Merzouga Desert Activities
Merzouga is a calm and peaceful town in the Sahara, and though small it offers a surprising amount of fun activities to do.
Here is a list of super-recommended activities you can do in Merzouga: if you are a low-budget traveler like me or prefer to travel a little more luxuriously you will surely find the activity that suits you!
10 Top things to do in Merzouga Desert Activities
Welcome, traveler, to Merzouga. Your journey has brought you here, and new adventures call you to your name. Now that you’ve arrived, you can stay in the security and comfort of your hotel and see the world sink… or you can embrace this new place you came to. Learn their ways. Meet their people. Learn their history. Your hand is already on the handle, isn’t it?
1 - Merzouga Sahara ATV Quad Adventure in Erg-Chebbi desert
We rent a Moto Quad/MTB for 1 hour or more, and the timing was perfect because we could watch the sunset from the top of the highest dunes at the end of the race. We haven’t seen many tourists since the winter season. Temperatures were slightly cold, around 10ºC, and the winds are generally quite strong.
After crossing many dunes, the guide we’ll take you to the top of much higher dunes, from where we had the most spectacular view of the area. Not a single person in the area could hear the sound of wind and quicksand, an unforgettable experience. This exciting adventure is a must if you are in Merzouga. check Merzouga desert Atv Quad Biking
2 - Merzouga Excursion 4x4 around Erg Chebbi desert
Discover the Marzouga Erg Chebbi desert in a 4WD vehicle, It is the best way to explore the attractions around the high dunes such as seasonal lake Dayet Srij, Hassi Labied oasis, fossil mines factory in M’ifis, meet Berber nomad families and get to know their cultures and traditions, listing to the Gnawa music in the village of black people… Enjoy a beautiful panoramic view of this beautiful Sahara desert.
3 - Camel ride at sunset in the desert
No trip to Morocco would be complete without a camel ride in the desert. In Merzouga, you can find several companies that offer camel rides at any time of the day and are generally not too expensive. For travelers who are fascinated by ancient camel caravans, this is the perfect opportunity to feel nomadic for a few hours.
Although these walks are possible all day, the best time is at sunset. find out Sunset camel ride in the high dunes
4 - Sandboarding between the dunes
If you want to discover the desert in a more “alternative” way and find grains of sand everywhere, you should try the sandboard. Although this activity at first looks like something that could be dangerous, it is actually super safe and, believe me, very fun (but what a challenge to come back!).
The sand dunes from Erg Chebbi to Merzouga are very soft, so even if you fall, you don’t hurt yourself. In addition, believe me, it has nothing to do with the skiing we are used to, you go much slower (don’t forget to put the wax under the table). It is also a wonderful activity to do with children.
Imagine the excitement of sliding down a dune at full speed while standing on a board. I did, but I wasn’t up that long. Finally, I sat down at the table because it’s much easier (and just as fun). There are a few shops near the entrance to the desert just next to the Auberge Kasbah Merzouga where you can rent boards. There is also a shop directly on the main street in the city near the mosque where you can rent.
Tip: Do it especially if you’re going with friends. You’ll have a lot of fun.
5 - Look at the stars from you camp or hotel
There is no better place to see the stars than the desert. As Merzouga is a small town, the surrounding sand dunes suffer almost no light pollution, which makes it a privileged place to observe the night sky.
You will be surprised at the clarity of the Milky Way and the size and brightness of the stars. If you want to admire the stars through the optics of a powerful telescope, there is an agency that can help you. This company is called Morocco Desert Stargazing and organizes fantastic desert trips to admire the stars with one of its powerful telescopes.
6 - Plant your tent in Merzouga Sahara desert dunes
One of the best things to do in Merzouga for free. For many people, camping means hiking in the heart of a lush forest, perhaps near a pristine alpine lake or on the banks of a fast-flowing river.
Many imagine the desert as a vast and arid place where they would never pitch a tent. For me, the desert is simply one of the most magical places to camp!
You can check one night in the desert camp with a camel ride In the desert, I witnessed some of the most beautiful sunsets of my life.
Seeing the sun gradually disappear between the dunes while the landscape is painted with warm shades of colors is really a show. Even the dawn in the desert is a moment that you will not forget so easily.
Camping in the desert is a unique experience but requires a little planning.
Make sure you have a good tent, a comfortable and sufficiently thick mattress (desert sand becomes cold as cement), and a warm sleeping bag.
The temperature in the desert drops very quickly at night, so if you want to sleep well it is important to have warm layers under and over your body.
7 - Dayet Srji Lake
Before leaving for Morocco and Merzouga, I do not remember who told me that even near the desert I could see pink flamingos on a salty lake, Dayet Srji, located west of Merzouga.
