Explore Morocco’s stark desert landscape on an overnight trip from Marrakech to Zagora, and sleep beneath the stars in a luxurious Berber camp. Explore the twisting passes and ancient kasbahs of the High Atlas, take in the rustling palms of the Draa Valley then ride a camel into the Zagora’s high dunes for a desert sunset. Dine beside a crackling fire as local musicians play Sahrawi melodies; ride early for a spectacular Saharan sunrise, steer your camel out of the dunes and start the winding, scenic road back to Marrakech.
Enjoy a day away from the hustle and bustle of the city
I would strongly recommend that visitors do a different tour.
My group was five people there were three or four other couples in the group at large. During the camel ride, the guides ended up separating us 2/5 in one group, 3/5 in another string of camel riders that went another direction. We tried to ask in multiple language where they were taking the rest of the group, and the guides refused to answer. When we arrived at the camp, we tried to ask more people in English and French. The guides again refused to answer or said they didn't know. Finally we asked the right question -- did you take our friends to another camp? They answered yes, but would not tell us why.
This made no sense, because there was space at our camp, and they ended up bringing around 10 completely different people to our camp that were not in our original riding group. This was extremely disconcerting and we were treated very rudely. We just gave up trying to get answers and went to sleep. Luckily we met up with our group in the next morning. They had also attempted to ask where we were taken and why, and were ignored or lied to about not speaking English or French.
There was no fire at the campsite as described in the description, though we saw other camps in the distance had fires. We asked about this and were told it was 'because they did not have any wood.' Dogs barked all night in the campsite so the sleep was not ideal. The 'breakfast' in the morning was leftover bread from the dinner the night before. As mentioned by another reviewer, the pictures of giant sand dunes are completely wrong -- there are small dunes right around the campsite. You mostly ride your camel near a road.
The description of the tour does not state that at places you stop on both days, the tours cost more money if you want to do them.
While we saw some beautiful places, the way we were treated and the differences in the description of the tour versus reality made this an unpleasant experience that frankly felt unsafe and unwelcoming. I strongly recommend against this tour, but if you take it, bring extra money for the tour costs not included, and make sure your group stays on the same line of camels or you will be separated.
The pictures you see on site are not what you see there. This tour goes only to the small Sahara, you need the three day tour to go to the big Sahara which is where you may see sights that reasonable the pictures.
This tour says you can choose between a camel ride and a 4WD out to the site, this is wrong. I wanted the 4WD as I am pregnant and they did not provide one. They kept ignoring me, hoping I would change my mind and take the camel ride. Eventually they had someone in a local car take me to the site well after it was dark and everyone else had left on the camels but the next morning when it came time to return they pretended they knew nothing about me needing the car or preferred 4WD and instead I was made to walk with the camels back.
The tour indicates all guides are paid for, they are not, you will need to have cash to pay for local guides and to tip the guides at the camp site. These are compulsory. Some members of our group refused to pay and were hassled and severely questioned until they gave the money over.
Our driver was also our tour guide for the trip. However, the closest we got to hearing him talk about anything was when we stopped somewhere and he indicated how long we had until we had to be back in the bus. There was no commentary or information about what we were actually doing.
Positive - the stars are pretty good to see still, but the rest of the trip is pretty average.
Enjoyed this tour, but the image used by Viator is pure marketing spin. Zagora desert dunes were about 2 metres high, not the huge dunes you see in the photo. But for all that, the Zagora desert camp was scenic and beautiful in it's own way. Be warned: this tour is a long drive with many hours spent in the minibus, but it was also an amazing trip over the Atlas and anti-Atlas Mountains, through Ouarzazate, the Draa Valley, and then a sunset camel trek to a desert camp among sand dunes.
First stop was a coffee shop/restaurant in the steep mountain valleys of the Atlas mountains below Tizi-n-Tichka pass, and then a little later a stop near the top of the pass to enjoy the snow on the ground and take photos. It is an amazing scenic road over the Atlas mountains.
Our guide in Ouarzazate took us through Taourirt Kasbah filling us in on some of the history and architecture. Saw none of the private rooms of this Kasbah, just walked through the maze of alleyways and the shops there in. Would have liked a more thorough tour given this Kasbah's history. The guide then steered us across the road to La Kasbah Etoile for lunch, rated 50 of 51 restaurants in Ouarzazate. Definitely below average, and there are 3 other restaurants in the vicinity. About the best aspect to this restaurant was the rooftop terrace views, forget the food. My advice: go somewhere else, it's your lunch money.
After Ouarzazate we travelled over the anti-Atlas mountains then along the length of the Draa Valley to Zagora. We stopped briefly late in the afternoon at a small grocery shop to buy bottled water and snacks for our overnight adventure.The desert camel trek was about 1.8km, a real experience, and ours was timed just right, at sunset. The Desert Camp tents were great with wonderful Berber hospitality. But the night I visited there was a campfire after dinner, but no music, songs or stories. mmm. Maybe they were a bit tired. The starry desert skies were truly magnificient and the twilight of dusk and dawn among the low sand dunes was breathtaking. After sunrise another camel trek of about 1.8km back to your tour bus.
Driving the Draa valley was spectacular with palmgroves along the river flanked by bare mountains on either side. There were quite a few people cycling, and donkeys were a means of transport and used for hauling dates from the Palm groves. It would have been nice to explore far more, although on this tour time was at a premium. In the morning of the second day of our journey back to Marrakech, we stopped at a cafe/restaurant next to Kasbah Oulad Othmane in the Draa Valley and enjoyed a coffee or fresh squeezed orange juice and bought snacks.
We then drove to Ben Haddou, a fortified village and world heritage site well worthwhile visiting. Lunch was in a hotel organised by tour guide in the new town over the river from Ben Haddou, but was fairly ordinary. Might have been better to find our own lunch.
Back in Ouarzazate we were taken to Labyrinthe du Sud and given the hard sell on carpets. My advice: do have a wander and look around this store full of antiquities, jewellery and carpets, but know the value of what you are bargaining for. Probably better to bargain in a Marrakech souk for what you want.
Last stop was at an Argan Women's co-operative in which the process of extracting the oils from the Argan nut were explained to us, with an opportunity to buy Argan oil and cosmetics. Worthwhile visiting and supporting one of these co-operatives.
We didn't get back to the Marrakech medina till well after 9pm. It was a long 2 days and different to my expectations, but I am glad I did this tour. Just watch out for the guide steering you to visit tourist traps for food and purchases when there are other options available.