Exploring Morocco: Desert Tours and Things to Do in Marrakech

Morocco, a country brimming with rich history and vibrant culture, offers travelers a unique blend of ancient traditions and modern attractions. One of the highlights of any trip to Morocco is the opportunity to explore its stunning desert landscapes and the bustling city of Marrakech. This guide will take you through the must-see desert tours and top activities in Marrakech.

Unforgettable Morocco Desert Tours

The Magic of the Sahara Desert

The Sahara Desert, the largest hot desert in the world, is a mesmerizing destination that draws countless visitors each year. Embarking on a Sahara Desert tour is a quintessential Moroccan experience. Here are some key highlights:

Camel Trekking: A camel trek through the Sahara’s golden dunes is an iconic adventure. These treks typically lead to a Berber camp where you can spend the night under the stars, experiencing traditional Berber hospitality.

Sandboarding: For the adventurous, sandboarding down the vast dunes offers an adrenaline rush and a unique way to enjoy the desert landscape.

4×4 Desert Excursions: For those who prefer a faster pace, 4×4 excursions provide an exhilarating ride across the dunes. These tours often include visits to remote desert villages and oases.

Merzouga and Erg Chebbi

Merzouga, a small village in southeastern Morocco, is the gateway to the spectacular Erg Chebbi dunes. These towering sand dunes are among the highest in Morocco and offer breathtaking views, especially at sunrise and sunset.

Luxury Desert Camps: Experience the desert in style by staying at a luxury desert camp in Erg Chebbi. These camps provide comfortable accommodations with traditional decor, gourmet meals, and opportunities to engage in cultural activities such as drumming and storytelling.

Zagora Desert

Zagora, another popular desert destination, is known for its dramatic landscapes and the famous sign that reads “Timbuktu 52 days,” marking the ancient caravan route. The Zagora desert tours offer a slightly different experience from Merzouga, often featuring shorter camel treks and visits to historic sites like the Tamegroute Library and the ancient Jewish quarter of Amezrou.

Day Tours: For those short on time, Zagora offers several day tour options that allow you to experience the desert’s beauty without the need for an overnight stay.

Top Things to Do in Marrakech

Exploring the Medina and Souks

Marrakech, known as the “Red City” due to its distinct red sandstone buildings, is a city that captivates all who visit. The heart of the city is the Medina, a UNESCO World Heritage site filled with narrow alleys, bustling souks, and historical landmarks.

Jemaa el-Fnaa: This famous square is the vibrant epicenter of Marrakech. By day, it hosts numerous stalls selling fresh juices, spices, and souvenirs. By night, it transforms into a lively hub with street performers, musicians, and food vendors.

Souks of Marrakech: The souks (markets) of Marrakech are a shopper’s paradise. Each souk specializes in different goods, from textiles and ceramics to jewelry and spices. Bargaining is a must, and half the fun is in haggling for a good price.

Historical and Cultural Sites

Marrakech is steeped in history, with many landmarks that tell the story of its rich past.

Bahia Palace: A stunning example of Moroccan architecture, the Bahia Palace features beautiful gardens, intricate tile work, and lavish courtyards. It offers a glimpse into the opulent lives of Moroccan royalty.

Koutoubia Mosque: The largest mosque in Marrakech, the Koutoubia Mosque is an iconic symbol of the city. While non-Muslims cannot enter, the surrounding gardens provide a peaceful place to admire its impressive minaret.

Saadian Tombs: Dating back to the Saadian dynasty, these tombs were rediscovered in 1917 and have since been restored. The intricate carvings and decorative details make them a fascinating site to visit.

Gardens and Gardens of Marrakech

Marrakech is home to several beautiful gardens that offer a serene escape from the city’s hustle and bustle.

Majorelle Garden: Created by French painter Jacques Majorelle and later restored by fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent, this garden is a lush oasis with exotic plants, fountains, and vibrant blue buildings. It also houses the Berber Museum, which showcases artifacts from Morocco’s indigenous people.

Menara Gardens: These historic gardens, dating back to the 12th century, feature a large reflective pool and an olive grove with views of the Atlas Mountains. It’s a perfect spot for a peaceful afternoon stroll.

Combining the Desert and Marrakech

Guided Tours and Packages

Many travel companies offer combined packages that include both desert tours and Marrakech sightseeing. These packages often provide a seamless experience, taking care of all logistics from transportation to accommodations.

Customizable Itineraries: Opt for tours that allow you to customize your itinerary based on your interests. Whether you want to spend more time exploring the desert or diving into Marrakech’s cultural sites, there’s a package to suit your preferences.

Travel Tips

Best Time to Visit: The ideal times to visit both the Sahara Desert and Marrakech are during the spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) when temperatures are more moderate.

Packing Essentials: For desert tours, pack light and breathable clothing, sun protection, and comfortable footwear. In Marrakech, modest clothing is recommended, especially when visiting religious sites.

Cultural Sensitivity: Respect local customs and traditions, such as asking for permission before taking photos of people and dressing modestly in public spaces.


Exploring the deserts of Morocco and the vibrant city of Marrakech offers a unique and enriching travel experience. From the awe-inspiring dunes of the Sahara to the bustling souks and historical sites of Marrakech, this journey promises unforgettable memories. By combining desert adventures with city explorations, you’ll gain a deeper appreciation of Morocco’s diverse landscapes and rich cultural heritage.