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Morocco Camel Trekking And Night In The Desert

The lighting is much more flattering in the late afternoon, making it possible to get candid photos on the camel. Just make sure you keep your camera secure around your neck.

Our Morocco camel trekking and night in the desert tour really was a highlight of our Moroccan trip, so we wanted to share some tips for others planning to do the same.

High dynamic range sunrise photo over the Sahara Desert, made possible by getting up extra early and having a tripod.


Camel trekking in Morocco and spending a night in the Sahara Desert really is a highlight of any trip to this mesmerizing North African country. You will not only experience the vastness of the Sahara and possibly the most beautiful sunrise ever, but you will get a taste of local nomadic culture at the same time.

While most travelers do their camel trekking from Merzouga to visit the Erg Chebbi Dunes (like us!), it’s also possible to travel further south to Mhamid and spend the night at a camp in the Erg Chigaga Dunes. Whichever you choose, the tours are highly organized, and while the camps are basic, they give you a fantastic taste of nomadic desert living!

Here we’ve put together some information to help you plan your Morocco camel trekking and night in the desert trip, as well as a few of our top tips!

What to expect on a Moroccan camel trekking tour:


Getting on my camel right by Riad Nezha in Merzouga, with the assistance of our wonderful guide Ahmed.

The most popular Morocco camel trekking and night in the desert trip is a one night tour, starting in mid-afternoon and finishing by mid-morning the following day. Your personal camel guide will meet you at the traditional riad/kasbah hotel in Merzouga or Mhamid where you spent the previous night (or wherever you stayed at the previous night) and introduce you to your camel.


Getting off the camel right around sunset time to capture a few photos before getting back on and making our way to the desert camp.

After jumping onboard your “ship of the desert”, you will head out towards the desert camp for the night. Most trips will leave in the late afternoon, about 1 1/2 hours before sunset, so you aren’t camel trekking in the heat of the day and you get to experience the most atmospheric lighting. The camel treks are normally only a few kilometers and take around 1 1/2 hours in total. If you do head out earlier in the day, keep in mind that the light is harsh and the heat can be intense, and being on the camels for long periods does get a little uncomfortable!

Over overnight desert campsite. Basic but has all the essentials, such as a bed, plenty of blankets, dining area, and restrooms.

Once arriving at the camp, your guide will show you to your traditional nomad tent, fitted with all bedding and plenty of blankets for the cold winter nights! The camps are comfortable but basic, and although there is potable water available for brushing your teeth and washing, it is limited out in the desert – so use it wisely! Most camps will serve Moroccan mint tea on arrival and you will have time to walk around the sand dunes while the cook (usually your camel trekking guide) prepares dinner.


Inside our desert camp tent. Depending on how busy the site is, you might be able to borrow a few extra blankets if you’re really cold at night.

Dinner is normally a meat-based tagine, rice, fruit, and mint tea, as well as soft drinks that are available for purchase. Some nomad camps have traditional musical instruments that the staff will play (or you can play) and the evening can be as social or as quiet as you want. Don’t forget to head outside for some incredible stargazing (and perhaps some long exposure night shots), with no light pollution to hinder your view!


Our camel trekking guide Ahmed made us a tasty chicken and rice dish for dinner.

It’s a good idea to get an early night of sleep as you will be waking in the pre-dawn hours for a magical sunrise over the Sahara Desert! Your guide will wake you up with plenty of time to freshen up and hike up the nearest sand dune to watch the first rays of light peak over the horizon. After soaking up this surreal experience, you’ll hike (or slide) back down to the camp for some traditional mint tea, before packing up your belongings and camel trekking back to the town you started from.

Most Morocco camel trekking and night in the desert tours include a buffet breakfast at the hotel on return, as well as access to hot showers if you want one!

Give yourself time, allot for a TWO night stay in the Sahara Desert:

If you can schedule in two nights of lodging, consider staying with one of the nomadic Berber families out in the desert for one of them.

Rather than rush the experience with just an afternoon camel trek and night in the desert, returning after sunrise the following day, we highly recommend you allow yourself two full days. Who knows when you will return to the Sahara Desert again! This gives you time to soak up the experience, chat with your local guide about his traditional lifestyle, and capture some spectacular images. You might even have time to do some sand boarding!