Flamingos in the middle of the desert? It does not seem possible (nor did it seem possible to me) that so close to the desert there is a lake, an oasis of rest where birds and camels will drink and refresh themselves.
Dayet Srji is within walking distance of the city and takes about 45 minutes. The lake is often dry in summer, but when it is full (usually in winter), it attracts all kinds of migratory and desert birds, including flamingos. Keep in mind what is the best time to detect them, since they are not always there.
8 - Listen to traditional music from Gnawa Khamlia
Gnawa are an ethnic group that lives in Morocco and play some of the best traditional music you can hear in Morocco. The ancestors of the Gnawa people were brought from Central and West Africa as slaves through the Sahara desert.
If you want to discover this culture, I recommend you to visit the village of Khamlia. It is located just 7 km south of Merzouga, right next to the dunes. The village is easily accessible by taxi or car. In Khamlia you will find two groups: Bambara and Pigeon des Sables.
You can go whenever you want and in this case you can do it quietly also without visiting or agency: you will be guided with mastery by street signs (no one in the world like Moroccans know where you want to go and how to take you) Tourists are not usually asked for money (at least for me), but if you like something, you can leave or, better yet, buy one of their music CDs: in addition to helping them, you will have a good memory and help them know the world.
9 - Visit Hassi Labied Oasis in Merzouga
Oasis of Merzouga is located on the most beautiful dunes of Erg Chebbi. While staying in a desert field nothing can be more exciting than visiting one of the nearest oases.
10 - Walk to the top of the highest sand dunes
The desert near Merzouga, a vast area of sand dunes south of the city, is known as Erg Chebbi. Among all the sand dunes that you can see from the village, you focus especially on yourself. Impossible not to notice this high mountain of sand that stands out from all the others. Reaching the top of this dune from the city center takes about an hour.
Remember that climbing to the top, challenging the sand (one step forward and two back) is not as easy as it sounds (aka brings lots of water)
The best time to go is just before sunset. Seeing the sun slowly disappear from the horizon from the top of this dune will reward you for all the effort you have made to reach it.
Merzouga desert activities and things to do: FAQs
Here the best frequently asked questions about Merzouga desert activities and Things to do
What to wear in the Sahara desert in Merzouga?
Well, certainly if you’ve decided to spend some time in the desert (especially if you’ve never done it before) and you wonder what to wear and wear.
First rule: when you’re in Morocco, you do what the Moroccans do.
What to pack to Merzouga desert?
Well, since the temperature varies a lot between day and night, it is important to wear clothes that serve many purposes and are particularly functional (leave the shoes with heels at home!).
Below are the essential things to bring.
- Sling – A sling, scarf, and sarong will be your best friends. In the meantime, you’ll feel comfortable covering and protecting your face from the sun and sand. If your sling is long enough, it will also cover your shoulders. If you don’t want to risk a sunburn, don’t forget to cover your head.
- Wide and light pants – With the kind of climate you’ll find in the desert, it’s much better to wear large and loose pants, like the ones we wear here in the summer of linen or cotton. These pants have many advantages: they dry quickly, cover you and let the air in (they are breathable) and allow you to move freely. Forget jeans: if there is a bit of wind, you will be filled with sand and jeans are the worst pants you could wear (especially if you wear them tight)
- Sunglasses – If you want to protect your eyes from the intense light that will be present during the day, it is important to wear a good pair of sunglasses with UV protection. They also protect your eyes from small dust particles carried by the wind.
- Warm Merino Wool Socks – Wearing Merino wool socks in the desert may seem a bit stupid, but trust me, at night, the temperature drops and could be helpful!
- Warm Sweater – If you’re spending the night in the desert, make sure you wear a warm sweater.
- Dust Camera – One thing I must warn you about is that sand is literally everywhere! So pay attention to the electronic components you carry in the desert, including the phone and camera.
- Cleaning kit – One fundamental thing is that if there is wind, do not change the optics. It is best to wear a fairly versatile lens that suits landscapes and portraits. One very important thing is to bring a cleaning kit for your camera and at night remember to clean it thoroughly from the sand.
How to get to Merzouga from Marrakech?
The best way to get from Marrakech is to hire a tour guide with a 4×4. We took a 4-day trip that was incredibly exciting. This desert trip was a highlight of our visit to Morocco. I highly recommend visiting Eco Desert Morocco to anyone planning a desert trip to Morocco. CTM Bus is well connected to Morocco, making it a cheap and convenient way to travel between major destinations. Before boarding for your next trip, check the bus schedules, as they can change frequently.
How to get from Fes to Merzouga?
The cheapest way to get from Fes to Merzouga is by bus which costs MAD 270 – MAD 350 and takes 10h.
What is the fastest way to get from Fes to Merzouga?
