Sahara Desert Tour – 9-Day Morocco Trip (Part 2/4)

Morocco has been the most magical trip I’ve had so far. It’s special in many ways and no doubt will now forever hold a special place in me. We started with Marrakech and made our way up to Fez via the Sahara Desert, then made it to Chefchaouen and lastly Tangier. It’s been an absolute journey, to say the least. Following part 1 of this series where we explored Marrakech, we’ve now come to the second leg of this journey – the Sahara Desert Tour & Atlas Mountains, the highlight of the trip I must say.

Sahara Desert Tour (3 Days)

The desert tour was certainly the highlight of this entire trip. We’re so lucky to have found the perfect tour company organising this for us. I did spend a fair amount of time researching, asking around and speaking to different tour companies online. Eventually, I came across Desert Day Tours who was offering what I wanted within my budget – it was a no brainer to choose them.

For the two of us, I went with a private tour. We were picked up by a spacious and comfy 4-by-4 car at the door of our riad early in the morning. From there we started off our journey into the Atlas Mountains. The car made a couple of stops at the Berber villages for photo opportunities. The scenery was breathtaking especially with the snowcapped mountains in the backdrop!

Here is our itinerary:


Day 4

Ouarzazate: Ait Ben-Haddou

Ait Ben Haddou in Ouarzazate, Morocco

It was roughly three and a half hours later since we left the riad that we arrived at Ouarzazate.

Ouarzazate is dubbed the “African Hollywood” as it has been the filming locations for the likes of Game of Thrones, Gladiator, Prince of Persia, the Mummy, Mission Cleopatra, and many more. It is also nicknamed “the door of the desert” for being a gateway to the Sahara Desert, which is where we were eventually trying to get to.

Ait Ben Haddou in Ouarzazate, Morocco

We first grabbed lunch (some pretty juicy chicken tagines) and then headed off to see the Ait Ben-Haddou. It’s truly amazing to set foot on such a historic establishment. To provide some background, Ait Ben Haddou is an earthen fortified village, made from mud, and was once a major stop along the caravan route between Marrakech and the Sahara. It’s absolutely spectacular to see this pre-Saharan earthen construction, said to be dated back to the 12th century, still standing and still in use as homes!

Ouarzazate: Atlas Film Studios

Afterwards, our tour guide took us to the Atlas Film Studios as well. We did a quick tour outside the premises but decided to not go in and continue to hit the road instead. In a nutshell, the Atlas Film Studios Atlas Studios is one of the largest movie studios in the world by landmass. Many Hollywood movies had been made here due to the abundance of land to build film sets and great natural lighting. The production set for each film has been left behind after filming and is open to the public to visit.

Dades Gorge

After a further ride and some zigzag roads, we arrived at Dades Gorge and checked into one of the hotels for the night. There are groups of other tours staying at the hotel as well. The hotel wasn’t anything special and the food was not so great either. But it’s the location that made it special.

The Dades Gorges features a rugged dramatic landscape – with a rust-red shade of colours and zigzagging layers of rock formations. It’s particularly spectacular and dramatic under the sunrise too! The view was so refreshing to wake up to and the crisp mountain air was so lush to take in.

Day 5

Todra Gorges

Todra Gorges in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco

So continuing the journey, we hopped back into the car and set our way towards the desert, with just a few more viewpoints to stop by en route.

We first stopped at the Todra Gorges and took a little walk between the tall river canyons. The Todra Gorges are recognized as one of the most spectacular canyons in the world. Its views were extremely impressive and the water running was super clear (safe to drink). Just when we were about to leave, we managed to catch a shepherd letting out his herd of sheep for a sip of the river water. It’s literally the cutest scene ever!

Valley of Palm Trees

Next, we made a brief stop at the Valley of Palm Trees. Once again, we were in awe of the beautiful landscapes Morocco and the Atlas Mountains have got to offer.

And then, finally, we arrived at the edge of the Sahara Desert!

