How To Plan A Camping In The Sahara Desert

July 31, 2019

If you ask anyone who has visited Morocco, then they will surely tell you the tales about the Sahara Desert. I traveled to Morocco and then I decided to do a camping in the Sahara Desert and it turns out it was the best decision of my life, because the night in the Sahara Desert is an experience which I will never forget. Riding the dunes as the sun sets, spending the night underneath the dancing stars, drumming around the the fire following a noteworthy Berber dinner, and watching the sun rising from the Atlas Mountains is unforgettable.

My trip to the Sahara Desert included a camel ride, dinner, and music after the sunset, a campground for resting under the stars, and a thrilling camel ride back to Merzouga during dawn. If I summarize my experience to Marrakech to Merzouga Desert tour then I could say that my camping experience was perfect. Although, the best part of the trip was the feeling of traditional Moroccan culture. Even though I did not plan for the best part of the trip, that does not mean that you just go out there unplanned! Prepare yourself beforehand. In this guide, I will give you some suggestions on how to plan camping in the Sahara Desert and fully enjoy your trip. So, without further ado here are some of my tips:

1.    Pack Your Stuff Wisely

Indeed, even on the most sweltering days, when the sun sets, the temperature drops impressively. Be prepared to layer up if you want to sleep outside under the stars. Even when you want to sleep under the tent, then you will need some extra clothes and blankets as night falls. A sunhat is a must to prevent heatstroke. Close-toed shoes are best for the camel trek, while long jeans are unquestionably prudent also.

2.    Spend Your Budget Thoughtfully

For those who want necessities like the toilet then you can stay at the higher end camp, which costs a little more. There are endless options for camps, especially in Merzouga and erg chigaga. If you pay more than you can spend a night on air-conditioned camp. I strongly recommend paying a bit extra to have your tent, clean linens, and decent camels. 

3.    Do Not Miss The Camel Track

It is very common now that every blogger and tourist write and recommend camel trekking and it has become a bit of cliche. Although, riding a camel through uneven ridges may seem uncomfortable, but I promise the once you see the breathtaking views you will get rid of all your tiredness very quickly.

4.    Be Very Punctual

Plan your departure, so you touch base in the desert with sufficient time and can enjoy the sunset from atop one of the mountainous dunes in the Erg Chebbi. Then expect a very brief night and sleep quickly to awake in time to see the sunrise over the Sahara Desert, a moment you would never forget.

5.    When To Plan Your Trip

In summer (July and August) the temperate rises above 50°C and due to this many of the luxury camps remain closed. They are opened in winter when daytime temperature is suitable, but nights will be cold and the temperature could go up to 0°C. April, May, September, and October are incredible months for voyaging. Autumn sees the harvest taking place throughout the South, providing travelers with an extraordinary experience and the freshest dates accessible in the souks.

6.    Stay A Bit Longer

Distance from Marrakech to Fes is huge and it will eat a lot of your time. You should spend at least 2 nights in the desert, one night in the camp and the other one in the lodge at the edge of the dunes. The view is hypnotizing with the light changing 24/7 and making it wondrous throughout the day. Activities like sandboarding, camel riding, and picnics in the palm trees can often be arranged so there is no need to get back to the city. 3 days desert tour from Marrakech is the highlight there. If you want to enjoy the beauty of Sahara to its fullest then I recommend to take that package.

7.    Expect The Cutoff 

Expect the cutoff from the external world for two days, because there would be no phone signals that can reach to the Sahara Desert due to its remoteness. No social media, no email alerts! You should charge your mobile phones beforehand, since even in the expensive camps there would be no electric supply besides A/C. 

The following are the must-dos in the Sahara Desert:

Camel Ride

As I said before it is a cliche and you should not miss it. It is great, because not only do you feel the Moroccan culture, but the views from riding a camel are marvelous. Also, it would be the best opportunity to take a photo and all of your colleagues will be jealous!

But if you are hoping it is a graceful experience than I am afraid it is not for you. The moment you sit on the camel you will feel the bumpy ride. However, believe me, the moment you see the colorful dunes you will not regret the bumpy ride.

Sleep Under The Stars

You can make a trip to the Sahara in two ways: 1) is just a one day tour and check the desert off your list or option 2) is to go out in the Sahara and meet the locals, enjoy their food, do a camel ride enjoying the breathtaking views, dance around the fire, and sleep under clusters of stars.

If I have to pick an option then I will choose option 2, as it is more alluring than 1. As I explained above if you want to sleep under the stars than do not forget to pack warm clothes and blankets, because it would be freezing outside at night in the Sahara Desert.

Things To Keep In Mind 

The Sahara Desert is popular among photographers due to majestic views of dunes that change colors all day long depending on the position of the sun. Also, the way the light reflects and dances during sunrise and sunset are well beyond imagination. 

But the downside of it are the sandstorms. The beautiful Sahara can also be a nightmare in sandstorms. Although, the tiny grains of sands are not painful or harmful for your skin, it can damage your eyes. 

So, be prepared and pack your stuff accordingly and my final tip would be to choose your travel agent very wisely. I recommend someone locally who knows the place very well. I had a great experience with https://www.marrakech-desert-trips.com/. They offer very best packages to Sahara Desert!

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Andi Perullo de Ledesma

I am Andi Perullo de Ledesma, a Chinese Medicine Doctor and Travel Photojournalist in Charlotte, NC. I am also wife to Lucas and mother to Joaquín. Follow us as we explore life and the world one beautiful adventure at a time.

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