The fastest way to get from Fes to Merzouga is by car, it costs MAD 700 – MAD 1,100 and takes 7h 33min.
How far is the desert from Fes?
Desert tour to visit the Erg Chebbi. This Erg Chebbi desert is also far from Fes, it’s about 460 km (920 round trip if you return to Fes, about 1020 km if you end in Marrakech) and the journey time is also quite high (the direct journey from Fes to Merzouga, takes about 7 hours of driving). If you want to discover the desert that will be organized by a Tour operator we recommend you to check, out the 2 days from Festo Merzouga desert which is a short time, or if you would like to finish your tour in Marrakech please check this tour 3 days desert tour from Fes to Marrakech, if you have much time in Morocco you can discover Tours from Festo know more desert tours.
What is the Best time to visit Merzouga sahara desert?
The best time to visit the desert is in autumn (from September to October) when the temperatures are very pleasant. Spring from March to May is also a fantastic season to enjoy the fantastic view of flowers and plants in the desert and around the sand dunes. Unfortunately, we visited the third week of December, and it was cold, especially in the morning and afternoon.
Is it worth going to Merzouga?
As you have seen, visiting the Merzouga desert will cost you at least 3 days of your trip if you leave Marrakech. Usually, you wonder if it’s really worth spending all this time visiting the desert.
Our opinion is that, yes, it is worth dedicating this time or even more to see the beautiful dunes of the Merzouga desert. And if you have doubts, the best thing we can say is to go and live alone.
Merzouga desert or Zagora?
In addition to Erg Chebbi in Merzouga, near Zagora, we find another erg from Morocco, Erg Chigaga. Very famous for travelers with little time.
The Zagora desert is less impressive than the Merzouga desert. However, it is much closer to Marrakech, so it doesn’t take much time to visit it. In fact, from Marrakech, we have shorter trips to visit this desert as a 3 day trip from Ouarzazate to Zagora desert
Our recommendation is to go to Merzouga if you can afford it. If you want to visit the desert but don’t have enough time to go to Merzouga, Zagora seems to be a great option.
How many days stay in Merzouga?
You will need a minimum of 3 days tour from Marrakech to Merzouga and back, usually with stops in Ait Ben Haddou and Todra Gorges. When you are in the desert and the night falls, look up: the stars will leave you breathless.
What’s the name of the Merzouga Desert?
The desert near Merzouga, a vast area filled with sand dunes south of the city, is known as Erg Chebbi.
How do I get to Merzouga desert from Casablanca?
The easiest way to get to Merzouga from Casablanca is to take a flight from CMD airport of Casablanca to Errachidia Airport which is the closet airport to Merzouga desert and from there you can rent a car or take a bus to arrive at Erg Chebbi desert, also you can book your trip from Errachidia to Merzouga desert in 2 days or 3 days with Marrakech Tour Company, the distance between Errachidia airport and Erg Chebbi desert is about 140 km, 1 hour and 30 minutes of drive.
How much does a hike in the Merzouga desert cost?
Travel companies and local tour operators provide packages that are tailored to the needs of each traveler. The standard costs for a 2-and-a-half-hour camel ride are around 30 euros per person. Rates increase if you require private excursions, nights in tents, or participation in local dances in the dunes.
In short, the Merzouga desert allows you to rediscover the pure essence of Morocco and sub-Saharan Africa. All that remains is to choose the right formula and live a journey to remember, between dunes and camels of timeless beauty!
How to get from Ouarzazate to Merzouga in a cheapest way?
The cheapest way to get from Ouarzazate to Merzouga is by bus via Meknès which costs MAD 440 – MAD 650 and takes 20h 44min. but it will make you very tired to arrive in Merzouga. we recommend you check out our Tours from Ouarzazate.
What is the fastest way to arrive at Merzouga from Ouarzazate?
The fastest way to get from Ouarzazate to Merzouga is by taxi, it costs MAD 1,100 – MAD 1,400 and takes 5h 51min. or you can book 3 days tour from Ouarzazate to Merzouga desert.
How to get from Agadir to Merzouga?
The cheapest way:
Take a bus via Marrakech which costs MAD 509. The shortest is the flight and bus which takes 9 hours.
The fastest way:
The fastest solution to get from Agadir to Merzouga is a flight or Taxi which costs MAD 1,400 – MAD 2,600 and takes 9h 6min.
Can I book a desert tour in Morocco?
Merzouga Desert activities and things to do: Conclusion
Whether you’re looking for an adventure holiday or a quiet one, Merouga has something for everyone. Panoramic views, friendly people, and authentic Moroccan culture make this destination a must for any traveler looking to experience something truly unique. From stars to hourglasses, Merzouga offers an unforgettable experience that you will not find anywhere else. We hope you enjoy the secrets of Merzouga desert activities.