Everything You Need to Know About Visiting the Sahara Desert

Everything You Need to Know About Visiting the Sahara Desert

there are only a few locations on the planet that evaluate to the high-quality landscapes you’ll see touring the sahara desolate tract. going for walks along morocco’s eastern border with neighboring algeria, the sahara wilderness is the arena’s biggest warm wilderness protecting a place roughly the scale of the entire u.s.a.. many vacationers visit morocco especially with the purpose of venturing off into the desolate tract and spending a night time below the celebrities. and we are able to’t blame them! a wasteland adventure is a once-in-a-lifetime possibility you shouldn’t omit out on.
over the years, we’ve gotten many questions associated with making plans a experience to the wilderness. under, locate our most often asked questions and what we recommend to first-timers venturing into the sahara:

How far is the Sahara from Marrakesh? From Fez?

Marrakesh is roughly 600km (370 mi) from merzouga, a metropolis close to the famous erg chebbi sand dunes and about 360km (225 mi) from zagora, near the erg chigaga dunes. fez is placed 470km (290 mi) from merzouga and 670km (415 mi) from zagora. don’t allow the mileage confuse you however, a whole lot of the driving is over mountain passes and primary, though well-maintained dual carriageway roads. traveling from marrakesh or fez to the sahara will take one complete day of using (everywhere from eight-12 hours).

Can I do a day trip to the Sahara Desert?

Yes, but probably not how you think you can. If you were thinking of doing a day trip to the Sahara Desert from Marrakesh or Fez, think again. If it wasn’t obvious to you by now, let us just say that both of these cities are located a long, long, long way from the desert. You can’t get to the middle of nowhere in no time! It takes an entire day, at least, to get to the Sahara from either city.

However, if you’re short on time or simply aren’t charmed by the idea of camping out under the stars, it is perfectly possible to explore the Sahara Desert during the day without having to spend the night in the desert. To do that, you will want to choose an accommodation as your base within striking distance of the sand dunes. To explore Erg Chebbi, choose somewhere in Erfoud or Merzouga. To explore Erg Chigaga, you’ll want to stay in either Zagora or Foum Zguid.

 

Should I spend one or two nights in the Sahara Desert?

spending a night beneath the celebrities within the sahara desolate tract is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity you’re not going to enjoy anywhere else inside the world. that’s why, when you have the time, we advocate spending a couple of night time within the barren region. with two nights, you’ll be able to discover the wasteland at a extra cozy pace and completely immerse yourself inside the conventional ways of the local tribes. spend your days sandboarding and camel hiking and your nights singing, dancing, and stargazing!

I can’t choose! Erg Chebbi or Erg Chigaga sand dunes?

the erg chebbi and erg chigaga are the 2 important sand dunes vacationers go to to discover the sahara desert. every provide a awesome experience, however. as the maximum sought-after vacation spot, the erg chebbi sand dunes are more reachable, with contemporary resorts placed a 30-minute camel ride away. the erg chigaga dunes offer a more adventurous experience and are best for those seeking to travel off the beaten route. placed some 60km from the nearest avenue, the journey into the wasteland could be longer and bumpier, approximately 2 hours through four×four and a half day camel journey. both dunes, but, provide opportunities to journey a camel, climb dunes, run the cinnamon-and-sugar sand grains via your palms, respect picturesque perspectives, sleep below the celebs, and wake up to first-rate sunrises.

Still need help deciding? Read: Erg Chebbi vs Erg Chigaga 

What do I need to pack for a trip to the Sahara Desert?

There are some essentials you can’t forget to pack when embarking on your desert adventure. These include:

  • A windbreaker or light jacket to survive the cooler nights;
  • Comfortable jeans or other pants to make sure your legs are protected from the camel’s rough fur;
  • Appropriate shoes (sneakers, hiking boots or sports sandals);
  • A headscarf or hat to block the sun and dust;
  • Chap stick and sunscreen to protect yourself from the sun;
  • A camera to bring home your wonderful desert memories;
  • A lens, camera brush, and dustproof/waterproof bag to protect your camera from the sand;
  • A flashlight to use at night at the campsite;
  • An extra day or two of any medications you need. There are not too many pharmacies in the desert.

