The Sahara Desert is a bucket list destination with dreamy golden sands, amazing stargazing and incredible views of never-ending dunes.

We were lucky enough to visit the Sahara this year on a 3-day trip from Marrakech to Fes and spent a night in the desert below the stars. It was magical seeing the sand dunes with our own eyes, it truly feels like they go on forever!

We experienced sunrise and sunset and also spent the evening around the campfire. It’s a night to remember!

You can visit the Sahara Desert from Marrakech, Fes or a few other destinations around the country whether you want to book a tour or take the challenge to drive yourself.

In this travel guide, we’re going to show you exactly how to go on a Sahara Desert Tour in Morocco and how to prepare for your trip. There’s so many things we wish we knew before our trip, so we’re excited to share them!

We paid for this Sahara Desert Tour ourselves and booked it through GetYourGuide. This post may contain affiliate links. We will receive a small commission if you make a purchase using these links, at no additional cost to you.

What to expect from a Sahara Desert Tour in Morocco

The Sahara Desert is one of the largest deserts in the world spanning across 10 countries, plus Western Sahara. Morocco is the perfect gateway to explore the popular desert and you can even book yourself on a 3 day Sahara Desert Tour.

Here’s a few things to expect if you’re planning on doing a Sahara Desert Tour:

  1. You’ll get to camp in the Sahara Desert
  2. There’s a lot of driving
  3. Beautiful stopovers in places like Ait Hen Beddou
  4. Unless you book on a private tour, you’ll be travelling with a group of people for 3 days
  5. You may not have control over the places you visit on the tour
  6. There are cheap tours and expensive tours offering the same package in different ways
The Sahara Desert in Morocco
The Sahara Desert in Morocco
Camel in the Sahara
Camel in the Sahara

Need help planning your itinerary? Here’s our 2 Week Morocco Travel Guide!

How to book a Sahara Desert Tour

There are a few different ways to book a Sahara Desert Tour in Morocco and the easiest one is to book online!

GetYourGuide – We booked our tour on GetYourGuide and we searched for a while finding the best reviews and prices for our trip. The tour that we booked was through Ando Travel and we were able to see the itinerary beforehand. It was also possible to pay with our home currency!

Viator – Similar to GetYourGuide, you can use Viator to search for different companies offering similar tours and book one based on reviews and prices. Find tours on Viator here!

At a local company in Morocco – We were worried about doing this as we wanted to start the tour on a specific date. But in Marrakech and Fes, we saw a few tour companies advertising Sahara Desert Tours. The best thing to do is ask them for a price and if not you may be able to book online still.

We booked the Sahara Desert Group Tour from Marrakech to Fes on GetYourGuidehere’s the link!

You can also start in Fes and end in Marrakech or start and end in Marrakech. It really depends on your Morocco itinerary. There’s also options for private tours and more luxurious tours that will cost more money.

How much does a Sahara Desert Tour Cost?

The prices for a Sahara Desert tour are very varied. We’ve heard of tours costing €70 but learned that they were on a coach with 20+ other people and were returning to Marrakech. On the other hand we’ve heard people paying more than €500 for a private tour with a luxury camp.

There’s a tour to suit anyone’s budget and at the end of the day, everyone gets to visit the incredible Sahara Desert.

We paid €150 per person for our Sahara Desert Tour (from Marrakech to Fes) on GetYourGuide. It was one of the lowest prices we found online at the time that took us to Fes after the Sahara Desert.

Here’s our travel costs for Morocco! We noted everything we spent during our 2 week trip, including our Sahara Desert Tour.

The driving time for a Sahara Desert Tour

If we’re being honest, there’s a lot of driving if you do the Marakesh to Fes – Sahara Desert Tour. No matter how much you pay for your Sahara Desert Tour, you’ll always have to survive the long drives.

Our driver stopped every 2 hours for a toilet or snack break for himself and for us. The first two days weren’t too bad, but the journey from the Sahara to Fes on day 3 of the trip was the longest travel day. We were in the car for around 7 hours. Whilst the other days were around 4 hours split up.

During our 3 day Sahara Desert Tour we were in a 9 seater mini van which was great for a shared tour! We saw coaches and 16-seater vans, so we felt quite lucky to be in a smaller group.