Sahara Desert

Sunset at the Sahara Desert

Our camels and a desert tour guide await as we got out of the car. Through many of my researches, you don’t get to take any large luggage with you to the tent. We packed our backpacks and were ready to leave the rest of our luggage with the car. But to our utmost delights, our tour guide has set up a separate car just to deliver everything to our tent! We literally only took the essentials and valuables with us plus a bottle of water, and off we went into the desert without having to worry a thing about our luggage.

The camel ride was easier and more comfortable than I thought. They’ve got the camels saddled up nicely so it’s just like riding a horse – easy peasy.

Before pulling up at our camp, we took a little break and climbed a sand dune to catch the sunset. Oh my, it’s truly the most magical thing we’ve ever experienced! Honesty, who would’ve thought the desert is this breathtakingly beautiful? The sea of sand has left us speechlessly in awe.

We reluctantly got back to our camels and continued our way to camp. We arrived at the Sahara Desert Luxury Camp which our tour guide arranged for us. Arriving at the camp, we find red carpets all over the campsite, adorned with lanterns, welcoming us as we hop off our camels. We were welcomed with some Moroccan mint tea and some snacks before being led to our tent. I’ve never been camping before and I was a bit nervous about the sleeping situation at first. But as we step into the tent, we find everything all nicely set up, with actual beds and the room cosily adorned with lamps, a coat hanger, and even electrical sockets!

Sahara Desert Luxury Camp

After settling in, we head to the main tent for dinner. We were served with one of the best tagines we had over the trip. The meal was lush, to say the least, and the ambience was just perfect. Then we met up with the other group of guests and started a bonfire. The camp staff brought out some Berber drums and we started to sing and dance a little. Afterwards, we played some riddles and chatted the night away.

We managed to get a few hours of sleep (it was freezing at night) before catching the sunrise and got the day going. Back at the main tent, we had some incredibly delicious Berber Eggs Tagine for breakfast.

You get to choose to leave the desert by car or camel. We chose the camel and enjoyed a lovely quiet morning ride back to our car.

Day 6

Cedar Forest

Monkeys of the Cedar Forest

After a long drive, we stopped for lunch, before continuing to the Cedar Forest.

At the Cedar Forest, we manage to feed some monkeys! The monkeys were really cute and well-behaved – nothing like the mischievous ones in Asia. We managed to get our hands on some peanuts and fed the monkeys.

Ifran

Then we stopped at the Swiss village of Morocco – Ifran.

Morocco is just full of surprises…who would’ve thought to have found a little piece of Europe here?! This unique town in the middle of the Atlas Mountains of Morocco features alpine-style architecture. There’s actually ski slopes as well nearby!

We only stayed for a quick coffee and soon got back on the road towards Fez.


I think epic is the word for it for this part of the trip. This Sahara Desert tour was no short of magical moments and is no doubt the highlight of the entire trip. It’s a full-on experience and our tour company made it so easy and comfortable for us. We’re actually a bit sad to be parting ways with them as we arrived at Fez! But anyhow, the journey goes on. Read about part 3 of the trip here.

Marrakech – 9-Day Morocco Trip (Part 1/4)

Morocco has been the most magical trip I’ve had so far. It’s special in many ways and no doubt will now forever hold a special …

Fez – 9-Day Morocco Trip (Part 3/4)

Morocco has been the most magical trip I’ve had so far. It’s special in many ways and no doubt will now forever hold a special …

Chefchaouen & Tangier – 9-Day Morocco Trip (Part 4/4)

Morocco has been the most magical trip I’ve had so far. It’s special in many ways and no doubt will now forever hold a special …

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7 Comments

  1. Very Intresting Blog, We are very Happy to hear that your enjoyed your trip in Morocco, Thank you so much for sharing with us

    1. Thank you for reading and commenting! Morocco is truly a special experience and such a beautiful country.

  2. Amazing blog and gallery, very beautiful places & unforgettable experience, Thank you for sharing, Keep it up!

    1. Hi Zawa, I’m so glad you enjoy reading my blog and thank you so much for leaving such a lovely comment!

  3. wooow, what an amazing Article, keep sharing with us.

    1. Thank you, glad you enjoyed reading it!

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