Casablanca to Sahara Desert: A Journey Through Morocco’s Iconic Landscapes



As someone who has always been fascinated by the beauty of the desert, I have always dreamed of visiting the Sahara. Luckily, I recently discovered that there are many tours available that can take me from Casablanca to the Sahara desert. These tours offer a unique opportunity to explore the stunning landscapes and rich culture of Morocco.

One such tour is the 3-Day Tour from Casablanca to the Sahara Desert (itinery below). This tour takes you on a journey through the Atlas Mountains, where you can witness breathtaking views of the rugged terrain.

You’ll also get to visit traditional Berber villages and explore the ancient city of Ait Benhaddou. Finally, you’ll reach the Sahara desert, where you can ride camels, watch the sunset over the dunes, and spend the night in a traditional desert camp.

3 Day Tour from Casablanca

Embark on a captivating 3-day journey from the bustling city of Casablanca to the mesmerising dunes of the Sahara Desert. Immerse yourself in the rich culture, fascinating history, and awe-inspiring landscapes that make Morocco a truly unforgettable destination.

Day 1: Casablanca – Marrakech

Start your journey from Casablanca by heading to Marrakech. We recommend to spend some of this time and to explore Casablanca main sights.

Them you can either rent a car or take a train or bus to reach Marrakech. The journey will take around 2.5 to 3 hours. Once you arrive, spend some time exploring Marrakech’s vibrant Medina, visiting the iconic Jemaa el-Fnaa square, and admiring the beautiful Koutoubia Mosque. Don’t forget to explore the various souks, where you can shop for traditional Moroccan crafts, clothing, and spices. Spend the night at a riad or hotel in Marrakech.

Day 2: Marrakech – Ouarzazate – Dades Gorge

On the second day, depart Marrakech and head towards the Dades Valley on route to Ouarzazate, known as the gateway to the Sahara Desert. The drive will take you through the stunning High Atlas Mountains, crossing the Tizi n’Tichka pass. On the way, make a stop at the fortified village of Ait Ben Haddou, a UNESCO World Heritage site famous for its Kasbahs and backdrop for numerous films and TV shows and a must see stop on most Morocco tours.

Continue your journey to Ouarzazate and visit the Taourirt Kasbah, another historical site worth exploring. From Ouarzazate, head towards the Dades Gorge, a stunning natural wonder carved by the Dades River. Spend the night at a local guesthouse or hotel in the Dades Gorge area.

Day 3: Dades Gorge – Merzouga – Sahara Desert

On the third day, set off from Dades Gorge and make your way towards Merzouga, the gateway to the Erg Chebbi sand dunes. Pass through the Todra Gorge, another spectacular canyon in the region, where you can take a short walk or explore the local Berber villages.

Upon arriving in Merzouga, prepare for your desert adventure. Join a camel trekking tour or rent a 4×4 vehicle to drive through the sand dunes. As the sun begins to set, reach your desert camp, where you’ll spend the night under the stars. Enjoy a traditional Moroccan dinner, Berber music around a campfire, and marvel at the clear night sky before retiring to your tent.

Please note that this is a suggested 3-day itinerary and can be adjusted or extended based on your preferences and time constraints.

Another option is the 14-Day breathtaking tour from Casablanca to Sahara Desert. This tour offers a more comprehensive experience of Morocco, taking you through the bustling cities of Marrakech and Fes, as well as the stunning coastal city of Essaouira. Along the way, you’ll visit historic sites, sample local cuisine, and meet friendly locals.

Of course, the highlight of the tour is the chance to explore the vast expanse of the Sahara desert, where you can witness the sheer beauty of the natural world.

Getting from Casablanca to the Sahara Desert

By Car

Driving from Casablanca to the Sahara Desert is an option, but it is a long journey. The distance between the two locations is around 411 miles (662 km), and it takes approximately 9 hours to drive. If you decide to take this option, make sure you have a reliable car and a good GPS system, as the roads can be challenging to navigate. I recommend making a stop in the Berber village of Midelt for lunch, which is a good midway point for the journey.

