Marrakech to Merzouga, Sahara Desert | Morocco | Perpetual Journeys
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Sahara desert

From Marrakech to Merzouga, Sahara Desert

Sahara desert

 

When we decided to backpack around Morocco, we knew that visiting the Sahara Desert was a must. But even after we arrived, we still couldn’t believe that we had made it. This was a destination that you only see in photos of or learned about in those dreaded Geography lessons. After one look at the Sahara dunes we both immediately agreed that it looked fake. It was THAT unreal. We had one of the most memorable experiences there with Desert Luxury Camps.

But how did we get there?

Initially, we planned on driving to Merzouga from Marrakech but who knew you needed a credit card to rent a car? We presume everyone but us. So, we arrived in Morocco and went through the process of booking a car, just to find out that we couldn’t so we needed to make a plan B. A plan that allowed our tight schedule to run smoothly, didn’t blow our budget, and still let us do everything we wanted to. Not much to ask, right?

How far is Marrakech from Merzouga? 562km/349 miles.

When should you visit? Between October and early May. From June to September, the desert will be too hot. During the winter months, the temperature can drop below freezing at night.

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Marrakech Square

Day One: Ouarzazate

From Marrakech, we took a Supra Tours bus to Ouarzazate.

Supratours is the leading bus company in Morocco. It works alongside the ONCF network (Morocco’s railway operator), covering areas that can’t be accessed by trains. You can risk buying a ticket on the day or buy a ticket in advance at the Supratours office. However, these buses fill up fast and do not run every hour! The buses are quite new, relatively comfortable and all have air con. The company does claim that you have access to wifi on board, however, this was definitely not the case! That said, the scenery is entertainment enough. The different landscapes in Morocco are incredible. We only had one twenty minute stop at a rundown cafe for your chance to use a toilet (for 2Dh) and grab a snack. We’d recommend buying food in advance in Marrakech as there isn’t much variety at the stop and the prices are of course inflated.

Departure time: 13.00

Arrival time: 18.00 (5 hours)

Price: 90 Dh / 7 GBP / 25 USD

Other times: 08.30, 15.00, 15.30

We stayed overnight in Ouarzazate at Riad Tama which we definitely recommend.

Day 2: Merzouga

The next day we had two options to get to Merzouga, bus or taxi. We opted to hire a driver to take us from Ouarzazate to Merzouga rather than take a bus, simply due to time restraints. However, if we had a more flexible schedule we would’ve taken the Supratours bus. The car was a little uncomfortable and hot, but the major advantage is that you can ask the driver to stop when you see a photo opportunity. Again, the views on the way to the Sahara Desert were breathtaking.

Private car

Departure time: 7.30

Arrival time: 13.30 (bearing in mind that we didn’t have a long break)

Price: 1100Dh / 86GBP / 120USD

Supratours bus

Departure time: 13.00

Arrival time: 21.00 (Arrived quite late & we didn’t want to miss watching the sunset in the desert)

Price: 200Dh / 16GBP / 22USD

Day 3: Fez

After our time in the Sahara Desert, we made our way to Fez. There’s only one Supratours bus from Merzouga to Fez and it’s a dreaded overnight bus. We all know overnight buses are in no way enjoyable but it was certainly a cheap way to do a 10-hour journey and it allowed us to spend the whole day in the Sahara Desert.

Departure time: 19.00

Arrival time: 05.00

Price: 200Dh / 16GBP / 22USD

Morocco

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After these 3 days, we were absolutely exhausted from all the long bus journeys. However, it was a great way to see more of Morocco’s landscapes outside of the busy cities.

We would recommend:

  • Staying in Ouarzazate for a full day and head to Merzouga on the 3rd day
  • To get a Supratours bus from Ouarzazate to Merzouga to keep costs low
  • To get a Supratours bus from Marrakech to Merzouga if you’re short on time
  • RENT A CAR!

Sahara desert