``Certainly travelling is more than seeing the sights, it is a change that goes on.... deep and permanent.``
The south eastern region of Morocco is part of the vast Sahara Desert, the third largest in the world. Its exotic mysticism attracts thousands of visitors each year, all searching for that elusiveness of the perfect sunset or sunrise, that incredible peacefulness, that unique experience of the star studded sky and the lure and taste of adventure.
Travel south from Marrakech, cross the High Atlas and you can go left and take the route to Merzouga and the Erg Chebbi golden red dunes, or travel on south through the mighty Draa Valley to the desert towns of Zagora and Tagounite to M´hamid el Ghizlane. From there you can take camel and off road adventures to the desert camps and the dunes, the highest being Erg Chegaga.
Both these locations have a myriad of accommodations options, activities and adventures. I recommend a minimum of 3 days to visit the desert as the 2 day options mean spending the whole day on the road and very little time to really see the desert. A 3 Day Trip to the desert will give you the opportunity to experience a sunset and a sunrise camel ride, a campfire dinner with local music, sleep in nomad tents; called Haimas, in the dunes or an oasis and enjoy the incredibly diverse landscapes on the journey there and back. Longer trips mean you will see and experience a lot more of the local culture and hospitality. You can even spend time with the Nomads and travel with them by camel.
The desert is made up of very different geological compositions, some areas are black; called hammada, these are very rocky and lunar, some areas are dry lakes with cracked clay surfaces, there are oases with tamarisk and date palms, and there are the soft sandy dunes forever shifting in the wind: the marks of mankind are never left for long in this environment. In Erg Chebbi, the sands are are beautiful golden red, and in M´hamid el Ghizlane, a softer pale colour, perfectly toned with the tamarisks and palms.
From Merzouga you can continue south to Taouz and go off road on the old Paris Dakar Rally tracks that cross the desert and emerge in the Draa Valley. There are superb kasbah hotels and auberges along the route, a few villages lost in time, and a peacefulness you cannot imagine. There are still rallies held here, and music festivals, also many local NGO projects helping the Saharians and other local tribes with water wells, schools and associations for craftwork and education. We also have our own projects in these regions.
If you are looking for a desert trip and only have a short amount of time, then Agafay; the rocky desert of Marrakech could be the ideal option.