Our minivan for our Sahara Desert Tour
Our minivan for our Sahara Desert Tour!

What time of year is best for Sahara Desert?

The best time to visit the Sahara Desert is between March and May (Spring). This is also considered peak season in Morocco as the weather is in between hot and cold. July and August are too hot to visit Morocco which means the Sahara Desert will be much more challenging to visit. However, it’s not impossible!

We also know of someone who visited in January and the desert was freezing at night, so you’ll need to be prepared for the time of year you visit.

We visited in May and the Sahara Desert wasn’t too hot in the daytime and not cold at night, so it worked out well!

How we visited the Sahara Desert Tour from Morocco to Fes

We booked our 3 Day Sahara Desert Tour one month in advance on GetYourGuide. As we mentioned before, there’s so many companies to choose from, so we read the reviews and picked one based on our budget, route and good reviews.

➤ Check out our 3 day Marrakech itinerary and our budget travel costs in Morocco!

Day 1 of our Sahara Desert Tour

Our driver picked us up at 7:40 am ready for a day of adventure and driving! The first part of the journey is smooth with views of green hills and orange buildings

We stopped after 1.5 hours of driving for snacks and a toilet break. The toilet stops during our Sahara Desert Tour were all 2 dirham (but the locals always try to ask for more). The snacks range from cooked food to biscuits or tea.

The next stop was a viewpoint over a traditional village with local merchants selling precious stones found in the mountains. This stop was around 15 minutes!

Village in Morocco
The second stop on our tour

➤ Heading to Chefchaouen? Here’s our 2 Day Chefchaouen Itinerary!

The stop after this was a scenic viewpoint at a higher altitude over the mountains. We could see some peaks with snow! Again, there were local merchants selling refreshments and gifts here.

We then stopped at a scenic viewpoint of Ait Ben Haddou before entering the town on foot with a local guide. We had to pay an extra €3 / 30 MAD per person for this guide and it felt quite mandatory. The guide was definitely worth it though, as he shared lots of information about Ait Ben Haddou.

The tour lasted roughly 1.5 hours, talking about the history, famous movies and TV shows filmed in the area, and how 8 families live in the village including his own family.

The alleys in Ait Ben Haddou
The alleys in Ait Ben Haddou
Ait Ben Haddou Views
Ait Ben Haddou Views

Fun fact – The 3 pillar entrance in front of the town is actually from a movie set and isn’t part of the town! It was built before the town became a UNESCO World Heritage site so it still remains apart of the town. Now movie sets have to be removed after production, so the set of Gladiator has been removed.

The town gets its warm orange tones from being built of mud, water, hay and manure. This material is called Adobe! As pretty as it looks, sadly it’s high maintenance as it melts in the rain, so it has to be rebuilt and maintained during the wet weather.

Ait Ben Haddou in Morocco
Ait Ben Haddou in Morocco

➤ Here’s our 2 Day Fes travel guide based on our experience!

Our guide spoke to us about the difference between cheap Berber scarves and genuine Berber scarves. Cheap scarves are made with the wrong materials and are dyed cheaply, causing them to run when they become wet from rain or sweat.

Genuine scarves are made from cotton and dyed with indigo, these should not ruin when wet. Men traditionally wear dark blue, and women wear light blue. We’re not 100% sure why we were told these stories as they were still selling the cheap scarves, it might be a tactic to make you spend more money.

We didn’t actually buy scarves as we had a sarong and a big hat! If it’s not a windy day, you don’t really need a scarf, it just looks cool!

Scarfs at Ait Ben Haddou cost 130 for a ‘good scarf’ or 35 for a ‘cheap scarf that runs if it gets sweaty’

We were taken to a pricey tourist restaurant (Hôtel Restaurant L’Oasis D’or) for the first lunch during our Sahara Desert Tour where we were given 8 set menu options. All options were between 120-150 MAD and consisted of a soup or salad with a main.

The main options were veg cous cous, chicken cous cous, various meat tagines, cheese pizza and so on. Unfortunately, only the soup and veg cous cous were vegan-friendly, but, they were very filling! For the table we were given bread (Khobz), oranges and dates.