Do a private tour (rather than a group one) of the camel trek:

Silhouette photo of us, taken by our camel trekking guide Ahmed right after sunset. This must be his signature shot for all his travelers!

Our Morocco camel trekking and night in the desert tour was all part of our Morocco private tour package. But if you are booking locally in Merzouga or Mhamid, request a private tour if possible. This will allow you to go at your pace, stop for photos when you want, and not have other travelers getting in your shots.

The exclusivity of just you and your loved ones exploring the sand dunes by camelback is preferable to a large group of tourists clicking away (and leaving their footprints in the otherwise perfect patterning of the dunes!). If a private tour isn’t available, opt for a small group adventure.

What to pack for Sahara Desert camel trekking:


Bringing a tripod and flash allowed us to get a “selfie” inside the dining area tent. Clothing wise, i was pretty warm inside my jellaba.

If you are just spending one night in the desert, all you really need is a small backpack with a change of clothes for sleeping in, as well as your valuables (money and passport). You can leave all of your other luggage either with your tour driver or at the hotel with which you organized your camel trekking tour. Bring toiletries for brushing your teeth and a small towel to wash your face, as most desert camps don’t have hot shower facilities.

Although the tents have some lighting available, it’s a good idea to bring a headlamp or flashlight if you want to head out exploring at night or use the restroom. Definitely bring your camera and a tripod (if you have one), as well as extra camera batteries, particularly if you plan on doing some long exposure night photography.

If you really want to play the part of a desert nomad, buy a traditional jellaba and turban in Merzouga or Mhamid to wear during your camel trekking adventure!

Top tips for camel trekking in Morocco:

  • Keep in mind the time of year you will be traveling and pack accordingly, with the heat of summer days almost unbearable and the winter night temperatures dropping surprisingly low.
  • Try and pack as lightly as possible as your camels are already transporting all food and supplies on their backs, but don’t forget to bring a warm jacket for the chilly desert nights (and plenty of sunscreen for the days)!
  • Use the restroom before you jump onboard the camels as there’s no toilet until you get to the camp.
  • Most camel treks stop for a break half way to the camp so your thighs can have a rest and you can take in the views, but if you’re on a private tour you can request that your guide stop more frequently if you need to.

Overlooking the sun setting behind Merzouga and the vast desert of Morocco. We stopped halfway through the trek to enjoy this moment.

  • If you prefer not to go camel trekking and spend a night in the desert, you can also base yourself at one of the more luxurious riad/kasbah hotels in Merzouga or Mhamid and just do a day hike or camel trek. But remember that the sunset and sunrise over the middle of the sand dunes is the highlight of any Moroccan desert experience!

If you rather not do camel trekking but still want to stay overnight in the desert, there’s plenty of campsites closer to town, such as this one near Merzouga.

  • Make sure you have your camera secured around your neck as the camel ride is very bumpy and it’s incredibly difficult to get stable shots. Most guides are more than happy to take photos of you and your party; it’s pretty much the only way to have some memories of you atop a camel.
  • If you want to do long exposure night photography or get some HDR (high dynamic range) photos of the sunset and sunrise, don’t forget to bring a tripod. But make sure you know your gear inside out, as it all happens very fast and you won’t have a lot of time to work with.

After dinner, we took an evening stroll along the sand dunes, and did some long exposure photography with our laser pen and tripod.

  • As always, if your guide does a great job with the entire camel trekking excursion, don’t forget to leave a friendly tip at the very end!

What made our camel trekking excursion that much more memorable was having a kind hearted and caring guide in Ahmed.


Even if you’re not a fan of “roughing it”, spending the night at a nomadic camp in the desert will stay with you forever. From staring at the incredible starry night sky to watching the most spectacular sunrise, it’s a chance to escape the modern world and admire the wild beauty of nature.


The Sahara Desert is truly a magical place, and surpasses anything you’ve seen in the movies or read in books. Definitely a must visit!

If you aren’t doing an organized private tour that includes a camel trek and overnight in the desert, there are plenty of different companies in Merzouga and Mhamid where you can book last minute, and most offer a similar level of service. If you have any further questions about our camel trekking experience, please leave your comments below and we’ll get back to you right away!

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