When planning my trip to Morocco this summer, on the top of my list was sleeping under the stars in the sand dunes of the Sahara. After a ton of research, I settled on doing a private 4×4 Sahara Desert tour with my traveling buddy, and making the trek from Marrakech to the Sahara, and ending in Fes 3 days later. I was super excited for the trip into the desert and it definitely did not leave me disappointed!
For our Sahara desert tour, we spent 3 days driving through the desert; we visited so many villages and experienced many parts of Berber culture. Our guide was helpful in explaining a lot of the history and traditions, as well as answering any questions the two of us had.
I would recommend a Sahara desert tour to anyone who has the time while visiting Morocco! I had a blast and made so many unforgettable memories.
Here are some highlights of my desert expedition:
- Sleeping under the stars in a traditional Berber camp – including a delicious tagine meal, sandboarding down the dunes, and walking barefoot across the dunes at sunrise
- Stopping in the desert to pump water to quench the thirst of wild camels
- Sleeping in the the valley of the Atlas mountains. Silence and crisp weather was very welcome after the hustle and bustle of hot (hot!) Marrakech
- Riding the camels into the sand dunes (I named my camel Fred)
- The Ait-Ben-Haddou village – a UNESCO site – was beautiful. If you climb to the top, you get beautiful views of the multicolored cliffs surrounding the village
- The Todra Gorge – Beautiful valley that you’ll likely stop at if you take a tour. Just beware of vendors and children trying to sell you small souvenirs – I found that I needed to be super firm to the point of being rude to tell them no
- So many sheep! So much produce! Once we left the dunes and desert on the 3rd day, the road onwards to Fes is surrounded by lush fruit orchards and shepherds with their sheep
It was an unforgettable experience.
Why I chose to do a private tour vs. a shared Sahara desert tour:
I spent countless hours comparing private (meaning only your travel group) versus shared (you spend the tour with other travelers) Sahara desert tours. I looked at prices, itineraries, comfort, convenience, and a variety of other factors. In the end, I choose to do a private tour and this was the perfect choice for me. Everyone has different needs when traveling but these were the three main reasons I chose a private tour:
- Flexibility to skip sights, stop for photo ops, and have a private guide
- A 4×4 car. I tend to get car sickness in buses or large shared vehicles, so this was key.
- We had different starting and ending destinations on the tour, so with a private tour, we were able to customize it to start in Marrakech and drop us off in Fes.
We paid on the higher end since it was only the two of us sharing a private tour, but up to 4 people can be on a private tour and that helps with the cost. I also found that most itineraries for desert tours are the same these days, give or take one or two attractions based on the time of year you make your trip. Take a look at my full Morocco itinerary here.
Have any questions? Share them in the comments! Thanks for reading!