The BEST Sahara Desert Tours from Marrakech, Morocco

Looking for the absolute best Sahara desert tours from Marrakech? Read on for the details!

Making a visit to the Sahara Desert of Morocco was absolutely a top bucket list, once in a lifetime experience for me – and I’m sure it will be for you too!

The way that the sand dunes start rising out of the desert as you approach Merzouga, knowing that in front of you is the Sahara Desert, and you’re going to be riding a camel through it, is absolutely priceless.

I had high expectations for our time in the Sahara Desert and truly all my expectations were met or exceeded. I loved this experience so much, and it is absolutely worth the time, energy, and effort it takes to make it out to the Sahara to see it.

This post contains affiliate links. When you buy through these links, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. These commissions help keep this site running. Thank you so much for your support!

Where is the Sahara Desert in Morocco?

The Sahara is on the very eastern edge of Morocco, basically on the border of Algeria. The sand dunes in Morocco are known as Erg Chebbi, and are located just outside of the town of Merzouga.

Can You Do A Day Trip to the Sahara Desert from Marrakech?

It takes approximately 8-9 hours to get to Merzouga from Marrakech or Fes, requiring quite a bit of time and effort to get out to the desert. So, it is not possible to do a daytrip to the Sahara desert from Marrakech.

You’ll either need to drive yourself or book one of these Sahara desert tours from Marrakech.

The extra time is totally worth it though!

(However, if you really, truly only have time for a daytrip, check out the 10 best day tours from Marrakech here)

Why Take a Tour?

Glamping in the Sahara | Sahara Desert Tours from Marrakech

There are several reasons why taking a tour out to the Sahara Desert (instead of driving yourself) is a good idea.

First, traffic in the bigger cities (like Marrakech, Fes, Casablanca, Tangier, etc) is absolutely BONKERS. There are scooters zipping in and out everywhere, cars honking and packed tightly, donkeys in the street, and people who literally cross right in the middle of traffic. And city driving in Morocco is hair-raising.

Second, the roads in Morocco outside of the cities are really, really winding. You’ll constantly be weaving in and out of traffic and shooting the gap to get around slower cars.

Taking a tour is great because you don’t have to worry about logistics or managing traffic, you can just relax and enjoy the experience!

Why These Tours?

I did a lot of research when putting together this roundup and picking these recommendations. Since, of course, we didn’t do all the tours, what I recommend is based on our experience going into the Sahara, what we thought were pros and cons, and different experiences to prioritize.

When we go back to Morocco, I would book one of these Sahara desert tours from Marrakech in a heartbeat.

What These Tours All Have in Common (Important!)

I chose these tours based on a few different criteria:

➡️All include pickup from your hotel or riad in Marrakech

➡️All include transfer in an air-conditioned van

➡️All tours are led by friendly, kind, helpful, and engaging guides, and spending time with your guide will be a highlight of the trip.

➡️All tours include going by camel into the Sahara

Every Tour Has An Almost Identical Nighttime Itinerary When You’re in the Sahara Desert

Every desert tour follows an almost exactly identical itinerary when you’re in the Sahara dunes. To save you reading the exact same description over and over of what a night in the Sahara is like, I’m going to give you a full description here!

When you arrive in the town of Merzouga on the evening of the second day, you’ll meet up with your desert camp hosts, and ride a camel into the Sahara. It will take about 1.5 hours to reach your camp on the other side of the Erg Chebbi dunes. You’ll watch the magnificent desert sunset from the sand dunes, either in the middle of the dunes, or right at camp.

When you arrive in camp, you’ll find your tent where you’ll spend the night – these are not your typical pop up camping tents – they are well-designed, sturdy, and roomy tents, with running water, a bathroom, and electricity.

Then, enjoy a delectable hot dinner at camp – this dinner will be as delicious as anything you’ve eaten in Morocco! (A fantastic breakfast will also be served in the morning.)

After dinner, the Berber men will make a fire and play traditional music around the flames, and then you will definitely want to go watch the stars in the middle of the dunes!

The 5 Best Sahara Desert Tours from Marrakech

There are a lot of Sahara desert tour options, and many of them have similar elements. For this post, I’m highlighting the best Sahara desert tours in 5 different categories. All of these tours have wonderful and friendly tour guides and a fantastic itinerary.

#1: Best 3 Day Sahara Tour that Starts and Ends in Marrakech

Rating: 4.8 of 5 stars (1145 reviews) | Read all reviews here

This 3-day Sahara tour starts and ends in Marrakech and is by far the most popular tour on this list.

