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Packing for Your Morocco Sahara Desert Tour

Posted on 18 June 2012 by David

Our Shadows - Morocco Sahara Desert Tour

People have been asking us what they should pack for their Morocco Sahara desert tour.

If you’re planning a trip out to the desert, you need to insure you pack as light as possible.  However since you’ll be miles away from civilization you need to make sure you’re prepared for any situation you may encounter.

So, to help you prepare for your trip, here’s our list plus some tips about the items you should take.  We had a great time seeing the sand dunes in the Sahara Desert, and with preparation, you can as well.

As a side note, we bought many of our items from REI (www.rei.com), mostly because if you are not satisfied with a product for any reason you can return it. (I returned a set of earmuffs that kept falling off my ears after three months and I got my refund for it.)   You may want to check them out as well.

Packing List – Morocco Sahara Desert Tour

 Erg Chebbi Sand Dunes - Sahara Desert Tour - Morocco Travel

Clothing

  • Windbreaker or light jacket
    • TIP: The sun can be unbearable during the day but at night it can get a bit chilly.  Take a windbreaker or light jacket just in case.
  • Comfortable jeans
    • TIP: Riding a camel will not be very enjoyable if you wear shorts!  The camel fur is rough and jeans will protect your legs.
  • Sneakers or hiking boots or sport sandals
    • TIP: Don’t take a new pair of shoes, you’ll get sand all on them and inside of them.
  • A hat, visor, or headscarf
    • TIP: A desert headscarf works wonders to block the sun and the dust.
  • Sunglasses
    • TIP: Don’t sit on them.

Electronics

  • Digital Camera
    • TIP: A strap will help make sure you don’t lose it while trying to take picture as you’re bouncing around on a camel.
  • Extra batteries
    • TIP: Fully charge all your batteries at your hotel before you embark.  There are no facilities to charge your batteries in the desert!
  • Lens and camera brush
    • TIP: Get one such as the Nikon 7072 Lens Pen Cleaning System for dusting off all the dust that will get on your camera.  Your camera will love you.  It worked wonders on ours!
  • Tripod
  • Alarm clock
    • TIP: You can use your phone, but take a little alarm clock just in case your phone runs out of battery!

Sunrise in the Sahara Sahara Morocco Travel

Supplies

  • Swiss army knife
  • Hand Sanitizer
    • TIP:  It’s true.  There is no running water inside the desert.
  • Face wipes
  • Napkins or tissue
  • Roll of toilet paper
  • Water bottle
    • TIP:  To save space in your luggage get a collapsible water bottle. We bought a Platypus PlusBottle, 1 Liter with Push-Pull Cap and loved how we could collapse it in our luggage when not needed.   In fact if you travel anywhere you need this bottle.
  • Flashlights
    • TIP: You’ll have candles but just try walking out with one in the middle of the night when you need to go.   A flashlight will at least stay on.
  • Non-salty snacks
    • TIP: Overly salty snacks will make you thirsty, stay away from those.

Medicines and Lotions

  • Pain medicine
    • TIP: Just remember, any medical facility is miles of camel rides away.  It will take a while to get there.
    • TIP:  For headaches use Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
    • TIP:  For bites, scratches, anything that’s swollen, use Ibuprofen (Advil)
  • Band-aids
    • TIP: No need for a big box, just a few strips is good.
  • Antibiotic cream
  • Anti-Diarrhea medicine
  • Antacids
  • Antibiotics
  • Allergy medicine

Another article you may be interested in is our interview with a local guiding company on planning a Morocco Sahara desert tour.  Hope you enjoy it.

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Top Sahara Travel Questions Answered

Posted on 13 January 2012 by Danica

Morocco Sahara Tavel - Desert Sunset - Around the World

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The Sahara desert is the world’s largest hot desert according to Wikipedia.  It covers most of Northern Africa stretching from Egypt to Morroco and we paid a visit. The Sahara Desert is such a remote place that it seems unfathomable that anyone would want to be there.

“Isn’t it dangerous?” “Is there anything to do there?” were some of the questions we got asked. Before visiting we were not sure how to answer but as we discovered, the fantastic gold colored sand dunes of Erg Chebbi in Morroco turned out to be one of the most peaceful and awe-inspiringing places on earth.

It was a long journey to visit the dunes but it was one that we’ll never forget. We laid on the sand dunes, listened to the wind, watched a distant lightning storm, and stared at countless number of stars.  It’s an experience we want to help you enjoy for yourself.

We hired the family owned Dunes Line  tours from the Sahara Desert to take us there. We enjoyed their service and asked Said Ait El Caid from Dunes Line  to help asnwer some of the most common Sahara travel questions.

Disclaimer:  We did not receive any compensation, discounts, or benefits for highlighting Dunes Line, nor will we receive commissions for this post from Dunes Line tours.  This is purely a post to help you get there as well. 

Morocco Sahara Tavel - Nomad Camp - Around the World

OnTheGroundTravel:  For people not familiar with Dunes Line, can you describe what you do?

Said: Dunes Line is a family-owned business.  Our grandparents used to transport goods such as salt, dates, and barley along the trading route in Morocco.  It was at a time when traveling by camels was the only way to get around.  We love the desert, and today, our family created a touring company to show our guests the true desert as we know it.  Many of our guests look for unique experiences such as living like a nomad in the Sahara Desert, or sleeping overnight in a traditional tent.  With Dunes Line, our guests can also discover the vast sand dunes, lush valleys, green oases, and meet the Berber people who are known for their honesty and warm hospitality.

OnTheGroundTravel:  Some people can only spend a short time in Morocco, what are the must-see sights in addition to a trip to the Sahara?

