I just returned home from an absolutely fantastic 3 day desert trek across the Sahara desert in Morocco with a brand new company called Walking with Nomads. On their website they claim to be ‘the best desert trekking company on planet earth’ and I honestly think they might be right, indeed this desert tour experience exceeded my expectations in so many ways.
In this little blog post I really wanted to share with you my experience from the desert tour and briefly explain everything you need to know about visiting the Sahara desert in Morocco. Fx, How to choose your desert tour, what desert in Morocco to visit, how to get from Marrakech to the Sahara and more.
Are you ready? Let’s get to it!
How to experience the real Sahara Desert
In my opinion, every tourist visiting Morocco simply has to visit and experience the Sahara desert and this can be done in many ways. However, I believe that every true traveller or adventurer should do this by trekking in the Sahara. That way, going off the beaten path, further than any tour bus can reach and experience the real and authentic Sahara desert. I mean, what’s more adventurous nowadays than walking straight into an endless desert without internet, running water and electricity – with nothing more than a tent, sleeping bag, a couple of camels and new nomadic friends by your side?
By trekking in the Sahara desert you both get to see so much more than in other tours and also you will truly see and feel what the desert is all about. Not only how vast, beautiful and diverse it is – but it will also challenge you in one way or another. Last but not least it will give you plenty of ‘me time’ to organise your thoughts, meditate and focus on yourself.
The highlights of my Desert tour
In my 3 day desert trek with Walking with Nomads we walked a huge circle in the M’Hamid desert, exploring different areas of the desert, some so different from the one before that it would feel like we were suddenly on another planet. Even though all were beautiful, both my girlfriend and I agreed that our favourite by far are the sand dunes.
We walked in or around sand dunes for hours every day but during our second and third day we found ourselves around such huge dunes that we could almost not believe our eyes. Everywhere we looked were magical dunes that made us feel like characters in Disney’s ‘Aladdin’ and in the centre was the largest in the Moroccan Sahara, which our guide called ‘the Father dune’. Walking, playing and taking pictures around there was definitely something we could do for days but there were so many other things that came across our path.
The landscape changed in more ways than we could imagine as we walked on. From rocky mountains to grassy fields. We would also find wild camels roaming, tombs of nomadic legends and interesting fossils. Furthermore, in only 3 days we got to experience both clear skies and burning heat and a rough sandstorm, only to add to the adventure.
Our favourite was obviously being in the Sahara desert, but also escaping our daily lives surrounded by modern luxuries and instead being up close and personal with mother nature, sleeping in tents and enjoying the company of each other and our nomadic friends.
Lastly, to our surprise Walking with Nomads always includes a chef on the treks so even though we were travelling on foot and were constantly on the move, we were served amazing Moroccan food multiple times a day, sometimes even three course! So that’s something that a foodie like myself did really enjoy!
What desert in Morocco should I visit?
After three trips to Morocco I have been to three different areas in the Sahara desert. Previously Zagora and Merzouga but this time, our awesome desert trekking experience took place in a remote desert corner called M’Hamid. Not only is the desert so huge that we could have trekked there for weeks without ever finding ourselves in the same place twice but also it is much more authentic than the previous ones I had been too.
M’Hamid is a bucket list trekking destinations for many as the area is largely untouched by tourism, offers incredible views and is one of the very few places left where Nomads are still living their life in the desert.
Like mentioned above, the landscape and views during our walks were incredible and so different for every day. Furthermore, for three days we did never come across other people, only once spotting another nomad from afar and once seeing another trekking group at a distance.
How to get to the desert from Marrakech?
As you begin planning your Morocco trip you will realise that Morocco is a huge country and distances between different parts of Morocco are no joke! Fortunately, there are incredible sights and things to do to be found all around so it’s perfect to combine some sight-seeing with your drive. Previous to this trip, I have done small bus tours and had private drivers to get from Marrakech to the desert but this time we tried something new …
The Walking with Nomads desert trek takes place in M’Hamid desert, only an hour drive from the city of Zagora. And as there are super cheap and easy direct flights from Marrakech to Zagora airport, we decided we would save a few hours of driving and fly directly to the desert. The flight duration was approx. 45 minutes and was very easy and enjoyable.
However, in 2016 and 2017 when visiting Morocco, we had chosen to drive across the Atlas mountains to reach the desert from Marrakech and highly enjoyed that option as well. I might actually still recommend that option to you if you haven’t done it already as there are amazing sights all along the way. You should probably begin by getting in touch with the team at Walking with Nomads and they’ll help you arrange everything.
I really hope that this brief post about my experience in February 2019 has helped you in any way or inspired you to take on the Sahara desert for yourself! Happy exploring and hope to see you one day 🙂