This is a small group tour – other travelers will also be in the vehicle with you.

Here are some of the main points of this tour:

Day 1: Make stops at Ait Ben Haddou and/or Ouarzazate, and stay overnight in the city of Tinghir.

Day 2: Visit the city of Tinghir and the Todra Gorge before heading out to Merzouga. Ride a camel into the Sahara desert for a memorable night surrounded by sand and under the stars (read full description above).

Day 3: The third day, you’ll enjoy another camel ride at sunrise, and have the chance to ride ATVs through the desert before heading back to Marrakech. You’ll end the third day back at your riad in Marrakech.

The entire trip was absolutely breathtaking, it was the experience of a lifetime and we could not recommend it more… The night in the Sahara was beyond our imaginations, we were looked after so well and again the people taking care of us were going above and beyond to make sure everything was perfect for us. 

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – Michael, tour review

Who is this tour good for?

This 3-day tour is perfect for anyone who wants an affordable but epic experience in the desert, while making best use of their time exploring many parts of Morocco. The value of what you get on this tour is unmatched!

Best 3 Day Sahara Tour that Starts in Marrakech & Ends in Fes

Rating: 4.92 of 5 stars | Read all reviews here

This Marrakech to Fes 3 Day Tour is perfect for anyone who wants to continue on to other destinations in northern Morocco after their time in the desert.

This is a small group tour – other travelers will also be in the vehicle with you.

Day 1: Stop for a visit at Ait Ben Haddou, drive through Ouarzazate, and end your day in the beautiful Dades Valley.

Day 2: Explore the Todra Gorge, then head to Merzouga for the night in the Sahara. Ride camels out to your camp nestled in the sand dunes. You’ll enjoy all the typical night activities in the desert (read the full description above).

In this tour, you have the option to book a comfortable camp or the luxury camp.

On Day 3, you’ll enjoy another morning camel ride back to Merzouga, where you’ll enjoy breakfast and then hit the road to Fes, arriving late afternoon with drop-off at your riad or hotel in the city.

This desert tour has been amazing. Starting from the pickup until the drop off, this was well organized and punctual. Our guide Hussain was friendly and helped us learn more about Morocco, the driver Zakaria was professional and fun. The driving was quite long but a fun group made it enjoyable. We stopped in several beautiful locations and the best part of this experience was the visit to a Berber community where we learned about traditional Carpet making technique and of course the camel riding in the Merzouga desert (at sunset and sunrise) and the night at the Bedouin camp. An amazing experience overall and I recommend everyone to try.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – Francesca, tour review

Who is this tour good for?

This tour is perfect for anyone who wants to experience many places in Morocco quickly – as you get Marrakech, Ait Ben Haddou, the Sahara, and Fes in 3 days. This tour is an amazing value for enjoying multiple experiences, and the opportunity to end in a new city instead of backtracking.

Best PRIVATE 3 Day Sahara Tour that Starts in Marrakech & Ends in Fes

Rating: 4.92 of 5 stars | Read all reviews here

This Marrakech to Fes Private 3 Day Tour is perfect for anyone who wants to continue on to other destinations in northern Morocco after their time in the desert.

This is a private tour – you will travel with only your group and your guide.

Day 1: Stop for visits at Ait Ben Haddou and the films studios in Ouarzazate, and end your day in the beautiful Dades Gorge.

Day 2: Check out the Monkey Fingers in the Dades Gorge, and stop by the Todra Gorge, then head to Merzouga for the night in the Sahara. Ride camels out to your camp nestled in the sand dunes. You’ll enjoy all the typical night activities in the desert (read the full description above).

In this tour, you have the option to book a comfortable camp or the luxury camp.

On Day 3, you’ll enjoy another morning camel ride back to Merzouga, and then hit the road to Fes. Make a stop halfway through in Azrou to see the monkeys that live in the cedar forests. You’ll arrive late afternoon in Fes and get dropped off at your riad or hotel in the city.

i can summarize my morocco trip in 1 word: FANTASTIC ! We were lucky to travel with Bari from Marrakech. We discovered best places in north and south morocco including cool Merzouga desert. We have only positive memoeries. Thanks a lot Bari.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – Tour review

Who is this tour good for?

This tour is perfect for anyone who wants to experience many places in Morocco quickly (Marrakech, Ait Ben Haddou, Ouarzazate, Sahara, Fes) but do so in the comfort of a private tour experience, and enjoy the convenience of ending in a new city instead of backtracking.



