When it comes to booking a Sahara Desert tour in Morocco, there are a lot of different companies and options to choose from. The one we ended up going with, was Ali + Sarah's Desert Palace.
While a little out of our price range at 100 euros per person per night, we decided a night in the Sahara was worth splurging on.
Read more: Cost of Traveling in Morocco
for 100 euros, our tour included:
A ride from Merzouga to the camp
Dinner, breakfast, snacks, and beverages
Sunset and sunrise camel rides
Berber drum music
Private bathroom with towels and hot water
Private tent with electricity and a king-sized bed
Free Wifi - although it didn't work very well
A ride back to Merzouga from the camp
Arrival and a sunset camel ride
After booking our tour, Ali and another guide from the camp picked us up in Merzouga and drove us into the desert. The ride was only about 15 or so minutes long, and brought us right into the camp.
Yuting and I were the only guests there at first, so we snacked on dried fruit and almonds, and sipped mint tea till it was time for our sunset camel ride. Right as the sun was getting low in the sky, one of the guides came and told us it was time to meet our camels.
He motioned for us to hop on their backs, giving us only a split second of time to hang onto the saddle horn before the camel stood up. It was exhilarating to say the least! Camels are a lot taller than horses it turns out, and getting up felt like a roller coaster lurching up a hill.
Once we were up and moving, we rode out into the dunes until we reached one tall enough for viewing the sunset. We climbed off our camels, and had a good 20-30 minutes to ourselves to enjoy the view.
Dinner and Berber drum music
After riding our camels back to the camp, we finally met the other guests and sat down for dinner in the main dining tent.
Dinner was a five course meal, including: bread and olives, avacodo with cumin, a puréed vegetable soup, cucumber and tomato salad, two different tagines (vegetable and lamb with fig), and a variety of fresh fruit.
Once everyone was finished eating, our guides led us outside to the fire pit and began filling the air with Berber, drum music. Between the wide-open view of the stars that night, the warm cups of tea in my hands, and the soft rhythm of the drums, this moment was so captivating I forgot how cold it was outside.
Staying in a private tent
Every group of guests at Ali + Sarah's Desert Palace was given a private tent and bathroom. You could hardly call it a tent though - it was nicer than most of the hotels we stayed at in Morocco.
For one, the inside of the tent was huge. There was a king-sized bed inside, a sitting area, and two windows. It also had electrical outlets and working electrical lamps in every corner of the room.
Our bathroom was a separate building on the side of the camp, and just as lavish as the tent. Even though this camp was out in the middle of the desert, the shower in our bathroom had incredibly hot water and strong water pressure.
Sunrise camel ride and breakfast
Our next morning in the Sahara started out bright and early, with a 6 am camel ride to catch the sunset. Again, we hopped on our camels (this time knowing to hang on tight), and rode out into the dunes till we reached a good viewing spot.
After our ride, we met up with the other groups in the dining tent and had breakfast. Breakfast wasn't as unique as dinner had been, but was still yummy and filling.
My overall impression with our tour
Looking back, I'm really glad we decided to spend a little extra money on a nice Sahara tour. The staff at Ali + Sarah's camp were really polite and accommodating, and took care of us well. While I'm sure the camel rides would've been the same with any other tour, it was the extra touches that drove the value of Ali + Sarah's camp home for me.
Things to note for your own tour
Dress warmly - Even if you're not traveling in the winter, the desert can get really cold at night. Make sure you have the right clothes to bundle up in, and bring something to block the wind and sand from your face
Be careful with nice cameras - We weren't expecting the sand to blow around as much as it did and think the sand may have damaged our camera a bit
Don't be afraid to negotiate - The original price we were quoted for Ali + Sarah's camp was 150 euros. After a little bit of negotiating through Airbnb, we were able to get the price down to 100 euros
Bring enough cash - While I saw an ATM in Merzouga, I didn't see any places where you could exchange currency. Make sure you bring enough Moroccan dirhams with you to cover the costs of a desert tour and transportation out of Merzouga
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ever thought about visiting the Sahara Desert or riding a camel?
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