While this was overpriced compared to the food we had eaten in Marrakech (and there were cheaper restaurants nearby) and likely part of a deal with our tour guide, we chose to stick with our group and get to know them over a meal.

Bonus, their toilets are free! If you stop at Hôtel Restaurant L’Oasis D’or during your Sahara Desert Tour, sadly you won’t get the best food but at least you know what to expect.

Vegetable Tagine
Vegetable Tagine
Rock Formations in the Dades
Rock Formations in the Dades

After having lunch and finishing in Ait Benhedou, we hit the road to the Boumalne Dades. It took around 3 hours to reach our accommodation and we stopped at some rock formations on the way called Monkey Fingers.

For the first night of accommodation, we stayed at Maison Amizgh, it was a lovely location but sadly the food was average! Vegan options were basic for us but at least we ate dinner and breakfast.

The hotel was full of group tours all heading to the Sahara Desert the atmosphere was quite nice. We slept to the sound of the crickets at night which was so peaceful and we forgot we were in Morocco for a moment!

➤ Find more places to stay in Morocco!

The location of the first hotel during a Sahara Desert Tour
The location of the first hotel

Day 2 of our Sahara Desert Tour

We left at 8am in the morning and drove for 1.5 hours to our first stop in Tinghir. We spent the morning exploring the Tinghir Village on a guided tour (this one is included) and it was really chill.

The village is filled with beautiful farming lands and we didn’t really see any other groups. Our guide was so friendly and showed us around the fields pointing out vegetables or fruit.

We were taken to a carpet shop where they explained the different styles of rugs, it was interesting to learn the different materials they used but we knew they were going to try to sell us a rug so it felt a bit off. They didn’t bother us too much as we didn’t hesitate about not needing a rug (although they were beautiful).

Exploring the farmland of Tinghir
Exploring the farmland of Tinghir

But the highest price rug they mentioned was €400 and the lowest they went was €80. They are handmade so maybe that’s a good price, we don’t really shop for expensive interior items! Someone in our group bought a rug, so it was worth it for them!

After walking around the village, we headed to Todra Gorge and the same guide as before showed us around. We only spent 15 minutes at Todra Gorge walking through the gorge before we headed to another touristy restaurant (Maison d’hôtes Anissa).

When we sat down at the restaurant, our guide asked us for tips, which was a shame, but we gave him 20 dirham anyway.

The Todra Gorge in Morocco
The Todra Gorge in Morocco
A bad vegetable tagine in Morocco
A bad vegetable tagine in Morocco

➤ We also have a 2 Week Morocco Travel Guide so you can plan your trip!

After lunch, we travelled 2 hours to get to Merzouga where we prepared for our trip to the Sahara Desert. Our tour guide took us to a small hotel in the town of Merzouga (the gateway to the Sahara), we could already see sand dunes on our drive there. We left our big luggage in the minivan and took a bag of essentials.

If you’re booking the same Sahara Desert Tour as us, you really don’t need much in your bag. There are no showers at the basic camp, so you don’t need shampoo and there was no electric plugs in our tent.

As we’re vegan we didn’t want to write a camel as we don’t believe animals have to serve humans. Check out our experience travelling Morocco as a vegan!

Locals in the Sahara Desert
Locals in the Sahara Desert
Amy in awe of the Sahara Desert
Amy in awe of the Sahara Desert

However we had to follow a guide to get to our campsite and he needed to bring all of his camels with him, plus some people in our group rode them too! Dan took photos of them as we walked next to the camels.

The walk was about 30 minutes to an area just near our camp where we waited for the sun to set! This was the perfect time to take photos of us in the dunes! In April the sunset just before 8 pm and we then walked to the campsite to be allocated our rooms.

The sand dunes of the Sahara Desert in Morocco
The dunes of Morocco

There was an option to upgrade to the luxury tent, but we were happy to stick to our budget and go for the basic camp. For a basic tent, they were super comfy with a bed and alight. There were shared toilets for the group and a dining hall where we all ate dinner.

The dinner here was so much better than the tourist lunch places we were taken to previously on the tour.