By Bus

Another option to get from Casablanca to the Sahara Desert is by bus. The journey takes around 5 hours and costs between MAD 170 – MAD 280. However, the buses can be crowded, uncomfortable, and not always reliable, so be prepared for a potentially long and uncomfortable journey.

By Train

The train is a comfortable and affordable option to get from Casablanca to the Sahara Desert. The journey takes around 4 hours and costs between MAD 160 – MAD 260. The train is air-conditioned and has comfortable seats, making it a pleasant journey. However, there are limited train schedules, so make sure to check the timetable before planning your trip.

Overall, there are several options to get from Casablanca to the Sahara Desert. Whether you choose to drive, take the bus, or the train, make sure to plan your journey ahead of time and be prepared for a long trip.

What to Expect on the Journey

As I embarked on my journey from Casablanca to the Sahara Desert, I was filled with excitement and anticipation. The journey is a long one, but it is filled with beautiful sights, local culture, and delicious food and drink. Here’s what you can expect on the journey:

Scenic Views

The drive from Casablanca to the Sahara Desert is a long one, but it is filled with stunning views of the Moroccan landscape. As you travel through the country, you’ll see rolling hills, lush green valleys, and rugged mountains. Along the way, you’ll pass by traditional Berber villages and see locals going about their daily lives. The highlight of the journey is, of course, the Sahara Desert itself. As you approach the desert, you’ll see the sand dunes rising up in the distance, and the landscape will become more and more barren as you get closer.

Local Culture

One of the best things about traveling in Morocco is experiencing the local culture. As you journey from Casablanca to the Sahara Desert, you’ll have the opportunity to meet locals and learn about their way of life. You’ll see traditional Berber villages and visit local markets where you can buy handmade crafts and souvenirs. You’ll also have the chance to learn about the history of the region and see ancient ruins and historic landmarks.

Food and Drink

Moroccan cuisine is famous for its bold flavors and unique spices, and you’ll have plenty of opportunities to sample local dishes on your journey from Casablanca to the Sahara Desert. Along the way, you’ll stop at roadside cafes and restaurants where you can try traditional Moroccan dishes like tagine, couscous, and harira soup. You’ll also have the chance to try local delicacies like camel meat and Moroccan mint tea.

Exploring the Sahara Desert

Visiting the Sahara Desert is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I will never forget. The vast expanse of sand dunes and the unique culture of the Berber people make this trip truly unforgettable. Here are some of the highlights of my journey:

Camel Trekking

One of the most iconic experiences in the Sahara is to camel ride across the desert. It’s a bumpy ride, but it’s an incredible way to see the landscape and feel like a true adventurer. The camels are well-trained and well-cared for, and the guides are knowledgeable and friendly. I recommend wearing comfortable clothing and bringing a scarf to cover your face from the sun and sand.

Desert Camping

Spending a night in the Sahara is a unique and unforgettable experience. The stars are incredibly bright and the silence is almost overwhelming. We camped in traditional Berber tents, which were surprisingly comfortable and cozy. The guides cooked us delicious meals over an open fire and we spent the evening listening to music and stories from the local people.


If you’re feeling adventurous, sandboarding is a thrilling activity to try in the Sahara. The sand dunes are steep and challenging, but the adrenaline rush is worth it. The guides provide the boards and give you tips on how to ride down the dunes without wiping out. It’s a fun and unique way to experience the desert.

Overall, exploring the Sahara Desert was an incredible experience that I will never forget. The natural beauty and cultural richness of the region make it a must-see destination for any traveler.

Tips for a Successful Trip

What to Pack

When planning a trip from Casablanca to the Sahara desert, it’s important to pack appropriately for the journey. You’ll want to bring comfortable, lightweight clothing that is suitable for warm weather. Loose-fitting pants and long-sleeved shirts will help protect you from the sun and any insects you may encounter. Don’t forget to pack a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen to protect your skin from the harsh desert sun.

