The Experience Of A Lifetime
The Sahara is more ethereal than material, a feeling of going off planet when you find yourself standing there and if the trek up the dunes doesn’t make you catch your breath then the views once you have reached the top surely will!
To witness the way sand dunes move and reform in the desert air, to stare at the entire desert floor as it moves and ripples in the breeze, is to believe that you are witnessing an optical illusion.
A night in a tented camp under a vast blanket of stars, with no light pollution, no noise, no electricity is without a doubt the experience of a lifetime.
Nowhere in Morocco in our opinion, delivers quite such forbidding, dramatic and seductive panoramas than that of the Moroccan Sahara, comprising part of the ancient caravan route that brought gold, silver, salt, spices and slaves from Sub Saharan Africa to the Imperial city of Marrakech and beyond. To experience traditional Saharan food, hospitality and live music in the Desert may have you pinching yourself in a quiet moment!
To acquaint yourself with ‘The Ship Of The Desert’, the camel, will at the very least make you smile and to take a camel ride in such a location as the Moroccan Sahara, is beyond thrilling.
Escape The Modern World
To journey to the Desert regions of the South is to experience the feeling of having escaped the modern world, a feeling enhanced, should you choose to book a camel excursion or camel trek into the desert and leave the world as you know it, behind.
It has been said, to enter into the Sahara, is to enter into what surely must be the place, they empty the worlds hourglasses! Whilst observing the desert from the vantage point of a Saharan dune, you might well agree.
The 3 Entrances Into The Sahara
The Moroccan Sahara is vast and extensive, inhospitable and inaccessible in areas. However within reach of Marrakech, three southern locations are known gateways into the Sahara and all three locations offer you unique journeys, desert experiences and the very best of photographic opportunities, throughout your journey and stay. Should you be unfamiliar with Morocco’s Desert Region, as Liz was when she first visited Morocco, we hope to clarify for you, the three different Dune Areas Mor’hara travels to and their geographical location.
From Marrakech head South, then South again at Ouarzazate through the Draa Valley, to reach the Lihoudi Dunes and the Chigaga Dunes.
From Marrakech head South, then South East at Ouarzazate through the Dades Valley, to reach the Chebbi Dunes.
Zagora The Entrance To Erg Chigaga Via The Draa Valley
Zagora is Mor’hara’s hometown, located south of Ouarzazate in the Draa Valley.
The Draa is an extraordinary natural wonder, a two hundred km long valley stretching just south of Ouarzazate to Zagora, consisting of vast date palm groves as far as your eye can see, great rivers and irrigation streams, sandcastle architecture and red earth fortified villages and Kasbahs.
Timbuktu 52 Days
Historically Zagora was a strategic trading post for the camel caravans crossing the Sahara, famously indicated by a weather-beaten sign depicting a camel and a nomad in a faded indigo turban, above which is the legendary statement ‘Timbuktu 52 Days’, on foot or by a camel that is!
The Erg Lihoudi, beyond Zagora, are long, rolling, beautiful, rustic and earth coloured sands and although not the highest dune set in Morocco, are still large enough to make you catch your breath. These sands create surreal patterns and views of overwhelming natural beauty. The Lihoudi Dunes are an inspiring and wonderful introduction to the desert and southern region.
A desert tour to and from Zagora provides you with the opportunity to experience the Sahara and the magnificent Draa valley, even if your time is limited whilst in Morocco
M’hamid Entrance To Erg Chigaga Via The Draa Valley
Continuing south from Zagora toward the oasis village of M’hamid will bring you literally to a halt, for M’hamid is located at the ‘end of the road’ and known as the last southerly outpost in this region, prior to entering the Sahara, beyond stretches 4,800 kilometres of desert.
A lunar rock landscape, hauntingly beautiful, lies beyond M’hamid and thereafter spectacular sands come into view, the magnificent, towering and extraordinary Erg Chigaga, only accessible by 4×4 and by camel.
Authentic & Remote Dunes
To enter the desert from M’hamid is arguably a more authentically southern and historical experience. M’hamid was once the first big oasis the historic trade caravans entered after travelling across the Sahara for months at a time.
A desert tour from M’hamid to the Chigaga Dunes provides you with the opportunity to discover and experience some of the most remote, highest and largest dune set in the Moroccan Sahara. In addition you will journey through the entire magical Draa Valley.
Merzouga, Entrance To Erg Chebbi Via The Dades Valley
To arrive at Merzouga a small village located south east of Ouarzazate, is to have journeyed through a valley of picturesque Berber villages, a valley of Kasbahs, the magnificent Dades and Todra Gorges and Valley of Roses.
To finally to find yourself at the edge of the great Erg Chebbi dunes, is quite something.
Pyramids Of Sand
As you approach Merzouga the ground begins to turn from dark brown to golden sand and the mammoth colourful dunes of Chebbi stand before you. Pyramids of Moroccan, ochre sand, which regularly host film crews shooting camera on location.
It has to be said that you may meet more visitors here than you would at Erg Chigaga. The village of Merzouga is located directly on the edge of the dunes, making it possible for you to walk straight into the dune area. However, that said, Hassan can lead you to areas to experience the dunes in more relative peace and quiet.
A desert tour from Merzouga provides you with the opportunity to experience and discover some of the highest dunes in the Moroccan Sahara, more accessible than Erg Chigaga, despite being the furthest dune set from Marrakech.
In addition, on route, you have the opportunity to marvel at the geographical wonders of the entire Dades Valley.