The Moroccan Desert or the Sahara is the largest desert in the world, covering an estimated 9 million square kilometers.
Stretching from the Northern tip of Africa to the Sahel region of Central Africa, this desert occupies a vast stretch of land throughout much of the African continent.
The desert stretches across numerous countries in the world, from Morocco and Egypt, to Mali and Sudan.
Simply put, it occupies a vast stretch of land across much of the Northern region of the African continent.
An Introduction to the Moroccan Sahara
Among the many countries that the Sahara desert spans, Morocco happens to be one of them.
To start off, the Sahara desert in Morocco only makes up a small share of the larger Sahara desert.
In fact, only a small percentage of the Sahara desert is actually in Morocco; only a small portion of the eastern edge of the Sahara desert is located in Morocco.
In comparison, other countries like Algeria, Libya, Mali, Chad, Sudan, Egypt, etc have a lion’s share of this vast desert region.
The exact location of the desert within Morocco is in the country’s southernmost regions, just below the Atlas mountain ranges.
You can find the largest portion of the Sahara in the southern half of the country, which some refer to as ‘Western Sahara.’
The climate of the Moroccan Sahara is very similar to the rest of the Sahara, characterized by its very hot and dry weather.
In these dry regions, the temperatures can reach and indeed cross 40 degrees Celsius.
Also, there is a lack of rainfall in a lot of areas, making the place very dry and devoid of any vegetation.
In addition to this, there are severe dust storms that blow in the most remote regions, particularly along the southeast region, where the Atlas Mountains open into the larger Sahara desert.
[click_to_tweet tweet=”These dust clouds make it very difficult for people to navigate, whether by modern transportation or for that matter the humble camel.” quote=”These dust clouds make it very difficult for people to navigate, whether by modern transportation or for that matter the humble camel.” theme=”style3″]
Also, the night temperatures can be as extreme as the day.
While the temperatures can be very searing during the day, it isn’t always so during the night.
On the contrary, the night times in the desert can be downright freezing.
While this is true throughout the year, it is the most severe during the months of December and January.
Also, to add here is that the region can experience snowfall from time to time, albeit very rarely.
If and when it happens, the entire desert can seem to be rather surreal, with sand dunes covered by snow as far as the horizon stretches.
Activities in the Moroccan Desert
Hiking & Trekking
These are by far the most popular activities in the entire region.
Numerous tourists visit the Moroccan Desert to go hiking and trekking, as it is one of the best ways to experience the great outdoors here.
In other words, there is no better way to get a dose of the Sahara Desert, than to take a stroll across the region.
[click_to_tweet tweet=”There are several hiking trails along the edge of the desert, as well as others beyond it.” quote=”There are several hiking trails along the edge of the desert, as well as others beyond it.” theme=”style3″]
In addition to this, there are several service providers that offer a trekking package as well, whose service you can look forward to availing.
Another important activity in the Moroccan Sahara to look forward to, is camping.
There are many service providers who offer desert camping for those who are interested.
These are a great way to experience the desert, for you get to enjoy every single aspect of the desert, from the hot days to the frigid nights.
If you happen to be in a desert camping trip, make sure to come with a good set of thermal wear, as the desert nights can be freezing.
There is much to experience in the Moroccan Sahara, from the rocky cliffs to the large dunes.
For those who are interested in experiencing nature, visiting this region is something of a must-have on their bucket list.
This is an industry that is still developing, and is not something you will find everywhere.
But there are a lot of regions in the Moroccan Sahara, where you have operators giving you all kinds of extreme sports such as quad biking, sand boarding and so on.
If you are interested in the same, do make sure to check the details about these service providers, with regard to their safety and track record, before you buy their services.
There are several historical ruins that exist in the Moroccan Sahara as well, which range from small walls to entire fortifications.
The Traditional Stuff
The desert has been home to nomads and the Berber people for a very long time.
And one of the many things that they engaged in was the trade with the neighboring ethnic groups and empires, throughout history.
Today, of course, a lot of the people have settled while the others continue their traditional way of life.
[click_to_tweet tweet=”If you are interested, you can get to experience their way of life, from the long desert caravans to interacting and indeed riding the camels across the vast Sahara sand dunes.” quote=”If you are interested, you can get to experience their way of life, from the long desert caravans to interacting and indeed riding the camels across the vast Sahara sand dunes.” theme=”style3″]
Some Important Tourist Hotspots
There are several important tourist hotspots throughout the Moroccan Sahara. Some of the most important ones are given in the list below:
This is one of the best historical sites located in the region, and has been declared a UNESCO world heritage site.
It is very near to Marrakech and is a vast fortified settlement, which is used as film sites such as :
- Game of Thrones
Ouarzazate is the largest town in the Moroccan Sahara and located a very short distance away from Marrakech.
Agdz is a small town famous for its palm grove, and is located a short drive away from Ouarzazate.
The desert brings up images of an oasis or a small patch of water and greenery in an otherwise ocean of sand.
If you would like to experience an oasis settlement, Skoura would be a great pick.
It is located a short distance away from Ouarzazate, and has several ruined Kasbahs (or walled settlements) and other historical sites.
The Dades Valley & Gorge
This is another excellent spot to visit while in the moroccan desert
It is located very near to Skoura and has a great mix of stunning landscapes as well as plenty of Kasbahs.
There is another stunning gorge not too far away, called Todra Gorge, towards the east.
This is often called ‘the gateway to the desert’ and is a great place filled with stunning sand dunes, palm grove and more.
Merzouga is an excellent place, where one can take a look at the many stunning red-gold Erg Chebbi or vast sand dune formations.
In all, the Sahara desert is a beautiful and stunning place you need to visit at least once in your life.
From the sand dunes to the hillocks and indeed, even archaeological ruins, the place is a tourist fancy like no other.
And if you indeed plan on checking out the Sahara desert at any time in your life, one of the best places that you could ever do so in your life, would be in Morocco.