Pro Tip:

My biggest tip for visiting Morocco is: spend a full day in the Sahara. While you absolutely can have a great experience doing just the overnight, I think if you’re going to spend all that time getting out to the desert, you should stay and play a while. This is what we did, and I’d recommend it to anyone.

So, the next two tours are 4-day tours that give you one full day in the Sahara.

Best 4 Day Tour that Starts and Ends in Marrakech

Rating: 5 of 5 stars | Read all reviews here

This 4 day Marrakech to Marrakech tour gives you an incredible experience out in the desert, as you start and end in Marrakech and get two nights and one full day in the Sahara.

This is also a private tour – only your group will be in the vehicle.

Day 1: Make a stop at Ait Ben Haddou, pass by Ouarzazate, and spend the night in the Dades Valley.

Day 2: Visit the Todra Gorge before you reach Merzouga and the start of the Sahara. Spend the evening and night doing activities in the desert. (more details above)

Day 3: You’ll spend the entire day in the desert today, sandboarding, ATVing, visiting an oasis, and visiting local villages and families near Merzouga.

Day 4: Stop at the market in Rissani, and several viewpoints and a few villages on the way back to Marrakech.

We had a lot of fun with our guide, Hassan, during our 4 days desert trips… The guide gave us a lot of information about Morocco and life in the Sahara desert. The tour itself was full of fun and great desert experience. From the camel ride to the rock climbing, sand boarding and quad biking in the dunes. We highly recommend doing this when visiting Morocco!

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ -Jessnisa, Tour review

This tour is perfect for:

Anyone wanting extra time in the desert, to really soak up the experience, and who needs to head back to Marrakech at the end.

Best 4 Day Tour That Starts in Marrakech and Ends in Fes

Rating: 5 of 5 stars | Read all reviews here

This tour starts in Marrakech and ends in Fes and includes two nights and one full day in the Sahara. This is one of the best Sahara desert tours from Marrakech if you want extra time to play in the desert!

This is also a private tour, so it is only your group and you are not sharing a vehicle with other travelers.

Here’s what you’ll get on this 4 day tour:

Day 1: Make a stop at Ait Ben Haddou, as well as a short visit to the Atlas Film Studio in Ouarzazate. Stay the night in the the lovely Dades Gorge.

Day 2: Drive through the Dades Gorge and the Todra Gorge and visit a palm grove and marble workshop on your way to the Sahara. Arrive in Merzouga and meet your English-speaking Berber guides, who will take you on camels out into the Sahara sand dunes for your night in the desert (full description above).

Day 3: Have a relaxing day hanging out in the Erg Chebbi dunes, ATVing, trying your hand at sandboarding, and visiting a nearby desert village of Khamlia, where you’ll listen to local music and visit the metal mines.

Day 4: Drive from Merzouga through Rissani and Ifrane to Fes.

My friends and I booked a trip to Morocco and wanted to see all of the best parts with little effort on our part which is exactly what we got! Our tour guide Hamid was the best tour guide we could have asked for. Every time we wanted something, he made it happen. I definitely recommend riding the ATV’s through the dunes in the Sahara Desert. 10 out of 10 recommend taking this tour…Best trip ever!

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – tour review

Who is this tour good for?

This tour is perfect for anyone who wants to spend more time in the Sahara (you get a full day here!). The extra time in the desert, plus being dropped off in a new city (Fes) at the end makes this a great value and incredible experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

➡️Should You Book These Sahara Desert Tours Online in Advance or Wait and Book in Marrakech?

You should know that there is definitely the option to wait until Marrakech, find a tour operator in the city (it won’t be hard, there are lots around) and haggle for the lowest price there.

There are pros and cons to this. The obvious pro is that you can definitely score a lower price when you’re haggling in Marrakech than you will pay online.

However, it also comes with some cons. Tour companies with an online presence are much more invested in delivering a quality experience for one big reason: the reviews.

The random tour you booked in the souks of Marrakech doesn’t care the same way because they aren’t relying on reviews for new travelers to book them. Your experience can definitely be altered by this fact.

In particular, if you are a solo female traveler, I would definitely book your Sahara desert tour from Marrakech online ahead of time, as there have been multiple reports of women being hassled by their guides on tours like these.

As Debbie Downer as it sounds, you want to book a tour where the company for sure cares about delivering a great experience and getting positive reviews.

➡️Should You Book a Small Group Tour or Private Tour?

