We really wanted to ride camels in the desert! We had originally planned to go to a different part of the Sahara, but we found out that this was one occasion where travelling independently was actually going to be more expensive than taking a tour. We changed our plans accordingly and joined a group tour to Merzouga. Now, Merzouga is a long way from Marrakech, so the tour was two nights and three days. We were lucky and had a really fun, multicultural group – we had a great time with our fellow travellers (we wound up staying with our new friend Ivy in Casablanca later in our trip – we love meeting new people!)
On our first day we left Marrakech around 7.30am and headed over the High Atlas mountains.
Our next stop was the stunning kasbah of Ait Ben Haddou which was used as a film set for lots of movies and shows including our beloved Game of Thrones. We had fun exploring here and in the nearby area – we hadn’t been that excited about the things we would see en route to the desert but wound up having an awesome time!
After staying the night in a hotel, we continued on the next day to see another kasbah and carpet demonstration…this turned into a lot of time at the carpet shop where the carpets were beautiful but not really what we wanted to put in our packs!
After a walk through the valley we saw dramatic cliffs at the river and had a welcome quick paddle!
We then made haste for the desert town of Merzouga, where we arrived in time to ride camels into the sunset. It turns out that after the first ten mintes camels are distinctly uncomfortable to ride, so after an hour and a half we were definitely ready to camp.
Our desert camp was awesome – just tents with mattresses and blankets and the toilets were “anywhere in the sand outside the camp”! We had lots of fun eating here, watching some traditional drumming and climbing a sand dune to watch the stars. (We came down quite quickly after we saw large beetles skittering through the sand!)
Our wake up call came around 5am, when we were woken up to get back on the camels to see the sunrise. Our muscles definitely didn’t appreciate getting back on the camels! We also saw snake tracks where snakes had been in the night…thankfully not near our camp! We arrived back in Merzouga in time for breakfast and a gruelling 11 hour drive back. We really loved our time in the desert – it was worth the drive and effort to get there!