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Great Journeys: Morocco: Sahara Desert

The rocks of the hammada and the dunes of the Sahara may be inhospitable, but the sights and sounds are simply stunning.

Map of southern Morocco

Click on the links below to find out more about individual destinations.

Journey Summary

We start and end our journey in Marrakech, where it's easy to pick up a hire car for exploring the desert. Heading south over the windy roads of the High Atlas, our first stop is Aït Benhaddou, home to the most stunning desert fortress you'll ever see. The Drâa Valley takes us to our first taste of the desert, and after a long day's drive across the hammada we reach Rissani. The next day's drive to Merzouga is bone shaking but perfectly possible in a normal car, and it's here that we can take a camel trek in the Sahara Desert. Heading north out of the desert there are stops at Todra Gorge and the Dadès Valley en route, before we stop at Ouarzazate on the way back to Marrakech again.

Suggested Itinerary

The following is only a suggested itinerary, and is based round a journey by car, with overnight stops at hotels along the way. All roads are suitable for normal two-wheel-drive cars (though the desert roads are highly corrugated). Important Note: Before setting off on any journey into the desert, it's important to ensure that the car is in good condition, and that you have a reasonable amount of water in case of breakdown.

Day Suggested Itinerary
1 Fly to Marrakech
2-3 Two days in Marrakech
4 Marrakech to Aït Benhaddou
5 Aït Benhaddou to Drâa Valley
6 Drâa Valley to Rissani (via the hammada)
7 Rissani to Merzouga
8 One day in Merzouga
9-10 Two days on a camel trek in the Sahara Desert
11 Merzouga to Todra Gorge
12 Todra Gorge to Dadès Valley
13 Dadès Valley to Ouarzazate
14 Ouarzazate to Marrakech
15 Fly from Marrakech