Ever since we decided to start our Round The World trip in Morocco, I dreamed about doing a desert trip, riding a camel and staying in a tent surrounded by sand dunes.
When I started to do research, I learned that there were different types of accomodations and that was when I decided I wanted this to be the highlight activity of our trip. We spent less in hotel accommodations in Marrakesh and Fez (stayed at riads inside the Medina and paid an average of $50 per night), and booked a desert tour that included staying in a “luxury” desert camp. I strongly encourage you do the same because it will give you an unforgettable experience!
We did a three days / two nights tour and traveled by car from Marrakesh to Merzouga, a village in the Sahara Desert in Morocco, where the camp was located, finalizing our tour in Fez. You can also do it from Fez to Marrakesh or having any of these cities as starting and ending point if you are just visiting one city.
On the way, we stopped in Ouarzazate at the Ksar of Ait Ben Haddou, a fortified city built in earthen clay architecture and a Unesco World Heritage Site.
This area is called the Hollywood of Africa, because it is a famous destination for film makers and the Atlas Film Studios are located here. We spent the first night at the Hotel Xaluca Dades. www.xaluca.com/en/hotel/hotel-xaluca-dades
The second day we saw the Dades Gorges, a small but beautiful canyon between the Atlas Mountains and the Jbel Saghro Mountains.
Finally, we crossed the Desert Gate in Erfoud and drove about 35 more minutes to arrive to the village of Merzouga for a camel ride in the desert that would take us to the camp where we would spend our second night.
The camels were ready, kneeled and waiting for us. We ask our driver to fix the scarfs we purchased in Marrakesh into a turban and started our dreamed adventure. We sat in the camels and the Berber guide (ethnic group indigenous of North Africa) gave the command for the camels to rise. That was the first WOW moment, when we felt so high up and glanced at the first view of the magnificent sand dunes ahead of us.
It was just us in the two camels and the Berber guide with his turban and djellaba (tunic) walking in the desert. As we left behind our driver’s car and moved deeper inside the sand dunes, the second WOW moment occurred! It was sooo beautiful!!! As far as we could see there were dunes of perfectly golden sand forming soft waves against the spotless blue sky. The Berber man perfectly guided the camels in a zig zagging motion going up and down in the sand dunes. The view was magnificent, so magical, so mystical and I thanked GOD for giving us the opportunity to experience it together and by ourselves, no crowds, no noises, just us in complete communion with nature.
The camel ride to our camp was over an hour so we really had time to take in all the beauty. Our Berber guide was super complacent and made various stops to take us pictures. We, of course, were frantically taking pictures and videos from our camels, trying to capture all the greatness we were witnessing. At one point my daughter Valerie said, “Mom please put down the phone and just admire the view.” I obeyed. She was right! Sometimes we are so focused in capturing everything through a lens to share it in our social media, that we fail to just enjoy the moment and take the picture in our heart and mind where it will never be forgotten.
When we started to see the camp in the distance we were really excited by how beautiful it looked. White tents formed a rectangle and in the inside a walkway full of rugs was waiting for us. We were welcomed by Berber hosts with wet towels to clean ourselves from the sand. Plates of dates, raisins and almonds were served for us along with some mint green tea in a seating area at the entrance of the camp.
Later we were directed to our tent and the third WOW moment occurred. The tent was huge, had a king sized bed, bath robes, a seating area, lamps, decoration details and of course its own bathroom and shower with hot water. For more information go to www.desertluxurycamp.com
Valerie decided to rest but I was as excited as a little girl and went outside to watch the sunset. It was the best decision I ever made because I witness the most amazing display of yellows and oranges in the sky as the sun set over the sand dunes.
We took a shower, changed clothes and had dinner in a special dining tent. Tables were set with linen tablecloths, candles and ceramic dinnerware. We had chicken tagine, couscous and fruits for dessert.
After dinner we went outside to listen to the Berber men playing their local instruments & singing. Later on, we seated with our fellow guests in an area full of pillows to watch the moon coming out, had nice conversation and lost ourselves in a sky full of stars.
It was a magical day and night! One that we will never forget!
The following morning we had a typical Moroccan breakfast served in the dining tent. Our things were packed and a 4×4 vehicle was waiting to take us to meet our driver. I didn’t want to leave and decided to take a few minutes to enjoy once more the beauty of the sand dunes.
I asked Valerie to take some final pictures. Since this was my dream, for a moment I pretended I was a model doing a photo shoot in the desert. Apparently the photos came out nice because, when I posted one of them on Instagram/Facebook it had the most likes that I have ever had in a picture.
So my point is, if you have a dream, make it come true! Do it for yourself, you deserve it!
If you go to Morocco, this is a MUST DO! You won’t regret it.
DON’T WAIT, MAKE A PLAN, POSTPONE NOTHING.
Note: Our Desert Trip was planned by the agency Marrakech-Select.com. Thanks to our driver and guide Mohammed who did an excellent job.