Everything You Should Know about Visiting Merzouga (+Photos)

If you’ve ever dreamed about visiting the mesmerising orange-coloured sands of the Sahara Desert, the village of Merzouga is the place to do exactly that.

Set along the edge of the legendary Erg Chebbi dunes, Merzouga had been on my bucket list for quite some time before I finally visited a few months back. Almost 600 km from the bright lights of Marrakech and lying close to the Algerian border, it felt as if I’d been transported to another world, one I can’t wait to return to.

Planning a trip of your own? Keep reading to get the low down on when to visit, how to get there, and what to do!

Is Merzouga Worth Visiting?

Is Merzouga Worth Visiting

Do I think Merzouga is worth visiting? Absolutely, but there are a few things to keep in mind before planning your trip that may determine if it’s for you.

Firstly, Merzouga is 9 or 10 hours from tourist hubs like Marrakech and Agadir. Because of this, you’ll need to ensure you can dedicate a few days of your vacation to this excursion.

Additionally, most accommodation options are modest, camping-style settlements, which may differ from what some travellers prefer. There are a couple of hotels nearby, but I think staying here hinders the adventurous nature of a trip like this.

Best Time to Visit Merzouga


Unsurprisingly, the best times to visit Merzouga are on either side of the scorching hot summer months.

March to May and September to November are the most comfortable months for visitors when the days are warm and the nights are cool. I planned my trip for March and would happily revisit at this time, too. The day temperatures were mild and pleasant, and although the evening was on the chillier side, the campfire and cosy blankets more than made up for it.

It is possible to visit between December and February, but if you choose this time of year, be sure to pack some extra layers.

If there’s one time of the year when I suggest avoiding Merzouga, it’s during the summer. From May to August, temperatures soar to above 40°C, making for a highly uncomfortable visit.

Pro-tip: Some companies don’t run tours at select times of the year, so ensure you do sufficient research before deciding on a time.

Getting to Merzouga

Getting to Merzouga

The most popular way to get to Merzouga is by joining a guided tour. Though I did look into alternatives, I quickly learned that the distances were far too great for me to tackle with public transport.

As such, you’ll have two options, the first of which is embarking on a tour. I chose this route, and I’m so grateful that I did. I’m usually happy to figure out my way to and from various destinations, but having all the transport organised saved me from juggling endless buses and taxis.

Another option is to hire a rental car. While the idea of travelling at my own pace appealed to me at first, the 10-hour drive ahead of me from Marrakech was a tad too far. That being said, if you’re visiting in a group and have plenty of experience driving on sometimes unnerving roads, this may be worth looking into.

Pro-tip: Depending on the time of year, you may be able to take a flight to Errachidia Airport, which is around two hours from Merzouga by taxi.

Where to Stay in Merzouga

Tent camp

Merzouga has an assortment of accommodations, though I strongly believe there’s no better place to stay than at the camps!

Dozens of camps are located among the Erg Chebbi dunes. Most are still relatively close to Merzouga, yet they feel secluded. There’s a mix of luxury, mid-range basic camps, though each usually has comfortable beds, sturdy tents, and toilet facilities with running water.

I stayed in a middle-of-the-road camp with everything I needed for a short stay. It was set up by local Berber residents, who cooked the group delicious meals, played traditional music, and organised all of our activities.

If you’re hesitant to rest your head in a camp, you’ll find several hotels in the town, complete with swimming pools and air-conditioned rooms.

Pro-tip: Most tours companies work with specific lodgings, so it’s best to ask about the amenities and style of accommodation before booking.

Watch the Sun Go down From the Erg Chebbi Dunes

Erg Chebbi Dunes

Watching the dusk set in from the Erg Chebbi dunes was an experience I’ll never forget. The Sahara’s vastness and the dunes’ serene slopes looked more spectacular than ever, and it’s one of my favourite sunsets to date.

Just a short walk from our camp were some pretty steep dunes, which I climbed just in time before sundown.

If you can, I recommend getting here early to take in the vistas for a little longer.

Take a Camel Ride

Camel Ride

Did you really visit Merzouga if you didn’t enjoy a camel ride through the powdery orange sands?

Depending on which lodging you choose, there’s a good chance your camel rides are already built into your stay. In my case, we travelled by camel from the edge of the desert directly to the camp, and a sunrise outing the following morning was also included.

Camel Ride

After speaking to other travellers, I learned that not all camps look after their camels as well as mine did. If you think the animals aren’t being treated properly, it may be best to abstain.

Go ATV Riding

ATV Riding

Another way to explore the rolling dunes is to travel on four wheels with an ATV expedition. This one’s a big hit with adrenaline junkies like me, and it’s an incredibly exhilarating (and slightly frightening!) experience.

ATV Riding

When I first set off to Merzouga, I hadn’t planned on joining an ATV tour. However, after hearing about it from some of my fellow group members who’d booked it, I knew I had to get in on the action and secured my spot at the last minute.

The tour lasted around two hours, though half-day excursions were also available.

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