All the Information to Spend a Night in the Desert of Marrakech

 All the Information to Spend a Night in the Desert of Marrakech

During a stay in Marrakech, spending a night in the Sahara desert is an unmissable experience. Sleeping under the stars and enjoying a magnificent sunrise over the dunes is the guarantee of spending a moment full of magic that will leave you with memories for life. In this guide, I invite you to discover the different options that are available to spend the night in the desert of Marrakech.

On the agenda of this article

  • Where to sleep in the desert in Marrakech?
  • Spend the night in the Agafay desert in Marrakech
  • All-inclusive packages
  • My favorite places to sleep in the Agafay desert
  • Dinner formulas
  • Where to spend a night in the Marrakech desert? In Zagora in the Sahara!
  • All-inclusive packages in the Zagora desert
  • Where to sleep in the Zagora desert in Morocco?
  • Where to sleep in the desert in Marrakech?
  • Spend the night in the Agafay desert in Marrakech
  • All-inclusive packages
  • My favorite places to sleep in the Agafay desert
  • Dinner formulas
  • Where to spend a night in the Marrakech desert? In Zagora in the Sahara!
  • All-inclusive packages in the Zagora desert
  • Where to sleep in the Zagora desert in Morocco?
Where to sleep in the desert in Marrakech?

The desert that you can discover simply by leaving the city of Marrakech is none other than the Sahara desert, the most extensive arid zone in the world, which extends to Morocco, but also to Algeria, Tunisia, Sudan , Egypt, Chad, Libya, Mali, Niger and Mauritania.

Several areas of the Sahara are on the territory of Morocco, the two most important are the Zagora desert and the Merzouga desert. The Zagora desert is about 360 km from the city of Marrakech, so it is the ideal place to make a 2 day and 1 night excursion. The Merzouga desert is a slightly less arid sector, where the landscapes are even more impressive. However, this desert is just over 500 km from Marrakech and 10 hours away. It will therefore rather be necessary to devote several days and a larger budget to visit it during a stay in Marrakech.

But for short excursions, the best alternative is to discover the Agafay desert, which is only about thirty kilometers south of the city.

A large number of agencies and tour operators offer excursions to the desert from Marrakech, with quite varied activities and prices, which is why it is not always easy to make the right choice.

Many other excursions also offer to leave from Ouarzazate. To help you make your decision, here is a selection of the most interesting excursions, which you can book online even before your trip to Morocco.

Spend the night in the Agafay desert in Marrakech

If you want an incredible and affordable experience just a stone’s throw from Marrakech, taking an Agafay desert tour is probably what you need. The desert stretches south of Marrakech, it is not a sandy desert, but a rocky desert, a haven of peace with majestic landscapes where the fauna and flora are surprisingly diverse.

The advantage of the Agafay desert is that it is the most easily accessible from Marrakech, since you will be there in about forty minutes by road. And even if it must be admitted that its landscapes are not as impressive as those of Zagora or Merzouga, this vast arid and rocky plateau still has some nice surprises in store for you, and spending a night there will be a memorable experience.

All-inclusive packages

It is possible to get to the Agafay desert in various ways, but the most practical is to opt for an all-inclusive package: trip, meals and accommodation.

From Marrakech, you can for example leave for 1 day and 1 night in the Agafay desert. From your hotel or riad in Marrakech, you will be picked up in the early afternoon and you will join the camp in the desert to have a small snack with tea and Moroccan pastries, in a magnificent setting. You can then take a camel ride, quad or buggy ride through the desert, before returning to camp to watch the sunset and enjoy. You will then spend the night around the campfire in the company of nomads, in a warm atmosphere, and you will spend the night in a Bedouin tent. The next morning, after enjoying a sunrise over the desert and an authentic Moroccan breakfast, you will take the road back to Marrakech. Tour price? 140$ per person 

My favorite places to sleep in the Agafay desert

If you prefer to choose your own accommodation, you also have several options of camps and accommodations where to spend the night in the Agafay desert in Marrakech.