What is appropriate to wear in Morocco’s smaller villages and in the Sahara Desert?

Morocco is a conservative and non secular country, because of this you constantly want to bear in mind of your clothing selections. that is specially proper within the country’s extra rural regions, which consist of the sahara barren region and its surrounding villages. as a widespread rule of thumb, you must always try to cowl body components taken into consideration “non-public”. for women, this means protecting the arms (or as a minimum the shoulders) and the knees up. for guys, it requires overlaying up the shoulders and above the knee.

 

What is there to do in the Sahara Desert?

Beyond riding camels and stargazing, you might be surprised at the amount of activities there are to do in and around the desert regions of Morocco!

  • Hunt for fossils. This region is rich in fossils and there are several well-known areas to be sure to find a fossil to take home.
  • Visit with a semi-nomadic family. With a trusted guide translating, you’ll be able to understand a bit more about their way of life.
  • Listen to Gnawa Music. Though popularly found throughout Morocco, particularly in Essaouira, the desert is the real home of Gnawa Music. The town of Khamlia has a couple of places for you to listen to these desert grooves.
  • Explore the sand dunes. Sometimes there isn’t anything better than hopping off into the unknown atop your favorite camel (or 4×4).
  • Tour Sijilmassa. Located near Rissani, next to Erg Chebbi, this ruin was once the most important trade post, linking Morocco across the desert with Egypt, Sudan and Ghana.
  • Shop in the local markets. Rissani has the biggest market in the region on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday while Zagora has a vibrant market every Wednesday and Sunday.

When is the best time of year to visit the Sahara Desert?

The best time to for visiting the Sahara Desert is between May and October as that is when daytime temperatures are milder. During the Saharan winter (and especially in December and January) nighttime temperatures drop below freezing. Sandstorms are more frequent between January and May. The summer months (June-September) can be unbearably hot with July and August daytime highs often crossing 50 degrees celsius (120 degrees Fahrenheit).

When is the best time of year to visit the Sahara Desert?

The best time to for visiting the Sahara Desert is between May and October as that is when daytime temperatures are milder. During the Saharan winter (and especially in December and January) nighttime temperatures drop below freezing. Sandstorms are more frequent between January and May. The summer months (June-September) can be unbearably hot with July and August daytime highs often crossing 50 degrees celsius (120 degrees Fahrenheit).

Can I travel to the Sahara Desert with my kids?

Traveling as a family should by no means stop you from embarking on a desert adventure! If you’re traveling with children to the Sahara, there are simply some extra factors to consider in order to make the journey as smooth as possible:

  • Before heading out, make sure to stock up on SPF 80+ sunscreen. You’ll want to apply vigorously to the entire family every 2 hours;
  • Pack loose-fitting, bright-colored long sleeve shirts, wide-rimmed hats, sunglasses, chapstick, and hydration solution;
  • Remember that you will be driving for extended periods of time. If your kids aren’t used to spending hours in the car, we recommend booking a private tour or renting your own car so you can make quick stops whenever necessary;
  • Make sure the car’s air conditioning is functioning. Children under the age of 12 are particularly vulnerable to heatstroke;
  • Whenever possible, have younger children sit in the shaded portion of the car. You will also want to pack a long scarf or loose shirt to use as a sunblock on the window;
  • A long car-ride might seem boring to your kids, even if the scenery changes drastically. Remember to pack some technology-free entertainment and healthy snacks to keep them happy;
  • Younger children, in particular, might be scared of the camels. They are taller than horses! Make sure to have a back-up plan to get to your campsite if your child is too scared to ride the camel;
  • Once at the campsite, you will most likely be served a traditional Moroccan dinner comprised of tagine chicken and vegetables. If your kids’ taste buds aren’t as adventurous, make sure to be equipped with one of your kid’s favorite easy meals. Dry pasta packs well and olive oil will be available at your camp;
  • The desert is usually very dark at night. A nightlight can come in handy;
  • Remember the swimsuit! Many of the accommodations just outside of the sand dunes have swimming pools.

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