Camel Treks Erg Chebbi
Erg Chebbi and Camel Treks
Erg Chebbi Camel Treks with a desert guide, to sleep under the stars in a deep desert camp. If you have a rental car we can meet you in Rissani and accompany you to the dunes. Or, if not, join one of our Morocco Desert Tours from Marrakech, Fes or elsewhere.
A Sahara Tour to the Erg Chebbi sand sea usually includes camel trekking to a deep desert camp although it is possible to enjoy the dunes without riding a camel. The sand dunes, close to the Berber village of Merzouga and Desert town of Rissani, are probably the highest dunes in Morocco – they are particularly spectacular at sunrise and sunset when they take on a red hue. Along the dune line are hotels offering ensuite rooms and swimming pools for your comfort.
If you are driving a rental car we can meet you in Rissani. If you prefer not to drive in Morocco we can organize a private Desert Tour from Marrakech, Marrakech to Fes, Fes to Marrakech or Fes to Fes.
Private Desert Tours and Sahara Treks run daily and the highlights of the route are the Atlas mountains, World Heritage Site of Ait Benhaddou, Kelaa Mgouna and rose-filled valleys in Spring, Dades and Todra gorges, cedar forests where Barbary Macaques live, Azrou and Ifrane. Once you reach the dunes there is the option of an Erg Chebbi camel trek to overnight in a deep desert camp or, if you prefer more comfort, a luxury tent in the dunes with ensuite shower and flushing toilet.
Quick Links for Sahara Desert Trips and Morocco Camel Treks
- The Erg Chebbi Dunes (Merzouga) and how to reach them
- The Desert Village of Merzouga
- What to do and What to see in Erg Chebbi
- Sand Boards and Dune Buggies
- Overnight Erg Chebbi Camel Treks – What to Expect
- Luxury Desert Camp Erg Chebbi
- Organised Sahara Excursions and Erg Chebbi Camel Treks
- Morocco Tours – Prices, Confirmation and Payment Options
The Erg Chebbi Dunes (Merzouga)
Of all the deserts in Morocco, the Erg Chebbi close to the Berber village of Merzouga, is probably the highest and most easily accessible because a paved road runs from Rissani to Merzouga and beyond. Although the sand sea looks quite small and distinct on the map, it is worth noting that this is relative to the enormity of the Sahara desert. The Sahara is the only true desert to be found along the 0° meridian line and also happens to be world's largest. It covers most of North Africa, more than a third of the continent, and an area roughly the same size as the United States of America. It is a desert of extraordinary beauty and variety; all the standard desert landscape types are present from great fields of shifting sand dunes to vast plains filled with rocks.
The Erg Chebbi can be reached in a rental car or with public transport due to the paved road that runs to Mergouga and beyond. To reach the dune line, from the paved road, is a small section of unpaved road (piste) that should be driven across with care due to ruts and sand drifts.
If you have limited time, and prefer not to drive in Morocco, hiring a vehicle with driver is a relaxed way to travel. Local drivers know the routes and, if you have the time, it is possible to ‘get off the beaten track’ to experience the hospitality and traditional lifestyle of the Berbers.
The Desert Village of Merzouga
Merzouga is a sizeable, and growing, desert village with a palmerie and gardens where crops are grown e.g. dates, cereals, mint and alfalfa. In the region are two seasonal lakes, a favourite spot for migrating birds in Spring, when Dayet Srji flamingos may be seen.
For most of the year it is a sleepy place where young men make a living by guiding tourists to local hotels or selling fossils that are locally mined and polished. However there is another side to this village when, in summer months, it fills with Moroccans who come here to bury themselves in the sand. Sand bathing is a traditional treatment for rheumatism and arthritis and, along with the sand bathers, come the street traders and Merzouga transforms into a bustling desert experience.
What to do and What to see in Erg Chebbi
- Search for a fossil in the fossil beds near Erfoud
- Listen to Gnawa musicians and whirl to the rhythms of the desert
- Visit Merzouga to watch the world pass by as you sip mint tea
- Visit the Souk in Rissani and the Apothecary for spices and saffron
- Camel trekking in Erg Chebbi
- Walk through palm grove gardens where crops are grown
- Visit the seasonal lakes in spring if the rains arrive and perhaps see flamingos
- 4×4 desert safari to explore the Erg Chebbi environment
Sand Boards and Dune Buggies/Quad Bikes
Sand Boards are available for local hire. However no instruction is given and no safety clothing is provided. It is a dangerous sport and you are advised to consider the risks of hiring boards without a helmet.
Dune buggies are available for local hire and you will be accompanied by a desert guide to ensure you do not get lost. Please consider other people who may be visiting the desert for peace and tranquility.
Overnight Erg Chebbi Camel Treks – What to Expect
Meet your desert guide and camel trek in the late afternoon, before and/or during sunset, to a deep desert camp – travel light and only take essentials in a soft bag that the camel carries. Mounting a camel is unusual because camel legs have double joints so initially you are thrown forward (there is a bar to hold) and then backwards as the camel stands up.
On arrival at the nomad-tended desert camp, where the tents are traditionally made of thick goat/sheep/camel hair, the camels are hobbled, mint tea is served and dinner is freshly prepared and served under the stars. While waiting there is time to relax.
Wake early to climb a high dune and, in the pre-dawn stillness, wait for the sunrise. Return camel trek back across the dunes to shower and breakfast before departure.
Longer Erg Chebbi camel treks are available for 2nights or longer.
Erg Chebbi Luxury Desert Camp
Our luxury desert camp consists of five ensuite bedroom tents and one dining tent. The bedroom tents are raised off the sand, for your comfort, with wood flooring. Each tent contains a hotel quality bed, mirror, rugs and seating. The attached bathroom tents contain a hand-wash basin, shower and flushing toilet. Bedding and towels are provided. Although there is a dining tent, we eat outside under the stars whenever possible and only use the dining tent when it is cold or windy. Water and wine is served with dinner, at no extra charge, and the camp staff will drum and sing for you afterwards. Your driver will drop you off at the camp, with a section of off-road driving across the sand, or ride camels to the camp. In the morning your driver will pick you up.
*For more information: ’Erg Chebbi Luxury Desert Tours’
Sahara Excursions and Erg Chebbi Camel Treks
Organised Sahara Desert Excursions run from Marrakech, Marrakech to Fes, Fes to Fes and Fes to Marrakech. Tours can start and end elsewhere on request i.e. Casablanca, Tangier, Agadir.
The Erg Chebbi is a 10hrs drive from Marrakech and a 6hrs drive from Fes. We recommend at least:
- 4days for a Marrakech to Marrakech Desert Tour and 5days to slow down the pace
- 3days for a Marrakech to Fes Desert Tour and 4days to slow down the pace
- 3days for a Fes to Marrakech Desert Tour and 4days to slow down the pace
- 2days for a Fes to Fes Desert Tour and 3days to slow down the pace
*For more on Morocco Desert Tours: ’Tea in the Sahara Desert Tours and Camel Treks’
Morocco Tours – Prices, Confirmation and Payment
Please refer to: ‘Private Morocco Tours – Pricing’. However please note that the price of a private tour is based on the number of days you have, how many people you are, the level of accommodation required and what you would like to do and see. Each tour is custom made to best match your requirements and do not hesitate to contact us for a quote with no obligation.
To read our clients’ feedback please refer to: ’Testimonials’