The Selina Agafay Nomad Camp is a 3-star hotel which has a restaurant, a garden, a terrace and beautiful family rooms. You have several options for sleeping depending on your budget: you can book a bed in a large dormitory tent for $21, book a small tent from $75 for two or even a loft glamping tent for $267.
If you want to spend an exclusive stay in the desert, I recommend the Inara Camp in the Agafay desert! This superb camp is very appreciated by travelers for its quality service and its beautiful rooms. For one night, count around $256 for two with breakfast.

Dinner formulas

If spending the night in the Agafay desert doesn’t appeal to you that much, there are also other activities that only include a sunset dinner in the Sahara. Here is a small selection of these dinners in the Agafay desert:

The second dinner at dusk will be held in the Agafay Desert Camp, a very charming and romantic place, especially at dusk when the lanterns are lit. Count $72 for a traditional dinner in the Sahara desert.

Dinner with a camel or quad ride in the desert closest to Marrakech will cost you $90 per person.

Where to spend a night in the Marrakech desert? In Zagora in the Sahara!

The real name of the Zagora desert is the Erg Chigaga desert. Zagora is the nearest city to this desert, it is about 360 km and a little less than 6 hours drive from Marrakech, but the desert dunes are still more than 50 km away and can only be reached by no paved road. This destination is still much more quickly accessible than Merzouga, and it is an environment very close to the typical image that one can have of an African desert, unlike the Agafay desert.

Taking an excursion to the Zagora desert is therefore the best option to discover the Sahara desert and its vast dunes without going too far from Marrakech, and without having to devote three days or more to it. In addition to spending a night in a camp, you can practice many activities there.

All-inclusive packages in the Zagora desert

Here is a selection of the best excursions for you including one or more nights in the Zagora desert:

You can take a 2 days and 1 night excursion in the Zagora desert. Departing from Marrakech, you will cross the High Atlas mountains and first reach Ouarzazate, at the gates of the desert, for a lunch break. You will then continue through the Draa Valley and discover the oasis of Agdz before reaching Zagora. Camel ride in the dunes, sunset in the desert, dinner under the stars around a campfire. you will live like a Berber during this safari. After spending the night in a tent, you will enjoy a breakfast and join the road by camel. On the return trip, before reaching Marrakech, you will stop to visit the fortified village of Aït Ben Haddou, a village listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site where some scenes from Game of Thrones were filmed. Cost of the excursion? $90 per person.

You can spend 2 days in the Zagora desert via Kasbah Ben Haddou at a more reasonable price. This excursion includes more or less the same places of interest as the previous one and costs only73$ per person.

2 days in Zagora at the same price as the first excursion: $90 per person. The only difference between these 2 excursions is the operator that offers it. This is offered by Marrakesh Travel Services.

Where to sleep in the Zagora desert in Morocco?

If you do not want to take part in one of the tours offered by the various Moroccan agencies, here are some addresses that should make you spend a dream night in the Zagora desert 😉

The Majorelle Desert Camp, as its name suggests, is a camp in the middle of the Zagora desert. You will therefore sleep in a luxurious tent in which you will find a very comfortable bed. For only $45, you will enjoy a traditional night with a local breakfast included.

If sleeping in a tent is not your thing, here is an accommodation that might suit you better: Riad Dar Sofian. It is not in the desert itself but is only a few kilometers away. In this 4-star hotel, you can directly organize your excursions in the Zagora desert from the reception, so it’s a perfect alternative to enjoy it just as much. Count for one night in the establishment, about $85 with breakfast included.

Why spend a night in the Merzouga desert?

The Merzouga desert is undoubtedly the best possible destination for people who want to live an emotional experience and discover some of the most spectacular landscapes in Morocco. To the south of it are the dunes of Erg Chebbi, which in places reach more than 150 meters high. The real name of this part of the Sahara desert is the Erg Chebbi desert, and Merzouga is the name of the city closest to it.