Considering we’d already had a long day, dinner was at 9pm and we then had a campfire with dance and music. The hosts at the campsite gave the atmosphere such a fun environment!

Basic Camp on a Sahara Desert Tour
Basic Camp on a Sahara Desert Tour
Campfire in the Sahara Desert
Campfire in the Sahara Desert

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Day 3 of our Sahara Desert Tour

In the morning we woke up at 6am to watch the sunrise over the sand dunes before making our way back to the restaurant in Merzouga to eat breakfast and shower. Some people at our camp went on ATVs just before breakfast.

The breakfast was another buffet style and as vegans, we just ate bread and jam again, but we asked for some fruit. It’s always a good idea to have backup snacks.

The drive on the third day is 7 hours long with only a few stops. The scenery felt quite desert-ish and we also saw a big blue lake!

We stopped at a restaurant that felt like in the middle of nowhere and it was basically empty but we were still given a 120 dirham tourist menu. If you get taken to Maison d’hôtes Anissa, we recommend asking to go somewhere else.

The Sahara Dunes
The Sahara Dunes
The monkeys in the forest
The monkeys in the forest

The food at this place isn’t very good and they even have another menu for half the price that they don’t give out to group tours. These are the downsides of going with a group tour vs privately but as we were on a budget in Morocco, it’s the choice we made.

We hit the road after this before making one last stop to Cèdre Gouraud Forest where there were ‘wild’ monkeys on the side of the road. There were locals offering nuts for a price. We recommend keeping your distance from the monkeys but they do seem motivated by food!

Our final stop was Fes where we all said goodbye to each other and our driver dropped us at different points around the medina to reach our riads.

➤ Use our Fes itinerary to plan the next part of your Morocco trip!

Overview of the Sahara Desert Tour in Morocco

Overall we do recommend visiting the Sahara Desert by Tour in Morocco and although we love adventure, it would have been challenging by ourselves. Our group were amazing and we saw some incredible sights for a great price!

The Sahara Desert is the main highlight of the tour and the reason to be travelling many miles through Morocco. There are many other beautiful destinations that we visited along the way, so the tour is an adventure in itself and we would recommend it to anyone visiting Morocco.

You just have to be prepared for the long drives and mandatory visits if you pick a cheaper tour.

Another thing to mention is when driving in Morocco, there are many checkpoints where the Moroccan Police ask for the driver’s documents. Our driver also made sure we had our seatbelts on for these checkpoints.

Lunch & Hotel stops on our Sahara Desert Tour

  • 1st stop for lunch: Hôtel Restaurant L’Oasis D’or
  • 1st night accommodation: Maison Amizgh
  • 2nd stop for lunch: Maison d’hôtes Anissa
  • 2nd night accommodation: Nomads Camp near Merzouga (Basic)
  • 3rd lunch: Maison d’hôtes Anissa

Is there a phone signal in the Sahara Desert?

Yes! In some parts of the Western Sahara, you’ll be able to use your mobile phone!

We didn’t really go deep into the Sahara Desert but when we were camping our phone data worked fine! The only problem was we didn’t have electricity at the camp so we wanted to preserve our camera battery.

We used Telekom throughout our trip 2 week trip in Morocco but if you’re on a short visit we recommend buying an E-sim from Airalo.

The village of Tinghir during a Sahara Desert Tour
The village of Tinghir during a Sahara Desert Tour

Is it worth going to the Sahara Desert?

Yes! It’s worth visiting the Sahara Desert in Morocco especially if you’re spending a week or two in the country. We almost didn’t book this tour as we weren’t sure if the driving was going to be exhausting and it really isn’t too bad in the end.

Our alternative for visiting the Sahara Desert would be to visit the Ait Ben Haddou and the Agafay Desert as day trips from Marrakech then take the train to Fes. But we’re so glad we booked the 3 Day Sahara Desert Tour and will keep our memories safe!

Have the best trip to Marrakech and find us on Instagram (@thesunrisedreamers)! Check out more of our Morocco Travel Guides.

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how to visit the sahara desert in Morocco travel guide - four images showing what the sahara desert tour looks like
sahara desert in Morocco travel guide - four images showing what the sahara desert tour is like

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