I publish this article with the idea of answering all the doubts that may arise when preparing a trip to the Merzouga desert , one of the main places to visit in Morocco . Before continuing I would like to tell you something that I consider essential, especially if it is the first time that you are going to travel to Morocco . You should know that if you want to enjoy Morocco, you must forget about the clock and be patient since the rhythms flow slowly there. You must also have an open mind to the cultural contrast that you are going to find (although I still think that we are very similar to them, much more than an English, a French or a Nordic, to give a few examples).
FLIGHTS TO MARRAKECH
As we discussed in the post what to visit between Marrakech and the Merzouga desert , the main access routes to the Erg Chebbi dunes (as the Merzouga desert is also known) are from Marrakech and Fez . I flew to Marrakech with Ryanair, where a vehicle reserved on the AutoEurope website was waiting for me . I decided to discard a 4 × 4 and reserve a diesel car (important) to minimize expenses.
HOW TO GET TO THE DESERT OF MERZOUGA BY CAR
The drive from Marrakech to Erg Chebbi is about 10 hours (550 km). You can choose between these two options:
Option A : cross the N9 to Ouarzazate, then the N10 to Tinejdad and finally the R702 to Merzouga.
Option B : starting also on the N9 but diverting first on the N12 and then on the N13 (from Rissani) that leads to Merzouga.
WHEN TO TRAVEL TO THE DESERT OF MERZOUGA
It is said that it is not advisable to travel to the Merzouga desert on summer dates (from June to September) due to the high temperatures. Traveling in spring or autumn , when the heat is not so suffocating and at night it is not too cold, is perhaps the best option.
However, more and more people decide to go to the Sahara desert in winter, and even in summer, the latter season in which temperatures of up to 52ºC are reached (I experienced them in the first person as you can see in the photo). Going well protected from the sun (with clothes, not just sunscreen creams) is the key to withstand it.
HOW MANY DAYS DO I NEED TO TRAVEL TO THE DESERT OF MERZOUGA
The trip is usually done in 2 nights / 3 days, sleeping the first night halfway between Marrakech and Merzouga and the second and last night in the desert. The return to Marrakech is usually done the next day at a stretch, something that seems to me a bit of a beating due to the number of kilometers that exist. The first night I slept in the Dadés, which is 6 hours from Marrakech, specifically in the Jardin de la Source that you can book at this link (it is cheap and highly recommended). Since that first day I stopped at Tizi n'Tichka , Ait Ben Haddou , Ouarzazate and at the Skoura Palm Grove , it took me 11 hours to get to Dadés. There are many travel agencies who offer the 3 days tour from Marrakech to Fes if you are interested to book one.
TRAVEL WITH CHILDREN TO THE DESERT OF MOROCCO
Traveling to the Merzouga desert with the little ones is quite an adventure. The experience of climbing on the back of a dromedary (it is not a camel as many claim), getting lost among the infinite dunes or sleeping in a tent will enchant you and… you will have a blast!
However, not everything should be pink or "happy flower" with the tiny ones since on a trip to Morocco with children we must take precautions. And I mean especially when it comes to food, sun protection, the suffocating heat, enduring long hours of commuting by car while avoiding the , is there a long way to go? or vomiting, to give a couple of examples.
FREE TRIP OR GUIDED TOUR TO THE DESERT
Access to the desert is free, so you do not necessarily need to hire an organized tour. You can sleep in a bag and even cross the dunes with your own vehicle (4 × 4 obviously), although it is something that I suggest you not to do to avoid destroying the beauty of the dunes by playing the goose and breaking the harmony and eternal silence. This is something that should be regulated, and allowed only, for example, to companies that need to take their clients or luggage (when they go on dromedary) to the tents. If you have chosen a 3 days tour from Marrakech to Merzouga, you will not find a problem with this option, many provide it.