Said: The High Atlas region and its surrounding valleys, the old Kasbahs, and the traditional Berber villages are must-sees.  We also recommend starting your trip to the Sahara from Marrakech, the closest city from all the sights mentioned above.

OnTheGroundTravel: There’s a lot of debate on travel forums about whether it’s better to see the Erg Chebbi or Erg Chigaga sand dunes.  What’s your take on this?

Said: For a true desert experience, we deeply recommend  the Erg Chebbi dunes in the Merzouga region.  The dunes there are very spectacular, and are as high as 150m tall.  In addition, it’s relatively easy to reach there.

OnTheGroundTravel: I got asked this question all the time…is it safe for women to travel alone in Morocco.  Do they have to cover their hair?

Said: In Morocco, women traveling alone is generally safe, but there are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Dress conservatively – cover your shoulders, stomach, knees and avoid fitted clothes
  2. No need to cover your head
  3. Avoid overdoing eye contact with unknown men.  Rather than lowering your eyes, it maybe easier to wear sunglasses

OnTheGroundTravel: There are many adventurous souls out there who are used to traveling on their own.  What are the benefits of hiring a driver or tour guide in Morocco?

Said: Morocco is a vast country, and hiring a driver can help reduce a lot of stress that may be associated with independent traveling, especially to the Sahara Desert.  An experienced driver can act as your local expert and can take you off-the-beaten path to see some of the less touristy places that you can’t reach on your own.

OnTheGroundTravel: Any other tips for our readers who are interested in going to the Sahara?

Said: When you are in the desert, try to protect your camera from the sand as much as you can.  It is generally safe to travel with expensive camera equipment in Marrakech, but it is not uncommon for tourists to bring along a camera bag where they can put their camera back when not using it to avoid attracting too much attention.

OnTheGroundTravel:  Thank you Said for the information.

Are you planning a visit to the sand dunes in Morocco?   Want to know what to pack for a desert tour to the Sahara?  We compiled a Sahara Desert Packing List for you.  Comment and let us know if you have any other questions.

Or… if you have been there already,  we want to know how it went!

Morocco Sahara Tavel - Desert Tour - Around the World

About Dunes Line: Dunes Line has been organizing tours across Morocco for a long time.  Said and his family enjoys meeting people from all over the world, and showing them around Morocco.  Dunes Line can be reached at info@dunesline.com, or +212-66723-8225 / +212-66198-8025.  Spirit of the Desert welcomes you!  Marhaba!

 

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The Endless Sand Dunes in the Sahara Desert

Posted on 11 October 2011 by Danica

 Sahara Sand Dunes - Erg Chebbi - Morocco Travel - Trips Around the World

Adventure Log

After Marrakech (see tips and adventure log here), we drove over the Atlas mountains and through the Dades Valley and Gorge before reaching Mazouga, the last town at the edge of the Sahara dunes of Erg Chebbi.  From Mazouga, we then trekked for an hour and a half on camel to reach the Berber camp deep in the desert.  Due to the extremely harsh climate, most of the original inhabitants of the Sahara, the Berber people, have long moved out.  Today, few Berber camps remain and their main source of income are either the tourists who are crazy enough to spend a few days in the desert or the dare-devils who go to surf the sand dunes on boards, ATV’s, or 4×4’s.

There are no words to describe the beauty of the Erg Chebbi dunes.  The golden sea of sand dunes has no beginning or end.  One after another, they line up before your eyes in seductive curves.  Their sands shifting ever so gently under the bright blue sky with few clouds.  At night, although the desert was pitch dark, we ventured out with our Berber guides, who navigated by stars, to another sand dune, and we laughed, joked and slept on the Sahara sands.  It’s so quiet and peaceful out there.   It was a huge contrast from Times Square in New York City with all it’s yellow cabs, big crowds, tall buildings with neon lights and electronic billboards that flash today’s stock price and latest world news before your eyes.  In New York, you can’t get away from the world, the world comes to you.  In Sahara, well, it’s just you and nature, coexisting at the same time and in the same space.

Before we arrived, we had thought the Sahara would be uncomfortable to stay.  While it’s true that you give up many modern conveniences by staying in the desert (such as electricity), the Berber have long figured out how to live in the desert comfortably.  Although our  accommodations were simple, the food was fantastic.  The Berber hospitality was unmatched.  We will miss the Sahara greatly, and it is definitely the highlight of our round-the-world trip.

Tips for Your Travel

1) Hire an experienced trekking company to take you into the Sahara.  It will greatly enhance your experience.  If you need recommendations, drop us a note.

2) Items to carry with you into the Sahara:

– Water: Being enough water to last you through your entire stay – You may be able to buy this if you start from a hotel in Mazouga

– Flashlight: If you want to go anywhere at night (even just to the next tent), you will need it

– Hand Sanitizer: There is no cleaning facility.   Soap and water will definitely not be waiting for you to clean your hands before or after your meal

– Wind breaker: While the desert is hot during the day, it can be quite cool early in the morning or at night

– Long Scarf: Comes in handy if you need to protect your nose and mouth from the sand

– Tripod: Critical if you want to take night pictures

– Sunscreen

– Sunglasses

– Hat

3) Only stay out in the sun early in the morning or late in the evening.  The sun and heat are unforgiving.

4) Be prepared to bring a new set of clothes after the desert tour.  Everything you have on will have sand on it.

 

Want to know everything you need to pack for a desert tour to the Sahara?  We compiled a Sahara Desert Packing List for you!

Another article you may be interested in is our interview with a local guiding company on planning a Morocco Sahara desert tour.  Hope you enjoy it.

 

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