This article contains everything you need to know if you want to visit Merzouga and the Sahara Desert in Morocco. You’ll find information on how to get to the desert villages of Merzouga and where to stay, free things to do and things to do on a budget, including desert safari and luxury camp accommodation in Erg Chebbi, Morocco. Who has never dreamed of sleeping comfortably between the dunes and gazing at the stars in the Sahara Desert? The desert has always inspired me, and as a child I often imagined myself riding a camel through the sand dunes of distant lands. I dream of sleeping under the stars in the desert, drinking tea by the campfire. Merzouga in the southern region of Morocco was the perfect place for me to live out all of these fantasies. It is a small town in the Sahara Desert of Morocco, not far from the Algerian border. It is known as the gateway to Erg Chebbi, a vast dune field south of the city.
Merzouga is an iconic place in Morocco and is considered one of the top tourist destinations in the country!
You can’t resist visiting this charming little village. Got lost in the dunes, drank a lot of tea, and saw more camels than I thought possible.
It was super easy to get there and I did all of these activities without spending a fortune. If you want to experience the beauty of the Sahara Desert without breaking the bank, this is the place for you.
1. THE THING OF ERG CHEBBI, THE DESERT OF MERZOUGA IN MOROCCO
Merzouga is a calm and peaceful city in the Sahara, but offers a surprising amount of cool things to do. The best seasons to visit Merzouga are spring March-May or autumn September-November.
The weather is not too hot during this time, so you can enjoy the desert time more. Summer temperatures can reach as high as 40°C (104°F) and nights rarely drop below 26.7°C (80°F).
No matter what time of year you visit Merzouga, always cover your head to avoid heat stroke. Sun protection is essential.
It may be a good idea to cover yourself with a wide-brimmed hat or bandana. In order not to lose a lot of water through sweating, light-colored long-sleeved shirts and long pants are good clothing choices for spending time in the desert.
Always drink plenty of water when visiting the desert. The general rule is to drink at least a gallon of water per day — double that if you’re going on long walks.
No matter what time of year you visit the village (though I don’t recommend summer as it’s too hot), you’ll always find lots of cool things to do.
Here’s a small selection of super fun things to do in Merzouga, whether you’re a budget traveler like us or prefer a little more luxury. Since Merzouga is the perfect place for many free events, I really recommend you try these first.
FREE EVENTS OF ERG CHEBBI AND MERZOUGA
1. Overnight camping in the Merzouga desert
In my opinion, this is one of the best free things to do in Merzouga. For many people, camping means hiking in a dense forest, perhaps near a pristine alpine lake, or by the banks of a rushing river.
Many people imagine a desert as a vast, dry place where they would never pitch a tent. It’s true that deserts can be pretty inhospitable, but that’s not all.
I saw the most beautiful sunset of my life next to my tent in the Merzouga desert. It is a spectacle to watch the sun fade between the dunes while bathing the arid landscape in warm tones.
Dawn in the desert is also a beautiful sight, as the first rays of sunlight begin to ease the chill of the night and you feel the air warming.
Camping in this Moroccan desert is a really fun experience, but it does require some planning. Make sure you have a good tent, a thick mattress (desert sand can be cold at night) and a warm sleeping bag.
The temperature in the desert cools down very quickly at night. That’s why it’s important to have layers of insulation under and over your body if you want to get a good night’s sleep.
2. Walk to the tallest sand dunes of ERG CHEBBI
The desert near Merzouga is called Erg Chebbi. This is a large dune-filled area south of Merzouga.
Of all the dunes that can be seen from the village, one in particular stands out. It is much higher than the rest of the desert and looks like a huge sand mountain.
It takes about an hour to reach the top of this dune from the city center. Be aware that the sand climb is not easy, so bring plenty of water and avoid going there around noon.
The best time to go there is before sunset. Watching the sun slowly disappear over the horizon from the top of the dunes is a spectacular sight and makes the long and arduous climb well worth it. If you go at this time, I suggest you bring blankets, as the temperature can drop very quickly once the sun goes out.
3. Watch the stars in the Sahara Desert
There is no better place to admire the stars than the desert itself.
I was amazed at how clear the Milky Way was above us and the stars looked bright and big. Seeing the millions of lights overhead in all directions is such a soothing experience, and the best part is it’s completely free.
If you want to admire the stars through the lenses and optics of Merzouga’s powerful telescope, there is a company that can help you! !
This company is called Desert Stargazing Morocco and they organize amazing desert tours where you can watch the stars from their telescopes.