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Location: Marrakech

Day 1 - 21 Dec 2017

Morocco Desert Safari

Marrakech, Morocco Desert Safari
Marrakech, Morocco Desert Safari

Content: I opted for a tour for my 3 Day Sahara Desert Safari Tour. The tour van was very spacious and accommodated 10 of us. The tour van left Marrakech at 7am and we were on the road for a few hours.

Atlas Mountains

Marrakech, Atlas Mountains
Marrakech, Atlas Mountains
Marrakech, Atlas Mountains

Content: The first stop was Tizi n’Tichka Atlas pass, also known as the ‘Difficult Mountain Pass’ due to its high elevation, rugged carved out gorges, and narrow roads. The gorges are known as ‘Dades Gorges’ and serve as a gateway to the Sahara Desert. It is over a 2-hour drive from the South of Marrakech. The drive up to the Atlas pass was breathtaking and unlike anything I have ever seen before. The valley overlooked the mighty snow-covered Atlas Mountains and the gorges. It is a great spot to relax, get some refreshments, and soak in the beautiful surroundings.

Location: Ouarzazate

Day 1 - 21 Dec 2017

Kasbah Ait BenHadda

Ouarzazate, Kasbah Ait BenHadda
Ouarzazate, Kasbah Ait BenHadda
Ouarzazate, Kasbah Ait BenHadda
Ouarzazate, Kasbah Ait BenHadda
Ouarzazate, Kasbah Ait BenHadda
Ouarzazate, Kasbah Ait BenHadda
Ouarzazate, Kasbah Ait BenHadda
Ouarzazate, Kasbah Ait BenHadda
Ouarzazate, Kasbah Ait BenHadda

Content: Game of Thrones fan?? This place is nothing but all reminiscent of that. The second stop was 4-hour drive from Atlas Pass to Kasbah Ait Benhaddou. Ait Benhaddou is one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites and is recognized as the backdrop for many films and TV shows. The beautiful architectural Ksar (a group of Earthen buildings surrounded by high walls) stands tall and is the highlight for many visiting the village in the city of Ouarzazate. It was a dream come true for a Game of Thrones fan like me to finally visit the city of ‘Yunkai’. For those of you who aren’t aware, Ait Benhaddou was depicted as the city of Yunkai in season 3 of GOT and where the legendary song ‘Mhysa’ with Daenerys Targaryen was filmed. You have the option to request a private mini-tour of the village (at an additional cost) but I stuck to the group tour. The village is built beautifully and the mud walls give it an earthy-rustic look. You will come across several mini shops selling locally handcrafted items like Pashminas, Kaftans, Jewellery, Lamps, and Rugs.

Location: Boumalne Dades

Day 1 - 21 Dec 2017

Hôtel la Kasbah de Dades Ex Chems

Boumalne Dades, Hôtel la Kasbah de Dades Ex Chems
Boumalne Dades, Hôtel la Kasbah de Dades Ex Chems

Content: After a long day on the road and touring the wonderful villages of Ouarzazate, it was time to unwind. We checked in La Kasbah De Dades; a beautiful hotel built in Moroccan style that offers breathtaking views of the mountains and the valley from its rooftop terrace. The rooms were small and cozy with balconies facing the main valley. The small Moroccan styled details added texture to the room and well-polished furniture gave the hotel a modern contemporary look at the same time.

Location: Boumalne Dades

Day 2 - 22 Dec 2017

Hôtel la Kasbah de Dades Ex Chems

Boumalne Dades, Hôtel la Kasbah de Dades Ex Chems

Content: We were here only for 1 night. The sunrise from my room balcony was stunning. It was an early wake up call. Breakfast was included.

Location: Tinghir

Day 2 - 22 Dec 2017

Magasin todra gorges

Tinghir, Magasin todra gorges
Tinghir, Magasin todra gorges
Tinghir, Magasin todra gorges

Content: Tinerhir, also known as Tinghir is a small town situated in this region and offers a variety of activities like Rock climbing, hiking to the lookout point of the Todra village, a visit to their local Mosque, and the famous food markets. We were offered a cultural tour where I had the opportunity to visit one of the Berbers who operated his Rug business from home. We were led into the house and were seated in a huge room full of carpets. You can choose to buy the carpets then and there and your rug can be shipped internationally for a fee.

Drive to Merzouga

Tinghir, Drive to Merzouga
Tinghir, Drive to Merzouga
Tinghir, Drive to Merzouga

Content: The last leg of this journey was a 2.5-3-hour drive to Merzouga. Merzouga is a small town in the Sahara Desert and acts as a gateway for tourists entering the desert. By this time, you start to see more isolated and cleaner roads with at most 2-3 houses on either side of the roads. We stopped for a quick bathroom break and I was in awe of how calm and scenic the surroundings were. You will not find any traffic or noise whatsoever. There are a few locals living nearby so try to befriend a few. They are really nice and sweet.