The Merzouga desert is the most majestic site, but it is also the furthest from Marrakech. The distance is more than 500 km and even without stopping the journey takes about ten hours. This is why usually excursions to this region last at least 3 days. These excursions include several stops on the way to make other tourist discoveries that can allow you to learn a lot about Moroccan culture.
During the 3-day excursion that I suggest, you will cross the High Atlas mountains, and in particular the Tizi Ntichka pass, the opportunity for you to discover Kasbahs and in particular that of Aït Ben Haddou and Taourirte near from Ouarzazate. The afternoon you will pass in the Valley of the roses before putting down your suitcases in Tinghir. For the second day, you will take the road of the 1,001 kasbahs to the Toudra gorges before continuing your crossing of the desert to the camp, the ideal opportunity to go camping in Marrakech and its surroundings. The last day is dedicated to the way back through the High Atlas mountains. For this escapade, count $120 per person.
All-inclusive package to spend the night in the desert of Merzouga
There are other possibilities for going on excursions in the Merzouga desert that I will present to you without further ado:
Departing from Fez this time, you will also have the opportunity to spend 1 night in the desert of Merzouga but to devote less than 3 days to it. We return here to the 2-day format which will cost you 170$ per person.
A 3-day tour from Marrakech to the Merzouga desert and Fez, another major city in Morocco. This circuit is the perfect opportunity to visit Marrakech, the Sahara desert but also Fez. It will allow you to optimize your trip to Morocco for only 215 $ per person.
My good accommodation plans to spend the night in the desert of Merzouga
Once again, you may want to be completely in control of your program during your trip to Morocco, for that here are some fantastic addresses where to spend the night in the Merzouga desert 
The Desert Berber Fire-Camp is the first place I suggest. Here is a camp in the middle of the desert rated 3 stars. Breakfast is included and a shuttle will pick you up at the airport. If you don’t know anything about the Sahara desert, it’s not a problem because the reception of the camp will propose excursions to you and they will explain to you which places are worth seeing. Count for a dream night only30$.
The Best Luxury Camp is, as its name suggests, once again a camp. But this one is special since it has 5 stars. This camp also offers a shuttle and excursion service, as well as a breakfast included. As for the tents, they are equipped with carpets and the bedding will be very comfortable. Count for this 100$ per night 🤩
Prepare well for your excursion in the Moroccan desert
To ensure that your night in the Marrakech desert goes as smoothly as possible, here are some tips and practical information:
Autumn and spring are the two best seasons to visit Marrakech. Winter is also a relatively good time of the year to travel, but expect to have to endure the cold during the night in the desert and therefore bring very warm clothes, especially if you sleep in a tent. During the summer months, the hot and dry climate is often difficult enough to bear in the city, and the atmosphere is even more stifling in the middle of the desert. To know everything, consult my guide to know when to go to Marrakech
To spend the day in the desert, bring light, loose clothing that covers the body to protect you from the sun. Prefer lighter clothes, which retain less heat from the sun.
Do not forget to take a headgear, hat, bucket hat or cap, it is very important to cover your head to avoid sunstroke. A scarf will also be useful to protect you from sand and dust.
Wear comfortable shoes for long walks, if possible high shoes, so that the sand does not get in too easily.
Bring a backpack that is not too bulky and heavy. Only put essential items in it, such as a water bottle and a snack, your toiletry bag, sunscreen, a flashlight or even a small first aid kit.
In any season, the nights can be cool, so also plan a sweater and thick socks.
Place your smartphone, camera and any other electronic device in a pouch or case that can protect them from sand, which seeps everywhere and can cause serious damage.
I hope you enjoyed this article and that it answered all your questions about nights in the desert of Marrakech. If you decided that this adventure was not for you, don’t worry, I also have a dedicated guide to find where to sleep in Marrakech itself 😉

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