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“3 day desert trip to Erg Chebbi”

Marrakech Desert Trips
Ranked #140 of 771 Outdoor Activities in Marrakech
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Marrakech Desert Trips offers day trips and excursions to Morocco Sahara desert, the Atlas Mountains and Essaouira, as well as quad biking and camel trekking activities in the palm grove at the outskirts of Marrakech
Useful Information: Lockers / storage, Activities for young children, Stairs / lift, Activities for older children, Bathroom facilities, Food available for purchase
Reviewed 6 April 2018

I'll provide a more elaborate review below. For those who do not want to read much:

I can really, really recommend doing a trip as we did (3 days, 2 nights to Erg Chebbi). There were some hick-ups and not everything was perfect (see below) but the experience in general was superb, and the price fair. We saw so much in 3 days and the experience of sleeping in a sand desert is something you will not do every day.

We were lucky to encounter a new employee on this tour (Ahmet) without whom we would have never learnt so much, he spent hours explaining things to us with the passion of someone who really wants you to understand. Big thumbs up, hope you will have him on your tour as well ;-)

For the longer read I will go through the days:

Day 1: Pick up from Marrakech, early in the morning. A lot of buses drive around that time, picking up guests from all over the places, as these tours get more popular and you are not the only one doing them. Make sure you find your bus/driver. If you need cash, our driver stopped so we could withdraw from an ATM before leaving.
Around 8, once everyone is on, you get on the road up the Atlas Mountains. You will drive through green villages and stop on the way for a coffee with a great view to the valley. Unfortunately, the drivers all seem to stop in similar places, so it can get crowded. The tour goes on up to the highest point of the pass at 2200m for another quick stop.
From there, the descend on the other side begins and you immediately spot the difference in climate, it being drier and becoming desert-like. At around 1 o’clock we stopped in Aït-Ben-Haddou, a beautiful ksar (fortified city) in an Oasis. Some famous movies were shot here.
Whereas the Oasis and the Ksar a beautiful, the procedure here was the low point of our Germany. Several dozens of tourist buses stop here and are hushed to go with one of the local guides who will ask you for money afterwards. Moreover, you didn’t know how much time you had and where to meet again. So even though, you weren’t forced, there was no really possibility of going on your own. It’s not that the guide was bad or too expensive (~3€ pp.). It's the feeling of not having a choice and being milked as a tourist that annoyed.
You will have a ca 1-hour tour of the ksar, which is beautiful. Afterwards you will be led by the guide to a shop where he will tell you, that you really need to buy a scarf for the desert. This is a lie and it's another thing that made us feel ripped off. The shop he leads you too is overpriced and you can get scarf for half the price 100m away.
Even though you don’t need the scarf, it’s a cool thing to have one you go to the erg, even if just for the look. So, keep an eye open whether you can get some for 50 dirhams (better for less) somewhere around, but not the shop he leads you too. The guide will also lead you to a huge restaurant where 200+ people eat very quickly, being hushed that it's "getting late". The food was not so good and given the quality, rather expensive (100dh for a Tagine, which you get for 30 in Marrakech).
Even though the place was beautiful, the entire atmosphere of getting as much money out of you as possible was negative, especially as we felt we had no choice. Luckily, this already was the worst experience of our trip.

From Aït-Ben-Haddou we continued on the highway (our driver was really good) and down the road to Ouarzazarte. You will have a stone desert all the way, and the city does not offer much. You will stop at the film studios for a look, and opposite the old town for another glimpse. It's here Ahmet started to be really helpful for us in explaining all around.
With a quick stop in the "Rose city", the drive continues until you reach your Hotel in Dades Valley in the early evening. The Hotel was simple, but nice. Unfortunately, we paid 10€ extra for an AC room and didn’t get it. The food at the place was great, however, you need to pay drinks. We felt like at least water should be included for dinner. The hotel has a river running behind in the backyard and a terrace for stargazing.

