Why You Need to Stay 2 Nights in the Sahara Desert
Morocco has become Instagram’s hottest “it” destination—the mosaic tiles, swaying palm trees, and luxurious riads are a mainstay of travel Instagrammers for good reason.
Probably one of the most ubiquitous “bucket list” items on a Moroccan adventure is a stay in the world’s most famous desert—the #Sahara.
Insert photo on camelback here:
After our recent visit to #Morocco, I DEFINITELY agree that staying in the Sahara is an absolute MUST. But it’s worth doing right.
Most people tack on one night in the Sahara as part of their circuit through Morocco. But to really enjoy the Sahara experience, I think you owe it to yourself to do two nights. Below, I outline our experience and the reasons why two nights in the Sahara is a MUST.
Before getting started, I have to give a huge shout out to Treasures of Tangiers. The director, Adnan, took care of our entire trip and made a lot of our special moments possible. We did get a discount, but I highly recommend their services! Having our own driver was especially helpful during the desert part of our trip.
Ok, now on to why I think you should book two nights in the Sahara!
It’s far away
Many people don’t realize that it is a long journey to get to the Sahara (you can see Algeria from the dunes).
We departed #Marrakech in the morning and drove all day before staying the night at a riad midway. We departed early again the next morning and drove most of the day. For this reason alone, it seems silly to make such a long journey and only stay one night.
Plus, we arrived at the camp before any other guests. By the time everyone else arrived, it was already time for dinner.
Side note: One couple on a budget trip had lost an entire day because of wonky bus schedules. They arrived late and had to leave before sunrise the following morning to try to find a way back to Marrakech. In this instance, I felt like springing for a driver was worth the time we saved. Plus, the journey itself was enjoyable.
Everybody has to rush in the morning
Here is how the “schedule” goes for almost every camp visitor in the desert, regardless of camp:
Arrive late afternoon.
Camel ride to camp.
Sit around the camp fire.
Wake up early for breakfast the following morning.
It’s kind of like a “greatest hits” of the desert, but everyone gets essentially the same experience. And it’s fine if you’re pressed for time, but it doesn’t let you fully appreciate the beauty of the Sahara.
We did so many things in the desert! Which leads me to my next point…
There is so much to do!
We maximized our time in the desert and it was one of my favorite parts of the trip. Since we had one full day (and a half day on either side), we had time to relax and have lots of fun!
For me, I loved waking up in the mornings to a quiet camp. I sat in the sun and read my book or wrote in my journal. (Nathaniel enjoyed some extra Zs.)
Our guide, Adnan, and our driver, Mustafa, took us on a 4-wheel drive adventure through the dunes. We stopped at an oasis for mint tea and only got stuck in the sand once!
After our ride, we found this random little restaurant that served amazing Moroccan pizza (that’s really the only way I can describe it). Plus, I made a new cat friend!
One of my favorite activities I HAVE EVER DONE was take an ATV tour through the desert. Not only did I feel badass, but we were out in the middle of nowhere with the absolutely beautiful dunes. (I may even do an entire post on just this portion of the trip.)
In the afternoon, we saddled up for our camel ride into camp.
Since we had had our campfire experience the previous evening, we sat at dinner long after the other guests had headed outside. It was so nice to talk and eat and recap our day.
The campfire and traditional music was a blast. Plus, our fellow campers on the second night were especially lively and we stayed up well after the fire died out.
On the following morning, a second set of guests hustled out early. I once again enjoyed a quiet camp. I found a dune to practice some yoga, took a walk amongst the dunes, and enjoyed our final breakfast at our own pace.
It was a perfect amount of time and probably couldn’t have been accomplished on just one rushed night. Plus, the two nights in camp were some of our best sleeps we’d had the entire trip!
The weather may not be favorable
This was crazy for us to learn, but it does rain in the Sahara more often than you would think. And not only did it rain during our arrival, but we were caught in a sandstorm.
While we were driving on the road, we couldn’t see anything outside our windows. It was a bummer, because we had planned on arriving to camp for the first time on our camels.
The camp still offered the ride, but we knew that having sand forcefully flung in our faces would make for a less than fun experience, so we decided to drive in to camp and do our ride the following evening.
Our camp cohorts didn’t have that choice, so they made the most of the situation and rode in anyway. But I can’t imagine it was a lot of fun (since riding a camel is already uncomfortable in the best conditions).
Instead, we just made a ridiculous video.
It might be the best part of your trip
Honestly, our time in the Sahara stands out as one of the highlights of our trip. The craziness of #Marrakech and #Fes was definitely a wonderful experience, but there was something other-worldy about the Sahara.
It is so beautiful and pristine and still—it’s a great counterbalance to the frantic energy of the cities. I felt like the sand had a personality—it changed with the wind and the lighting. The colors and patterns were mesmerizing. We kind of joked about it, but I did take hundreds of photos of sand.
If you ever have the opportunity to visit Morocco, it may be one of my favorite destinations so far (well, to be fair, it is on the continent of Africa—my favorite place in the world). And when you are there, you CANNOT miss a trip to the Sahara. Just do yourself a favor—make sure to give yourself time to actually enjoy it.
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