Location: Merzouga

Day 2 - 22 Dec 2017

Merzouga

Merzouga, Merzouga
Merzouga, Merzouga
Merzouga, Merzouga

Content: We finally reached Merzouga. We checked into a hotel for lunch and to rest for a while. The hotel staff welcomed us with their traditional Moroccan head wraps. It is to be tied on your head and used as a scarf to cover your face for the Camel ride. It is advised to carry only one night’s worth of luggage to the camp as to lessen the load on the Camel. The Camel ride was the highlight of the entire tour as I got to be a part of the most incredible journey through the vast lands of Sand Dunes. The Sun shining on the sand gave it a beautiful bright beige colour. The Erg Chebbi (large and endless seas on dunes formed by windblown sand) lies to the south of Sahara and is one of the most sought after regions to camp in the desert. The Camel ride can feel uneasy so always dress comfortably and don’t underestimate the power of a pair of good old pants or jeans. This helps you with a good grip while seated on the Camel. The desert is extremely windy and can make riding a camel a little more challenging. It is always best to cover your face with the scarf and maybe even wear sunglasses (those with sensitive eyes).

Sahara Desert Camping - Morocco - Erg Chebbi - Merzouga

Merzouga, Sahara Desert Camping - Morocco - Erg Chebbi - Merzouga
Merzouga, Sahara Desert Camping - Morocco - Erg Chebbi - Merzouga
Merzouga, Sahara Desert Camping - Morocco - Erg Chebbi - Merzouga
Merzouga, Sahara Desert Camping - Morocco - Erg Chebbi - Merzouga
Merzouga, Sahara Desert Camping - Morocco - Erg Chebbi - Merzouga
Merzouga, Sahara Desert Camping - Morocco - Erg Chebbi - Merzouga

Content: There are a few types of Luxury Camps in the Sahara. You can choose your type based on how many people you are traveling with, the number of days you wish to camp in the desert, your budget, and the travel agent/company you book your tour with. I opted for the most basic luxury camp as it was great for solo travelers, offered me the privacy I needed, and gave me the taste of luxury without breaking my wallet. Each luxury tent comes with twin single beds, a set of two warm woolen blankets, a bathroom with a sink, mirror, small bottles of shampoo and hand wash, and a shower area. I loved the colour scheme and the small details of the tent.

Sunset in Sahara Desert

Merzouga, Sunset in Sahara Desert
Merzouga, Sunset in Sahara Desert

Content: After settling in, we were encouraged to walk to the highest dunes to watch the sunset. It was truly the most wonderful time of the day when I witnessed the sun going down and the colour of sand change from golden to beautiful deep mustard to a shade of light brown. As I walked a little further, I saw Camels just lounging and taking a rest on the soft sand.

Sahara Desert Morocco

Merzouga, Sahara Desert Morocco
Merzouga, Sahara Desert Morocco
Merzouga, Sahara Desert Morocco

Content: It was time for dinner and we were lead to the huge white tent (in the photo above). The entire path was decorated with colourful lamps that lighted the area beautifully. I was in awe of how tastefully the main tent was designed. It gave me the feeling of entering my private mini restaurant in the middle of the desert. We were served with the most exotic Moroccan dishes with the famous Moroccan Mint Tea. Day 2 ended in the best possible way as we were entertained by the Berber musical group. Listening to drum music and dancing around a campfire, under the stars in the middle of the Sahara Desert was magical and a night I will never forget. I have never seen such a clear night sky anywhere in the world and the crisp cold wind of the desert made it perfect. It gets bitter cold at night in winters and it is important to carry a warm sweater with you to the camp. The tent does not have a charging port so carry a portable charger and be ready for long hours without Wi-Fi or a signal.

Location: Merzouga

Day 3 - 23 Dec 2017

Sunrise in Sahara

Merzouga, Sunrise in Sahara
Merzouga, Sunrise in Sahara
Merzouga, Sunrise in Sahara

Content: Sunrise in the Sahara is a sight to behold, giving the sand dunes a majestic golden honey colour. The colour of the sky is hugely affected by the dust from the blowing sand. It is such a spectacular time for a Camel ride through the dunes and this is how my day 3 started. It was a 5:30 am wake up call and I was escorted to my Camel, waiting outside the camp. The journey in my opinion, from camp to Merzouga was even better than the first time because I was more comfortable on the Camel, the dunes look much different and radiant and the early morning breeze made me wish the journey never ended. We had the opportunity to climb one of the highest dunes and watch the sunrise. I was dropped off in Marrakech by 7:30-8pm, safety. Do check out this tour on ‘Get Your Guide’. It’s called the ‘3 Day Marrakech to Merzouga Desert Safari Tour’.