We left Fez in the early morning to head to Marzouga, with our camel ride and overnight in Marzouga a 7 hour drive away. We arrived around 4:00 PM to the Riad Maison Adrar Merzouga and had 2 hours to spare before our 2 hour camel ride to our overnight tents in the Sahara desert. We were at a hotel and were given a room we could store our bags and a shower we could use. Because we would only be in the desert about 15 hours (from 6 PM to 9 AM the following morning) we were recommended 1.5 liters of water per person, so we decided to spend the 2 hours waiting to leave,lounging in the swimming pool debating whether we should bring 5 liters per person or 7 per person. We decided on 5, which was good because we drank all of it.
At 6 PM we got on our camels. We were a group of 5 camel riders (the 4 of us and 1 other tourist from Spain) as well as our guide Ahmed who was walking in front of the camels. The temperature had just started to cool off. Quan got a large camel and sitting behind the hump she could barely reach the handles in front of her so she had to basically lay down on the camel to hold on. Helen treated the camel like a couch and turned around as she desired.
After about 30 minutes we were past the first several dunes and felt deep in the Sahara, it was endless sand and dunes as far as the eye could see.
After about one hour Amhed had us stop on a dune and to watch the sunset. As Jesse has always said (maybe not always but at least since that day and until he changes his mind again) there’s no better sunset than in the desert. We rode our camels another hour till we reached the camp as the sun was setting.
We then hung out for a while at the camp and talked to Ahmed who is only slightly talented. He speaks a mere 6 languages (Berber, Arabic, French, English, Spanish & Japanese)… he’s young so he has time to learn more. After about two hours of waiting for our dinner we walked out of the camp to look at the stars. There was almost no light pollution nearby and the skies were clear. The stars were incredible and impossible to capture with a camera. Even with all the excitement with the camels and the sand dunes, this time under the expansive Sahara night sky was the highlight of our time in the desert.
After 2 hours we finally got our food and ate a stressful dinner with bats flying around and cats nearby hoping for some food. We passed out at our tent and woke up at 6:30 to catch the sunrise. We climbed a large nearby dune and met up with Helen to catch an incredible sunsrise because as Jesse always says “there’s nothing better than a desert sunrise.”
The sand dunes of the Sahara are absolutely incredible.
We then rode our camels back for 90 minutes to the hotel where a breakfast was waiting for us and a shower where our bags were.
Going into the Sahara from sunset to sunrise was the perfect amount of time (and the perfect temparture). We got to see one of the most unique landscapes in the world with fairly good accomodations and food. Sim Muhammed our AirBnB host in Fez had booked this for us which was 400 Dirham’s per person ($43) one of the best deals of the entire trip.
There is a wide price range of options for the Sahara including upscale luxury glamp sites as well as multi day excursions. For us this one fit the bill. We enjoyed getting the 15 hour access to the raw beauty of the Sahara and were happy with our no frills camp site. We could have done without the open camp space with the bats and cats. An adjacent camp site had atvs, drums and music through the night. We much preferred our time under the stars on a quiet Sahara night.