When you visit Morocco, there is an inexhaustible playground, I never get tired of it. But there is one trip from Marrakech that I will probably never forget. It is to stay in the Moroccan desert. We spent time camel riding, hiking bivouacs, taking in the beauty of the dunes and stars, and marveling at the vastness of the land and sky.
It’s great to spend this winter with your family, on vacation to Morocco, and experience Marrakech desert trips, crossing the spectacular Draa Valley, hike through the desert south of Zagora, and discover Marrakesh with your children. This trip is easy to plan, cost-effective, and pleasing to small groups.
Why would you recommend a Marrakech desert trip?
If you like adventures and you would love to go on new experiences that you have never tried before, so bivouac in the Moroccan desert is not an easy thing to do. But you will like the idea of living in extreme simplicity, being in touch with nature. The experience would be unforgettable.
Moreover, the route to the Draa Valley will satisfy lovers of space, tranquility, nature, and hiking. The Draa River is the longest river in Morocco, forming a long and fertile strip in the middle of a desert area. Flowering oases, orchards, and palm trees characterize this route.
Finally, a pleasant surprise awaits you: juicy tagines and sand bread prepared by nomads in the middle of the desert.
What is the best itinerary for a Marrakech desert trip?
11 days could be better to discover the beauty of the Moroccan desert. The first 6 days will be dedicated to travel through the Draa Valley and the Moroccan desert, spending several days hiking and bivouac with my family. Then, you can spend 5 days in Marrakech with your kids exploring the city.
You can rent your suitable car
Day 1: Marrakech – Ouarzazate – Zagora (8-hour drive)
You will start from Marrakech in the morning with the kids and drive to Ouarzazate via the Tichka Pass. Shortly before arriving there, you can stop at Ait Ben Haddou Kasbah, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This village is a perfect example of a traditional Ouarzazate setting, and its small slopes and the spectacular views once you reach the top are well worth the trek.
We will then cross the Draa Valley to Zagora.
Day 2: Zagora – Muhamid – Duib (1 hr. 30 min. by car)
The next morning you depart for Muhamid, stopping at Tamegulut, a pottery village popular with children. There is also a madrasa, a library, and other interesting religious sites.
In Muhamid, you may plan with your guide for the next few days. A guide and a camel driver, you will leave your 4X4 car and driver and begin a new journey through the Moroccan desert with your camels. After 2-3 hours walking through small sand dunes you will arrive at a beautiful place where you will camp for the night (Douib). Dinner and evening campfire, overnight in bivouac tents.
Day 3: Douib – Arbul – Oud Annam
First awakening in the desert and first full day of visibility! Beginning with a 3-hour hike in the morning, followed by a break under a tamarisk tree for lunch and a 3-hour hike in the afternoon, you will have time to enjoy the majestic simplicity of the desert and soak in the magnificent scenery. Second night in a mobile bivouac.
Day 4: Oued Annam – Oasis – Erg Chegaga
On the morning of your second day traveling through the Moroccan desert, you will set out for a three-hour hike. In the afternoon, your driver will pick you up in a 4-wheel drive vehicle for a one-hour ride to the famous Great Dunes of Chegaga. In the evening, enjoy a spectacular sunset over the golden waves of the dunes. Overnight at the permanent bivouac at Chegaga for a pleasant evening with the musicians.
Day 5: Chegaga – Fint Oasis (3 hr 30 min)
This morning you leave the Moroccan desert and begin your ascent toward Marrakech on the road between the Erg of Chegaga and the dry riverbed of Draa. We will pass through Lake Iliki and Foum Zugid, then Taznacht, and spend the night at the oasis of Fint.
Located 10 km from Ouarzazate, the oasis of Fint is a lush green environment free from mass tourism. Surrounded by barren mountains, the valley is very green. Residents’ gardens are carefully tended and the village consists of traditional earthen houses.
Day 6: Oasis Fint – Marrakech (4 hours)
Drive to Marrakech. Along the way you will admire the breathtaking landscapes.
Day 7 to 11: Marrakech with children.
You can choose a beautiful Riad in the heart of the medina and highly recommend this option.
There is no shortage of activities for children in the center of Marrakech.
We spent a lot of time in the souks.
Visiting Marrakech is incomplete without spending time in the bazaar and in the city’s many parks, most notably the Secret Garden, the Cyber Park where children can climb trees, and the magnificent Menara Garden.
Also, you may want to take a traditional horse-drawn carriage ride around the city walls. It is nice to visit Marrakech with your family.
Where is the best place to stay overnight when traveling through the desert from Morocco?
About staying with children in Marrakech
The number of hotels and riads in Marrakech is impressive. During the tourist season it is best to book in advance. The advantage of staying in a riad in the medina is that you do not have to rely on a car during your stay. You can stay in the center of town while enjoying the tranquility of the riad.
You can rent your suitable car
A place to sleep in the Moroccan desert
There are bivouacs and hotels in the desert of Morocco but the first option can be the best. You can take the bivouac at Muhamid and the bivouac at Erg Shegag (bivouac under the starry sky). The Berber people are cool, so you will receive a very warm welcome and enjoy the food. In addition, these two bases make it easier to organize.
There are two different bivouacs in the desert, a fixed bivouac and a camping bivouac; I can say that the fixed bivouac is very comfortable. The tents are real rooms, blocking out the cold and wind, and the bedding is of good quality. Also, meals are served in large cajada tents.
But in both cases, the evening is spent with young nomads, traditional songs, darbuka, djembe, and ends with a bonfire under the stars. It is magical.
What organizations do you recommend for Marrakech desert trips?
It’s good to plan your Marrakech desert trip alone but it might be better to plan your trip through a local agency. You can explore the Draa Valley and desert on your own if you rent an off-road vehicle and a GPS, but if you want to hike for a couple of days with comfort, and experience camels’ trek in the Moroccan desert, it would be easier to go with a travel agency such as Marrakechdays.
Traveling with a local agency will offer you guided sightseeing during the Marrakech tour trip. In addition, the official guide, most of the time a nomad, is very kind and answers all your questions about life in the desert and shares his daily routine with you.
What is the weather like on a winter Marrakech desert trip?
It is cool in the mornings (10-12 degrees) and mild in the afternoons (18-22 degrees), typical winter weather in southern Morocco. So you could always eat and do a lot of activities outside. In addition, in the desert and in Marrakech, it is often windy in the afternoon, but fortunately the sun is always out.
What small items should I bring when traveling in the Moroccan desert?
You should bring a torch or two, warm clothes for the night, a sleeping bag (if you choose a mobile bivouac), climbing gear for your car, sunscreen, and climbing shoes or sandals. It is also very important to have a plastic cover to protect your camera and rosary in case of sand splashes.
Plan your desert trip with MARRAKECHDAYS and live a unique experience in Morocco. See also the popular Marrakech desert trips.