It’s also important to bring sturdy, comfortable shoes for walking on sand and uneven terrain. Closed-toe shoes are recommended to protect your feet from rocks and sand. If you plan on riding a camel, be sure to wear long pants to avoid chafing.

Other essentials to pack include a refillable water bottle, a first aid kit, and any necessary medications. You may also want to bring a camera to capture the stunning desert landscapes.

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit the Sahara desert is during the cooler months of October to April. During this time, temperatures are more moderate and the weather is generally dry and sunny. Avoid visiting during the summer months of June to August, when temperatures can soar to over 100°F and sandstorms are more common.

It’s also important to consider the timing of your trip in relation to local events and holidays. The month of Ramadan, for example, can affect the availability of food and drink during the day, and some businesses may be closed.

FAQs on Casablanca tours

How do you get to the Sahara desert in Morocco?

To get to the Sahara Desert in Morocco, you can either fly into Marrakech or Fes and then take a guided tour or rent a car to drive to the desert. There are several transportation options available, including buses and taxis, to reach the towns nearest to the desert, such as Merzouga or M’hamid. Its too long to do day trips to the desert.

Is the Sahara desert worth visiting?

Yes, the Sahara Desert is absolutely worth visiting. It offers a unique landscape of sand dunes, stunning sunsets and sunrises, and the opportunity to experience traditional Berber culture. Travellers can enjoy activities such as camel trekking, hot air ballooning, and quad biking, making it a memorable destination.

What city is closest to the Sahara desert?

The city closest to the Sahara Desert is Ouarzazate, often referred to as the gateway to the desert. It is located about 200 km from Marrakech and is a popular starting point for desert tours. Other nearby towns include Merzouga and M’hamid, which provide access to the Erg Chebbi and Erg Chigaga sand dunes, respectively.

Can you do a day trip to Sahara Desert from Marrakech?

While it is technically possible to do a day trip to the Sahara Desert from Marrakech, it is not recommended due to the long travel time involved. The journey to the desert takes approximately 8-10 hours one way, leaving very little time to actually explore sahara desert. A multi-day tour or a minimum of a two-day trip is recommended to truly appreciate the beauty and uniqueness of the Sahara Desert.

What is included in morocco Sahara desert tours?

A Morocco tour will generally include a variety of services and activities to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable experience for travellers. While the specific inclusions may vary depending on the tour operator and the package chosen, some common features of these tours include:

  1. Transportation: Most tours provide transportation to and from the desert, either by air-conditioned minibus or 4×4 vehicle, with an experienced driver.
  2. Accommodation: Tours usually include overnight stays in hotels, guesthouses, or traditional Moroccan riads during the journey to and from the desert. Desert campsites with tents, usually equipped with comfortable bedding, are provided for overnight stays in the Sahara.
  3. Meals: Meals are typically included in the tour package, with breakfast and dinner provided at accommodations or desert camps. Some packages may also include lunch or snacks during the day.
  4. Guided tours: Many desert tours include the services of a local guide who can provide insights into the region’s history, culture, and natural wonders.
  5. Camel trekking: A quintessential Sahara Desert experience, camel trekking is often included in the tour package, allowing travellers to explore the dunes and take in the stunning desert landscape.
  6. Desert activities: Depending on the tour package, a range of desert activities may be included, such as sandboarding, quad biking, or hot air ballooning.
  7. Cultural experiences: Some tours also incorporate cultural experiences, such as visits to traditional Berber villages, exploring historical sites like Ait Ben Haddou, or enjoying local music and dance performances around a campfire at the Sahara camp.
  8. Entrance fees: Tour packages usually cover the entrance fees for attractions and sites included in the itinerary.

Please note that the specific inclusions of a Sahara Desert tour will depend on the tour operator and the chosen package. It is essential to carefully review the details and inclusions of any tour package before booking to ensure it meets your preferences and requirements.