Which Desert to Visit in Morocco: Merzouga or Zagora?
Merzouga and Zagora are two famous Moroccan deserts, each with distinct characteristics. Merzouga, located in southeastern Morocco, boasts towering dunes, including the iconic Erg Chebbi, known for its golden hues at sunrise and sunset. It offers camel treks and an authentic desert experience. Zagora, situated in the Draa Valley region, showcases a mix of rocky plateaus, palm groves, and smaller dunes. The nearby Draa River adds a touch of greenery to the arid landscape. Choosing between Merzouga and Zagora depends on your preference for either majestic dunes or diverse desert terrain.
What is the difference between the Merzouga Erg Cheebi & Zagora?
Merzouga and Zagora are the two most visited and famous deserts in Morocco, often causing a dilemma for travelers choosing between them. As local travel experts at Best Morocco Travel Agency, we aim to provide clarity and help you make the most of your trip to Morocco.
A journey to the Sahara Desert is an extraordinary experience, and depending on the time you have available, you may opt to visit either Zagora or Merzouga. Departing from Marrakech, numerous custom desert excursions cater to these destinations: the Zagora desert and the Merzouga desert.
While both deserts are part of the larger Sahara Desert, each offers its unique characteristics. Allow us to delve into the specifics, aiding you in selecting the desert excursion that best aligns with your preferences. If you already have a destination in mind, we recommend clicking the following link, where we can provide the best deals for customized desert excursions from Marrakech.
When we imagine Morocco, an image that often comes to mind is that of an endless expanse of sand, adorned with tents and camels. While cities like Marrakech and Fes hold their allure, the allure of the desert beckons. But which part should you choose? Which desert in Morocco is the best? Which one is closer? These are common questions that may arise when planning your desert adventure.
Silence reigns in the desert nights, illuminated by millions of stars. It’s an overwhelming silence that can even evoke a sense of awe. There are no nearby chirping crickets or passing cars. At that moment, you might question whether it’s all a dream, as the absence of sound seems almost surreal. But fear not, for you are very much alive, experiencing the enchantment of the desert at night.
Exploring a desert trip from Marrakech is an adventure that will etch itself in your memory for a lifetime. While there are various tours to choose from, visiting either Merzouga or Zagora surpasses the rest, offering an unparalleled and unforgettable experience.
Let us be your guide, and we assure you that your journey to either Merzouga or Zagora will be nothing short of extraordinary.
Merzouga Erg Chebbi or Zagora: removing the confusion
When deciding between Zagora and Merzouga, one crucial factor to consider is the duration of your trip. If you have a short time and prefer a shorter trip, 2 days tour from Marrakech to Zagora is a good option. This allows you to spend one night in the desert and experience its magic. However, if you have an extra day to spare, we highly recommend choosing a 4 days desert from Marrakech to Merzouga.
For the Merzouga desert, the ideal duration is 3 days and 2 nights. Typically, one night is spent in the Atlas Mountains, and the other night is in a tent within the Merzouga desert. Merzouga is renowned for its impressive dunes, some of which reach a staggering height of 150 meters. To explore and fully appreciate this breathtaking desert landscape, allocating more time is advantageous.
To learn more about the available trips, we suggest checking out our best tours and desert trips from Marrakech. There, you get some information that will help you with the itineraries and activities to help you make decisions on your preferences and available time.
Whether you choose Zagora or Merzouga, both destinations offer their unique charm and an opportunity to get into the captivating beauty of the Moroccan desert.
How long does it take to get to Zagora & Merzouga from Marrakech or Fes?
Traveling to either Zagora or Merzouga in Morocco’s southeast can take almost a full day due to stops, delays, and unforeseen circumstances. Both destinations are situated in the southeastern region, with Merzouga slightly further north. It’s crucial to plan accordingly, allowing ample time for the journey and considering additional buffer days. Choose a reliable tour operator to assist with transportation and ensure a smooth experience. While the travel time can be significant, it provides an opportunity to witness diverse landscapes and get into the adventure before reaching the captivating desert destination.
1- Marrakech Erg Chebbi to Zagora desert
The Zagora desert is situated approximately 360 kilometers from Marrakech, requiring a 6-hour road journey to reach. Despite the travel time, it is an ideal destination for a short 2-day and 1-night desert getaway.
Unlike the Merzouga desert, Zagora is characterized by its arid and rocky landscape. However, this unique terrain does not diminish its charm, as it remains one of the most popular desert destinations in Morocco.
