2 night camping in the Sahara Desert
I wanted to camp in the desert for years it just sounded so amazing, but I kept putting it off. I think I was a little scared, plus I had never been camping until last year. I thought camping wasn’t really my thing as I like comfort and the most important thing I like a toilet close by, but I loved the camping experience and couldn’t wait to try it abroad and what better place than camping in the Sahara Desert.
This is the type of trip that I would not want do on my own and I am not even sure if you can do it on your own as obvisouly you are ging to need a guide to know where you are going as it will be easy to get lost but I could be wrong. I know you can book overnight tours where you will join others and I have looked into these before. My friend booked an overnight trip to the desert from Fez and you can also do it as a day trip from Marrakech.
I was planning a trip to Marrakech, which ended up expanding into other Moroccan cities and then I came across a tour that included 2 nights in the desert since it was crossing off lots of things I wanted to do I booked the tour.
The Travel Talk Exotic Morocco tour was lots of fun and I was with a good bunch of people which made it all the better. You can see what other places we visited in my Travel Talk Review. If you want to visit the desert, then I would recommend this tour.
Camping in the desert was one of the most amazing things I have done. To see the sky at night is breath-taking. I have never seen so many stars or the milky way and it is something that will be in my memories for ever.
What to wear in the desert?
A top, cardigan or top with long sleeves and loose fitted trousers seemed to be the most popular outfit of choice. Don’t wear white though I have had a white cardigan on and by the time I got to camp and had been a bit sandblasted I was more a dirty sand colour. However, you don’t want to wear black as if you are on the camels with the sun beating down on you this is not going to be nice either.
I spent ages choosing which PJs to take with me in case we were sat around the fire in our sleepwear, but it was blooming cold, I slept in what I was wearing my hoody, and hat and scarf. So, check what the weather will be like in the Sahara as it can get very cold at night. )
What is the weather like in the Sahara?
I thought the Sahara would be a lot hotter maybe it was the time of the year I visited but I wasn’t boiling. It was pleasantly warm but it did get cold at night so layers are a good idea. I visited in November and it is warmer in July so you are best to check the weather before you visit.
The desert feels so peaceful even when we were heading to camp on our camels it was like we were the only ones there in this mass of sand dunes. We did see a few other people some on quads, some in 4×4, but the atmosphere is quite serene and at night it is even more peaceful with only the sounds of the camels moaning. We saw desert cats and at first, we thought they must have come from the main camp but apparently, they live out in the middle of the Sahara, there is no way of getting away from cats in Morocco.
Getting to Camp
Since I was on an organised group tour, we travelled from Fez to Mergouza on our bus. It was a mixture of landscapes on the way. It was kind of strange to be seeing snow in the mountains and then the sand dunes starting to appear, and we were then in the desert.
However, I was dreading the getting to camp part, on the tour we had to go via camels. I am not a rider I have never been on a horse, for closest I have made it on is a donkey at Blackpool beach and I don’t like pain.
And it was painful, the camels are not comfortable to ride, the boys on the tour were suffering with their groins and I had a very sore bum. I also had aches in my hands and arms as I was so tense grabbing on for dear life it is not something I enjoyed. The only bit that was nice was talking and making friends with my camel that I named Rodney I am sure he was listening to every word I was saying.
We actually rode on dromedaries as they do not have camels in Morocco. I was worried about falling off as when the camels go over the dunes it does feel as though you are going to fall forward and go over his head. Luckily no one was injured however people were sore the next morning. Since I have a disability, I also must be very careful not to break anything and I didn’t have the confidence to go back to the main camp on the camel so thankfully, they arrange for me and some others in the tour to return by 4×4 in the morning. I think if people had a choice most of the group would have got in the jeeps rather than on the camels again.
We got on our camels and went in convey of 41, we were spit into groups and the camels were tied together and each group had a man guiding the camels.
After 40 minutes we stopped to hike up a dune to watch the sunset. Obviously due to my mobility limitations I could not get up the dune but watched the others go up and still got to see a wonderful sunset.
One of the other camps had a fire whilst our group was up the dune, so smoke was rising. We heard later that no one was hurt but the campers had lost some of their belongings so don’t take anything unnecessary to camp. I know this is a rare occasion, but you really don’t need anything apart from clothes, food and drink anyway.
Then it was another 40 minutes on the camel and every dune we got to we were hoping it would be the last, but it wasn’t, it felt like never ending torture but at last we arrived at camp.
I was surprised at the camp they were metal containers a bit like shipping containers with 4 or 5 single mattresses on the floor with blankets and pillows. They were actually very comfortable to sleep on.
If you do this trip independently you will have the option of getting to camp via 4×4 or quads, I would have preferred to ride a quad over the dunes that would have been amazing, however if this is something that you do want to do make sure you book it in advance otherwise you might end up on a camel as a last option.
What was it like in the camp in the Sahara?
Each container had electricity for the lights but no power points. There is the option to lock the doors from the outside or inside. There wasn’t much else in the rooms.
There were 5 toilets for the groups with sinks only no showers. There was water but it seemed to get low in the morning and was just a dribble coming out of the sinks by the time people had freshened up. However, this isn’t really a problem as it was straight back to camp to wash and shower before the next day’s adventures.
Food was served outside, there did seem to be what looked like another room I am not sure if this is where they prepare the food or if food is served inside sometimes. We sat on blankets and cushions and helped our self to the evening meal.
Night in the desert
The stars were the highlight for me they were stunning to see. I have never seen so many of them so bright. I have been on cruises so seen stars from the middle of the ocean, but it was nothing compared to the stars I saw whilst spending the night in the desert.
When I saw the milky way, I just couldn’t stop looking at it, it was mesmerising, I don’t know anything about star constellations but people on the group were pointing them out and it was just a cool experience that I suggest has to be on everyone’s bucket list.
What we did in Camp
Dinner was a beef tagine, bread, olives, nuts and fruit not the most amazing meal, but it was edible. People brought snacks with them as well, as alcohol or soft drinks
They played some drums and got people up dancing around the fire which was fun some of the group went sand surfing down the dunes on a mattress, but it was pitch black surprised there were no accidents.
What to take camping in the desert
You really do not need much. There are obviously no shops, so take with you want you will want to eat or drink if its extra. Some warm clothes as it does get cold at night and maybe a torch.
I wouldn’t say you need anything else if you are only spending one night in the desert as the whole experience is to be back to basic. Oh, maybe your camera to take some amazing pictures of the stars.
Tip : Use a money belt for your valuables
Activities in the Sahara
On our tour we had a 2nd night camping in the Sahara but we were at a more accommodated site which was also a hotel. After our first night in the desert we returned to this hotel to have breakfast and freshen up before we did our daily activities.
These activities are also available in the Sahara if you are travelling independently.
We went over the sand dunes in 4×4 racing over the sand was fun and a little scary. We then went to listen to some local African music before going to get panoramic views over the Sahara and visiting a nomad family.
There are options to hire quads ride the camels again or even visit a spa.
The hotel / camp we spent the 2nd night at had a swimming pool and it was nice to spend some time in the sun around the pool as during my 10 days in Morocco I have not seen much of the sun.
You can read more about my Travel Talk here and if you would like to book the tour click on the logo below. If you are still unsure if you want to go camping in the Sahara and have concerns get in touch and I will do my best to answer.
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