Merzouga is quickly becoming a premier Moroccan tourist destination, and this has everything to do with the town's proximity to Erg Chebbi. An erg is a relatively large and flat area of desert that is mostly devoid of vegetative cover. Wind-swept sand covers ergs, and the dunes that are formed shift constantly with the changing winds. The appearance of the dunes is also altered with regularity by the sun. Depending on the lighting, the dunes that can be found in the Merzouga desert can be gold, pink, or red in color. There is no finer place to enjoy a camel desert tour in Morocco, and many visitors also come to enjoy the spectacular sunsets and the unique birdwatching opportunities.
Merzouga is the destination of choice for Moroccan tourists who are interested in seeing some of the mighty Sahara Desert. Travelers can also visit the town of M'Hamid when looking to enjoy some time in the Sahara, though it usually requires a trek across high mountains and remains a less popular option. Tourism is increasing in both destinations, and this has led to some issues with people trying to sell tours or hotel rooms. Tourists are often approached repeatedly by salespeople in Merzouga especially, and it can be a big hassle. As such, many tourists arrange their tours and accommodations in advance. It is also possible to arrange desert tours at many of the Merzouga hotels, which is often pricier, though more convenient.
Exploring the Merzouga desert is a joy, and visitors will find that its charm doesn't cease once the sun goes down. On clear nights, visitors to Merzouga need only wander a short distance from the lights to view a most spectacular nighttime display. The stars that stretch across the desert sky seem to go on forever. Erg Chebbi, which is the name for the erg that defines the Merzouga desert, is widely considered to be the only true Saharan erg, and it is impressive. This erg extends some thirteen miles, and it is approximately three miles wide. The landscape is magical, and the dunes that can be found here can be up to 500 feet high. Observing the ever-shifting landscape of Erg Chebbi on a camel desert tour in Morocco is a mesmerizing experience, and it's understandable if travelers come away from the experience feeling like Lawrence of Arabia.
While a camel trek in Morocco is a unique travel experience, it is worth noting that camels aren't the most comfortable animals to ride. That being said, they are ideal for trekking through the vast ocean of sand that is Erg Chebbi. On a camel desert tour in Morocco, stopping at an oasis, or camp, is part of the plan. At the various camps that are found across Erg Chebbi, travelers can enjoy a traditional meal and even spend the night. Depending on the camp, guests can sleep on a rooftop mattress, stay in a Berber tent, or spend the night in a main room. For overnight camel treks, bringing a sleeping bag is a good idea, as it can get cold once the sun sets. It is also a good idea to bring water, as it is the main commodity in any desert. Water is provided on the tours, though it's still a good idea to bring some along when possible. As for food, the camps that offer lodging also tend to offer half-board rates, which include dinner and breakfast. In addition to arranging a camel tour upon arrival, Merzouga visitors can also do so ahead of time in destinations such as Marrakech and Fes.
Both Marrakech and Fes are about ten hours from Merzouga, and thanks to the fact that a paved road now extends to the village, the trip in is easier than ever. There are a number of possibilities when it comes to booking a camel desert tour in Morocco, and the tours that can be enjoyed in Merzouga can last anywhere from the better of a day to a couple of weeks. Whether you choose to enjoy a one-day camel trek in Morocco or a multi-day excursion, the experience will prove to be unforgettable. September through February is the best time of year for touring the Sahara on the back of a camel, which is something that travelers will do well to keep in mind when trying to figure out when to go on a Morocco vacation.