This one is really down to personal preference, and what’s available for the itinerary you want. I could only find private tours for the 4-day tours, for example.

If you’re doing a 3-day tour, though, you have the choice between private and small group. While I used to hate hate hate any type of group tour (there was one tour we did in Cozumel where I felt like us and 500 other people were being herded and shuffled through the streets of Mexico together. I hated this and it put me off of any type of group tour for a long time), I’ve come to really, really enjoy a quality small-group tour.

While it’s certainly a bit of a toss up as to what type of people you’ll be with, we’ve now done many small group tours in many countries we’ve visited, and we’ve loved getting to know and bonding with other travelers.

Getting to hang out with other travelers from other countries has actually ended up being a highlight of our trips now!

➡️What Should You Wear/Bring for Your Sahara Desert Tour?

Headscarf: These really are helpful to protect your head from the sun, wind, and sand (plus they just make you look so legit. You can buy one in any marketplace in Morocco for around 50 dirhams ($5).

The guides will help you tie the scarf in their traditional style.

Loose fitting pants/shorts: You’ll definitely want pants of some kind for riding camels, and loose fitting is the way to go to beat the heat. I wore a pair of pants I bought in Marrakech – you can find this style all over the city.

Dress, kaftan or djallaba: Kaftan and djallabas are traditional Moroccan clothing (long “dress”-like outfits that both men and women wear) and are a great thing to pick up if you want to look SUPER legit in the desert.

Matthew is wearing a kaftan in our camel pictures and he looks absolutely bomb. (Wear shorts underneath and then hike up the kaftan a little bit – it wasn’t hard for him to sit on the camel wearing that outfit).

Jacket: The Sahara can get chilly at night, even if it’s 90 F during the day. I’d definitely bring a light jacket if you’re visiting during the spring or summer. If you’re visiting during the winter, nights get quite cold (lows in the 30’s and 40’s) so I’d bring a heavier coat and possibly other winter gear (hat, gloves).

Sunscreen: No explanation necessary here, but definitely don’t forget this. Matthew always uses this sunscreen stick, and I wear this facial sunscreen for sensitive skin everyday.

Something for motion sickness: No matter what mode of transportation you choose to arrive in the desert, you’re going to have to ride on the winding roads of Morocco. These roads made me suuuuuuuuper nauseous (I actually threw up out the window as we were going through switchbacks in the Atlas Mountains).

All that to say, I’d definitely recommend something for motion sickness.

While dramamine is a tried and true option, I recently tried out the Relief Band for motion sickness and it has worked impressively well!

You wear this device like a watch on your wrist, and it sends out little pulses of electricity to stimulate your vagus nerve. You’ll feel just a little buzz in your wrist and hand (its nothing like getting shocked), and is extremely effective.

Case in point: I gave it to my dad to try out when he went to Mexico, as he has a very delicate stomach. He wore it when they took a ferry between two islands, and the sea was incredibly rough.

Normally in that situation he would be throwing up off the back of the boat literally the entire time, but his stomach was perfectly fine, not even a twinge. MIRACLE PRODUCT!

An E-Sim Card: I like having fast, high speed data when we’re traveling out of the country, and I recently found a new service that for getting inexpensive data while traveling.

Instead of purchasing a local SIM card when arriving in a country, I’m now using an e-sim card from Airalo. I’ve used a lot of different methods in the past to get data when traveling internationally, and let me tell you, buying an e-sim card is EASILY the most affordable, fast, and convenient option.

E-sims are a relatively new thing, so before you purchase, you’ll need to contact your cell phone provider and have them unlock your phone for e-sim use.

Before you leave on your trip, purchase the amount of data that you need from the Airalo website. Then download the app, and when you arrive, toggle on the e-sim card, and that’s it! You can check how much data you’ve used in the app, and top up with more if necessary.

Read More: 35+ of My Favorite Travel Essentials for Women (Outfits, Accessories, and Gear)

Is Doing a Sahara Desert Tour from Marrakech Worth It?

One million percent, yes! It is absolutely worth the time and effort in your Morocco itinerary to go out to the Sahara. This surreal and epic bucket list adventure will be one you never forget!

All of these tours offer incredible experiences with lovely guides, so it’s really just a matter of choosing which one works for your itinerary. Put one of these Sahara desert tours from Marrakech on your Morocco itinerary today!

>>Prefer to drive yourself out to the Sahara? Here’s the absolute best luxury desert camp to stay at + what to expect.

Read More Morocco Articles:

Pin for Later!

Similar Posts