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Trekking in the Moroccan desert: where, when and how to go?

In Morocco, there are two dream routes for trekkers: the ascent of Mount Toubkal and a trek in the heart of the Saharan desert.
Do you love wide open spaces and experiences lived out at the end of the world? So let's go for an adventure trek in the heart of the Moroccan desert. Whether it is an ocean of dunes, a desert of stones, the undulating palm groves or an oasis emerging from a mirage, this is what you can expect on this trip which will give you an opportunity to put yourself in the shoes of a nomad for a few days.

Check out our advice and our itinerary ideas to prepare your circuit in the desert, in the south of Morocco.

Trekking in the Moroccan desert: routes and advice

First trek in the desert: excursion from Marrakech

> Environment: desert, mountain
> Difficulty: easy
> Suggested season: October to April
> Average time: 7 days

Get ready for a dream trek through sand dunes, oases and stony deserts! Experience a nomadic break away from civilization, exploring traditional villages and their welcoming kasbahs. Follow the caravan and its camel drivers to the gates of the Sahara, for a unique experience where you have access to all the facets of the Moroccan desert. After passing the Tizi n'Tichka pass, you will discover Ouarzazate and the splendid Drâa valley, with its small traditional villages like Agdz and Nkob. Passing by a palm grove, your caravan and its camel drivers cross over the Berghwa plateau to spend a night under the stars. The next day, you continue to Ait Mnad to explore its weekly souk. Finally, you will get the chance to explore the lunar landscapes of southern Morocco before returning to the capital.

trek from marrakech in the sahara

Trek in the desert of Morocco: Oulad Driss oasis

> Environment: desert, oasis
> Difficulty: moderate
> Suggested season: October to May
> Average time: 5 days
> Moderate elevation gain: 3400 D+ and 2450 D-

Spend the night in a bivouac in the middle of an ocean of dunes: this is the dream cherished by many trekkers on their way to Morocco. Live the ultimate adventure in the largest desert in the world, in the company of the Berbers, by going on a nomadic getaway lasting several days in the south of the country. This is what you need to recharge the batteries and feel really alone in the world! On the way to Ouarzazate, the signs of modern life gradually disappear to be replaced by wide-open spaces and tiny villages. In a few hours, you lose track of time! Departing from the Oulad Driss oasis, go for a trek in the Moroccan desert in several stages. On the programme: Bougarne, Lahdibat and R'Gabi. All the way along the route, you will be accompanied by camel guides who have a perfect knowledge of all the problems you may encounter in this inhospitable environment.

Trekking from ouarzazate in the desert of Morocco to explore ouled driss

Between the desert and the mountains: hiking in the jbel sirwa

> Environment: mountain
> Difficulty: moderate to demanding
> Suggested season: November to April
> Average duration: 7 days
> Positive elevation gain: 2780 D+

At the heart of superb green valleys, sculpted over the centuries by wadis with crystal clear waters, Jbel Sirwa is the highest point of the Anti-Atlas mountain range. This one-week trek is an opportunity to hike from village to village, between terraced orchards, rocky peaks and deep canyons. The scenery, which is uniquely diverse, will follow you throughout this route which makes it perfectly suited to thru-hiking. At the heart of Jbel Sirwa, you will also meet locals who will introduce you to the cultivation of saffron, also known locally as red gold of the Anti-Atlas.

Hiking in the anti-atlas in morocco: Jebel Siroua

HOW TO PREPARE FOR YOUR TRIP TO THE SAHARA

WHAT IS THE IDEAL DURATION FOR A STAY IN THE MOROCCAN DESERT?

Generally, most Moroccan desert travel tours last 8 days and include the must-see sites:

- imperial cities;
- coasts and seaside towns;
- Middle and High Atlas;
- gates of the Sahara.

However, we would all probably agree that this type of tour is far too short to immerse yourself in the culture of this country. To make the most of it, we recommend that you go to Morocco for at least 3 weeks and plan a foray into the Moroccan desert lasting several days, i.e. 5 to 8 days. This is really the time it will take you to disconnect, enjoy the landscapes and have some really enjoyable encounters with local people on the way. You can then continue your way to the royal cities of Marrakech, Meknes, Fez and Rabat to experience a different kind of thrill. You will finish off this trip to Morocco with the Atlas Mountains, the beaches of the Atlantic Ocean and the great Moroccan south.

WHEN TO GO: CAN YOU TRAVEL IN THE MOROCCAN DESERT IN DECEMBER?

Less than 3 hours by plane from France, Morocco is a country that can be explored all year round. Between the High Atlas mountains and the dunes of the Sahara, the conditions remain very different depending on the season. Obviously, attempting to conquer the desert in the middle of summer is out of the question! Winter is more likely to be best season, especially November or February. South of Ouarzazate, the days are sunny and the nights are cool. You can also travel there in December and January but it can get quite cold overnight. So, remember to leave with the right equipment.

WHAT SHOULD YOU PUT IN YOUR HIKING PACK FOR A TREK IN THE SAHARA?

To go trekking in the Moroccan desert, you will need to go through a tour operator that will provide you with the complete list of the required equipment and gear for this type of expedition. In general, you should choose clothing with UV sun protection specially designed for the desert. Most of the time, conventional clothing is not enough to protect you from the sun's rays. Choose outfits with light fabrics that let air through and will be ideal for protecting you against the heat. We recommend that you choose materials that do not irritate the skin and do not allow grains of sand to pass through. Finally, be sure to take your sunglasses, a scarf and some warm clothes with you for the bivouac. A trekking trip requires preparation, and having the right gear can only contribute to the pleasure of your stay! Check with your travel agency. Generally, all the bivouac equipment as well as the water reserves are provided.

Let's head for Morocco!
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