I visited Morocco with the main intention of visiting the Sahara Desert. We were based in Marrakech and you can find a ton of tours that will take you to the Sahara Desert from one to three nights.
A friend of mine visited Morocco recently and did a desert tour with Mor'hara Morocco Tours, so I decided that I would go ahead with them since her reviews of them were pretty good. Hassan was my main contact with them. He can't type English well so instead he would WhatsApp call me. He always got back to me in a timely manner with his response and that to me said a lot about him before actually meeting him in person. When I finally got to meet him he was a very nice person.
Our tour was a private tour meaning it was just myself and my friends on this trip (6 of us). You need to understand that the Sahara Desert is very far from Marrakech- basically its about 10-12hrs away depending on how many times you stop and where you stop. Hassan came and picked us up about 7am and we didn't get to the desert till about 6:30pm which included a few stops along the way.
Day 1: Marrakesh – Erg Lihoudi
Departure 7am. We drove to Ouarzazate through Tizi n’Tichka (2260 m height), we have lunch in Ouarzazate. We leave Ouarzazate towards Zagora through Tizi-n-Tinififft (1660 m high), a stop in the village of Agdz. We continue journey along the side of Draa valley with its daty palm oasis and ancient Kasbahs.
After Zagora we will leave to M’hamid, in our way we will make a stop in Tamgroute to visit the Koranic library, the underground Kasbah and local pottery. We continue our way to the desert, arriving at a camp with Berber nomadic tents in ERG LIHOUDI by the evening, where you will have your dinner and overnight.
2nd Day: Erg lihoudi – Marrakech
After your breakfast, you will have an hour camel ride in the dunes, We leave to Ouarzazate through a road along the side of Draa Valley. Lunch in Ait Ben Haddou after we visit the ancient kasbah, we continue our journey by the road of ancient caravans and approach the life of Berbers in their villages to get to Telouet and visit Glaoui Kasbah. We arrive to Marrakech by the afternoon.
The above itinerary was basically what Hassan sent me.
Once again there are stops along the way and it's up to you how long you would like to stay at each stops. Some stops that Hassan had in store for us we actually skipped because we just wanted to get to our destination. The video will highlight a few of our stops along the way so watch the video.
Make sure you arrive at the desert to watch the sunset. It is one of the most beautiful things. Of course do not miss sunrise either. Depending on what time of the year you go weather conditions varies. I went toward the end of May and at one point along the journey it was 96 degrees Fahrenheit. There are more luxury camps (glamping) available and maybe if I had known I would have chosen that route with AC lol but of course those cost more as well. When I arrived at the camp it was around 630pm and you could roast a pig in those tents. At one point I decided I was going to sleep outside and took my bed out and just stared up in the sky looking at all the different stars. I've never seen darkness like the darkness in the desert and I've never experienced silence like how I did in the desert. You could hear a mosquito fart out there. It did start getting cold later in the night and then I went back inside my tent. It's a good thing I did that because when I woke up in the morning and went outside it was a bit chilly.
There were 3 beds in our tent but its up to you how you want it arranged. There is a place for you to shower and use the bathroom and they also have electricity there from solar energy. Pack light and just bring your main essentials like a change of clothes, light jacket to survive cooler nights, comfortable clothing. I wore shorts and had no issues when camel riding with my shorts. Bring a headscarf to block the sun and dust. You can pick those up along the way just ask Hassan to stop for some. Bring your camera for some amazing pics. Chap stick and sunscreen could come in handy.
One or two nights? If you have the time I say spend two nights. If you spend one night you don't really get to explore because you are driving all day to get there then you drive all day to return. My only regret was that I should have spent two nights.
Camera I used: http://amzn.to/2uCFCK8