Although it differs from the typical concept of the Moroccan desert, Zagora’s beauty is captivating and well worth a visit. You can partake in activities such as camel riding at sunset and experience the magic of sleeping in a tent under the desert sky. For more information about the Zagora desert tour.
Overall, while Zagora may have a distinct landscape compared to other deserts in Morocco, it offers its unique allure and an opportunity to create unforgettable desert memories.
2 – Marrakech to Merzouga Erg Chebbi
The Merzouga desert is situated approximately 570 kilometers away from Marrakech, requiring a 9-10 hour road journey. Due to the long travel time, the trip to Merzouga is typically done in two stages. This desert is the most popular and visited destination in Morocco, attracting travelers who have more time to invest in this adventure.
A journey to Merzouga usually entails a minimum of 3 days and 2 nights. Although it is possible to do a 2-day and 1-night tour from Marrakech, the extensive driving hours should be taken into consideration.
From Fes, the distance to Merzouga (Erg Chebbi) is around 460 kilometers, and the travel time is approximately 6-7 hours. Both a 2-day and 1-night tour from Fes to Merzouga and a 3-day and 2-night desert tour are fantastic options to explore if you are starting your adventure from this culturally rich city.
In Merzouga, you can marvel at the vast dunes of Erg Chebbi, which reach heights of more than 150 meters. Enjoy a breathtaking sunset while riding a camel, quad bike, or even a buggy through the dunes.
If that wasn’t enough to make this trip unforgettable, a camel ride will lead you to a tent where you can experience the mesmerizing starry desert sky. Gazing at the Milky Way while lying on a dune is a truly unforgettable experience.
The Merzouga desert offers an enchanting and awe-inspiring journey, filled with majestic dunes and magical desert experiences that will leave a lasting impression.
Where are the most impressive dunes: Zagora / Merzouga Desert?
Erg Chebbi, located in the Merzouga desert, is indeed a natural spectacle that distinguishes itself from Zagora. It is a magnificent sand erg characterized by its towering dunes, some reaching heights of 150 meters. Spanning an area of approximately 28 kilometers from north to south and 5-7 kilometers from east to west, Erg Chebbi offers a vast expanse of mesmerizing dunes.
If you are seeking the thrill of climbing to the ridge of the dunes and experiencing the physical exertion that comes with it, Erg Chebbi is the perfect destination for you. The impressive scale and undulating landscape of this mountain of sand create an opportunity for an exhilarating adventure.
Exploring Erg Chebbi allows you to get into the grandeur of nature and witness the awe-inspiring beauty of the towering dunes. It offers a unique and unforgettable experience that showcases the true magnificence of Morocco desert landscapes.
Huge dunes await you in the Desert of Merzouga!
While Zagora may not have towering dunes like Merzouga Erg Chebbi, it still offers its own charm with more modest dunes. The landscape in Zagora is characterized by a flatter and stonier desert, creating a different but equally captivating atmosphere. Whether you prefer the dramatic dunes of Merzouga or the unique appeal of Zagora landscape, both destinations offer a memorable desert experience. It ultimately comes down to personal preference and the type of desert adventure you are looking for.
Merzouga Erg Chebbi or Zagora, Which desert is better?
If you’ve come this far and are seeking our recommendation between the Zagora desert and the Merzouga desert, then Merzouga emerges as the preferred choice, primarily because it aligns with the classic notion of a desert. However, Zagora remains a solid option if you have limited time and are in Marrakech.
We recommend the Merzouga desert due to its expansive and awe-inspiring dunes, whereas the Zagora region, though closer to Marrakech, is rockier and arider.
If concerns about distance or a potentially challenging journey weigh on your mind, fear not. Regardless of the desert you choose, be it Merzouga or Zagora, rest assured that the vehicles providing transportation are equipped with all the necessary comforts for your trip.
Whichever desert you venture to, make sure not to miss the opportunity to ride a camel and camp under the desert sky. Engage in additional activities such as quad biking, buggy driving, sandboarding, and 4×4 desert excursions.
If you still harbor doubts about your trip to Zagora or Merzouga, we have curated a selection of the best offers for the Morocco desert trip from Marrakech, ready to assist you in making your choice.
Morocco Desert Tour Cost
The price depends on the tour you choose, standard or deluxe, private or shared group tours. For 3 days desert tour from Marrakech, it will cost $150 with shared group tours including breakfast and dinner. If you want a private trip, the price will be between $400 and $500 per person including transportation and accommodation during the tour. For more information about Morocco tours, feel free to contact us, our team is available 24/7.