Day 2: early leave at around 7am. A lot of driving that day again. First stop was in Tinghir, a true Berber town where we had the opportunity to walk through an Oasis, see traditional farming and construction, and experience a nearly-medieval town. The guide here, Abdel, was very friendly and didn’t ask for any additional payments. Also showed us a traditional Berber carpet producer. At around 12 we left to dive to a gorge, the name of which I forgot. Here came another thing that bothered us: the driver just stopped somewhere again where we had no choice of place but go to this one restaurant. Food was good, price okayish (90dh). However, you never loose the feeling he is just stopping at the restaurant of a friend or something to deliver customers.
We continued with a long drive during the afternoon (Stop every 2 hours) and reached Merzouga in the late afternoon. The basecamp for the desert trip was cool, people were friendly. You will just need a backpack with some water for the night, and then get on your camel. The tour guide is super easy going and willing to take pictures for you. The experience of riding on a camel into the sunset in a dune desert (erg) was breath-taking. Just before sunset we arrived and could climb up a dune of several hundred feet. At night, you will sleep in a camp of ~60 people. Food came at 10, but was delicious, the best I had in Morocco (make sure to try the steamed lemon).
Days 3: Very early rise as the track left at 6am back to the basecamp. We rode of in the night and with stars and watched the sun rise from the back of a camel. In the base camp we got simple but good breakfast. Again, Ahmed proved amazing and could tell us about Berber culture. This day will be the day of your longest drive, as you need to cover all the distance back to Marrakech. It was a hot day outside, we stopped once every 2 hours for toilets and snacks. Had a similar experience with just stopping at a restaurant of the drivers choosing (100dh for Salad, food, desert). We arrived at 8in Marrakech where the driver dropped us next door to our Riad.

To conclude: The trip was really, really great. We had an amazing time and saw so much. If there is anything to improve, then its giving clients more freedom and choice about where to get lunches. Also, it would have been great to give us a time frame in frame in Aït-Ben-Haddou and say “Guys, be back at xx.pm. If you want, you can also join the guide here”. We would have probably done it, but choosing it just feels better. Lastly, we were fortunate to have Ahmet with to explain whatever sprang to our mind about Morocco and Berber culture. I hope you can get a similar experience and a person you can enrich your understanding by so much!

1  Thank LowBob57
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviews (238)
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"desert trip"
in 12 reviews
"camel ride"
in 15 reviews
"hotel panorama"
in 2 reviews
"meals provided"
in 2 reviews
"ait ben"
in 7 reviews
"atlas mountains"
in 14 reviews
"days trip"
in 5 reviews
"tour guide"
in 8 reviews
"first night"
in 6 reviews
"superb guide"
in 2 reviews
"nice driver"
in 2 reviews
"amazing days"
in 3 reviews
"berber guides"
in 2 reviews
"local music"
in 2 reviews
"beautiful sights"
in 2 reviews
"traveling alone"
in 2 reviews
"an amazing experience"
in 5 reviews

68 - 72 of 238 reviews

Reviewed 6 April 2018

We had an amazing trip into the maroccan desert starting from Marakkech. During the three days trip we visited the Atlas mountains, an old Kasbah, a lovely canyon, an oasis and the absolut highlight: The desert next to Merzouga. We rode a dromedary into our night camp and were able to climb dunes for watching the sunset. At night, we had a fabulous meal and a berber music show. On the next morning, we rode back for seeing the sunrise again in the desert. Although we had plenty guides at most stops, the driver was not very helpful for explaining things on the way. Therefore, we were really thankful for having Ahmed, who was able to translate from Arabic/Berber into English for us. I have to criticise the choice of restaurants, since we often stopped at "tourist traps", which were expensive and especially two times were really disappointing in service and food quality. However, overall I consider the trip defenitly worth it!

Thank Fabio S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 April 2018

Overall the tour was organised in a professional way and I am satisfied of what I could experience in 3 days. The driver was very secure in driving and I always felt safe. Also the announced program was followed, with the highlights of the sand dunes close to Merzouga. Our group of 15 people was also lucky to have Ahmed with us additionally to the driver. He was very helpful in explain us things about local culture given that he was able to speak English. Definitely a plus! What I found disturbing was that when stopping for lunch no choice was given but we simply made halt in places where prices where comparatively high and many other groups of tourists paused as well: It would have been much better to stop in some cities and leave the choice to us where to eat!

Thank CescoGianni
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 April 2018 via mobile

My parents and I planned to visit Morocco and we're more than satisfied at the planned itinery that Marrakech Desert Trips had planned ahead. We were beyond gratified by our guide, Mohammad who went out of his way to ensure we had an enjoyable holiday. It was truly an eye-opening experience within the culture of Morocco and not just as tourists, but integrating with the locals we learned so much more.

Ir has exceeded our expectations in service, delivery by Mohamed, who has gone above and beyond what was expected of him. it shows the high commitment he has towards the company which abodes well into the industry as a whole.

Barakkallah feekum

1  Thank Nisa M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 1 April 2018 via mobile

My friend and I just got back from a 4-day desert tour, which was an unforgettable trip. Everything was well organized with very nice hotels and stops along the way. Our driver Mohamed was very friendly and competent and speaks good English. The highlight was the camel ride and the night in the desert. I'd recommend doing the 4-day tour, because it makes the trip more relaxed.

1  Thank Martina M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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