night contemplated extending this portion of the trip and staying longer. Unfortunately time was not on our hands so we began our long drive to Fez.
A stop that was highly suggested was the Azrou forests where the chunkiest monkeys live. These monkeys are similar to the ones found in Bali (in my opinion). They are extremely cute and i would say was definitely worth making a stop to see/stretch your legs.
If you were debating on camping in the Sahara, this is your sign – do it! You will not regret going and it really is an unforgettable experience.