Nomadic in Morocco: You CAN Afford the Trip of a Lifetime
From stylish Marrakech across the Sahara and jaw-dropping Atlas Mountains, this is a road trip like no other. But we're happy to report it's easier and more budget-friendly than you'd ever imagine.
Are you ready? Camel treks to Berber tent camps are the easiest way to make your way through the wild landscape of the Sahara Desert, though a healthy hike can take you to the top of one of the many dunes in this windswept masterpiece of nature. Of course the desert is a scorcher during the day, but at sunrise and sunset it's magic, with the smooth red dunes glowing and the temperature quickly dropping. If you're on a 4x4 tour or in the hands of an experienced guide, the logistics will all be arranged in advance. If not, La Maison Rurale, in Merzouga, offers treks into the desert and can help with accommodations before and after. As beautiful as the desert is by day, the real show is at night, when you can stare at an infinite universe of stars swirling overhead as you lie on the warm sand.
Sure, tour guides will give you the opportunity to ogle the beautiful Atlas Mountains from a distance if that's what you prefer-but you can also get a little more adventurous and start hiking. A gentle trail leads you to Refuge du Toubkal les Mouflons (refugelesmouflons.com), in the ski area of Jbel Toubkal, where you can have a surprisingly comfy stay, enjoy a home-cooked meal, and meet fellow trekkers intent on conquering Toubkal Massif, at more than 10,000 feet, the highest peak in North Africa. Don't miss Dades Valley and its winding roads-one of the most stunning drives in the world, cutting through the rugged landscape for a 100-mile stretch. And you can even relax and watch the sun sink and the shadows rise as you sip mint tea at a café perched high above the valley. Whether you see the mountains for a few hours or a few days, they are a sight you'll never forget.
PLAN YOUR TRIP
We've suggested several reliable hotels and restaurants to help you plan your Morocco adventure. But even travelers who enjoy blazing their own trail in Europe or South America may appreciate a little of the TLC that comes from booking a package tour when visiting Morocco. Budget Travel has offered Morocco deals from such package tour companies as Gate 1 Travel, G Adventures, and Intrepid Travel, which offer a range of itineraries and price points. You'll always get great airfare and hotel rates rolled into a package deal, and the security of having an English-speaking tour guide and transportation prearranged. Whether youj're looking for a romantic getaway that's heavy on the spa treatments, shopping, and fine dining, or a let's-get-lost adventure that lets you snap selfies atop the highest peak in North Africa, riding a camel to a Berber camp in the Sahara, or haggling over the price of a carpet in a souk, Morocco has something for every taste and every budget.