3-Day Sahara Tour from Marrakech: Ouarzazate, Draa River Valley and Sand Dunes
Stop in a small town along the way for lunch (own expense) before continuing to your destination: Ouarzazate. Nicknamed the ‘Desert’s Gate,’ this high-elevation capital city lies on a bare plateau south of the mountains. Like the nickname suggests, it's the gateway to the Sahara Desert.
Head to your hotel for check-in and enjoy dinner with your travel companions before your first overnight stay.
Overnight: Hotel Kenzi Azghor (or similar) in Ouarzazate
Day 2: Ouarzazate – Zagora – M'hamid (B,D)Enjoy breakfast at your hotel before embarking on a day trip to Zagora, a town in the Draa River Valley. For centuries this valley served as a link between the Sahara and northern Morocco for the trading caravan routes that passed by the river.
Sit back and soak up the views on the drive through beautiful small Moroccan towns and Berber villages along the river, including Agdz and Zagora. Arriving in M'hamid in the evening, enjoy a 4*4 ride as you head to a Berber campsite. Go for a sunset camel ride and before you will have dinner and stay overnight in traditional tents for a real desert experience.
Overnight: Berber campsite in M'hamid
Day 3: M'hmid – Zagora – Marrakech (B)Rise and shine for an early breakfast before heading to the giant sand dunes of Erg Lihoudi to watch a sunrise over the Sahara Desert. Located near the desert oasis town of M’hamid, the sweeping 328-feet (100-meter) dunes of Erg Lihoudi are an incredible sight, especially at dawn. Don’t forget your camera for this once-in-a-lifetime experience!
After your time at the sand dunes, it’s time to head back to Marrakech, located about 6.5 hours away. Stop in Ouarzazate for lunch (own expense), some free time and a guided visit of the Oscar Studios, before arriving back at your Marrakech hotel at around 8pm.
- 2 nights of accommodation
- Hotel pickup and drop-off (selected hotels only)
- Meals as per itinerary (B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner)
- Transport by air-conditioned coach, minivan or sedan
- Confirmation will be received within 48 hours of booking, subject to availability
- Not wheelchair accessible
- We advise bringing only one medium-size suitcase or backpack on this tour
- Temperatures in the desert can drop very low at night; please ensure you bring appropriate clothing
- The maximum number of people per room is 2 adults and 1 child
- The tour is not suitable for children under 2 years old
- Accommodation on night two is in a tent on a Berber campsite. Bathroom facilities are in a separate tent adjacent to the sleeping area. Due to the nature of this type of accommodation, facilities may be more basic than you are used to in other destinations.
- Travel insurance that covers medical expenses, including emergency repatriation, is required to participate on this tour
- Please advise any specific dietary requirements at the time of booking
- In case of 3 adults, 1 double and 1 single room will be required
I had a wonderful time on this tour. I booked the tour as an individual, so I was a bit annoyed at having to pay a substantial surplus, but it was worth it (especially as it meant I was by myself). I was promptly met by Mostafa, my guide and driver for the three days, at a pre-arranged meeting point just off to main square in the medina. Mostafa can communicate essential information in English and respond to simple questions, but he struggles beyond that. However, he speaks excellent French and is also one of the few people I have come across in my time learning standard Arabic who can talk fluently, at length and gladly in MSA, which was great for us both, if a little challenging at times. However, if there are other students of Arabic out there, I thoroughly recommend taking any tour with Mostafa, who is just a really great guy and excellent company. The tour itself fits in an awful lot, so it will at times feel long, but there are plenty of opportunities to get out and about, including a self-guided tour of Aït Benhaddou, a tour of a movie set (in disrepair!) in Ouarzazate and then in Ourzazate itself on the first day. Incidentally, lunch on the first day was included as part of the movie set tour. We arrived into Ourzazate at about 4pm and checked into the hotel, which was quite nice, had lovely views from its pool and spa and hammam facilities (which weren't available). Day two was more driving down through the Draa Valley to Zagora for lunch, arriving in Mhamid by mid-afternoon. In the end, we went to Erg Chiagaga, not Erg Lihoudi, which was great. I was alone at the camp and was very well looked after. The camels did, however, look a little sad. The camel ride up to the dunes was on arrival at about 16:30. In the early morning, I had a walk up myself, then breakfast and then back in the car to Marrakech. Lots of driving, but stunning views through the snowy and very windy mountains! We arrived back in Marrakech at about 18:00. It was a fantastic trip.
Incredible value for money. Mustafa is a fantastic guide, who put our safety and wellbeing first. He was flexible and adaptable and tailored the tour to suit our personal interests. The first hotel in Ouarzazate offered a terrace pool and restaurant, spa facilities and a bar. The highlight for us was the basic camp that we got to by trekking on camels for a couple of hours into the heart of the Sahara. Surrounded by huge, soft sandunes, sitting around a campfire eating soup and tagine was a truly authentic experience. The mud huts were basic but comfortable and had rustic charm but we chose to sleep under the stars outside instead. Waking up to the sunrise over the dunes is an experience we will never forget. Although on the outset it looked like we were trying to see and do a lot in a very short time, we came away feeling like we've really seen Morocco while still having plenty of time to relax and take it all in.
Trip to M'Hamid was spectacular. The hotel at Ousazarate was excellent. My guide Mostafa did everything possible to make me comfortable. I only wish he spoke English. Highlight of trip was listening to him recite portions of the Quran in Arabic. The Sahara camp was disorganized and never saw the dunes