On our trip to Morocco, we took our time to also visit the greatness Sahara desert in Zagora. No matter which desert you went, there are several things you have to keep in mind. Look at also the weather forecast and simply the season when you will be there. This post explains in detailed on what we learnt during desert trip and what to pack for Sahara desert trip.
The season in Morocco is divided as follows*:
Low (May–Sep): Although this is summer, there are lots of discounts in accommodation and souqs. This is Ramadan and sacrifice day period.
Medium (Apr & Oct): Spring sandstorms in the Sahara and persistent rain in the north; popular elsewhere. Accommodation prices and demand jump around Easter.
High Season (Nov–Mar): Spring and autumn are the most popular times to visit. Accommodation prices are highest. Marrakesh and the south are popular at Christmas and New Year, but the north of the country can be chilly and wet.
We went during the so called high season period even though the price ticket was really cheap and accommodation was fair too. I think it applies around the busy Christmas and New year period literally. We went in the beginning of December and it was still perfect. While in the beginning of winter, the weather could be warm during the day (18-25) but drastically drop at night (7-10). Even though the winter in Morocco is fairly warmer than Europe, it can’t be categorised as warm. Never underestimate this.
It is very tricky to walk on the desert sand. Wearing sandals and open shoes will not help but burdening you as the sands particle will get in and you constantly need to clean it. Some other reasons is the camel ride. Camel is higher than you think, so you want to get rid of worries that your shoes might lose considering the bumpy ride. I personally think the good grip of the inside shoes are important to give extra support to walk in the sand texture. Some parts might require you to hike, so sport shoes is really a must!! Bring sandals to take shower or go to toilet.
There will be some times that requires you to ride camels. Although luggage is allowed and somehow possible to bring along on the camel, having comfortable bag (or backpack) will enable you to forget and merely enjoy the ride. I remembered I was a bit worried because my cabin bag was not properly tightened on the camel. That made me extra cautious and wanted to pay extra attention to the bag. If you have a base stay in Marrakech or somewhere else, I would recommend to just bring what’s important and leave the rests behind.
There are not so much lights at night. The main source of light is literally stars and bonfire. Flashlight is to be used for extra sights.
Jeans or comfortable pants
Shorts & skirts are not recommended. The camel saddles might cause itchiness and skin irritation. Also, it’s more comfortable to wear pants for any ride in general.
During the day, the sun can be very hot and hitting your skin.
Morocco is considered as a religious country, which means we need to be mindful to dress up. This also applies in the Sahara desert and its surrounding villages. The women should always cover the arms and knees up. Men needs to cover up the shoulders and above the knee.
Warm clothes for winter season, this is also part of dress appropriately. Never underestimate winter in the desert, it is cold, dry, and windy. I do think the sand absorbs coldness and a spread agent. The tents do not have heater as it’s just a simple one made of thick garments.
A headscarf or hat and sunglasses
This will be very helpful to cover your face from sun and dust. Desert can be very windy and your eyes will not be absent in getting some small of sands.
At some nights, it will be too cold to take shower and sometimes the hot water will not work properly. This is when we tissue come to the rescue to freshen up your body quickly. I will also bring moisturiser and hand sanitiser everywhere, just in case 😉
The tents provide bottle water with more expensive price. It is better to buy bottles of water before arrival. Also, I believe the supply to desert is more limited than in the city. Also, be mindful in using tap water because they have very limited sources in the middle desert.
Camera and phone charges
This will be by default things to pack, just in case not, this will remind you. Desert is very majestic like no other views you see everyday (this is basically what I always say everywhere I go). Everywhere we go is different and worth memorising. Capturing the moment is what truly will remind us to be grateful and stay open.