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DIY Fes to Marrakesh through Erg Chebbi Desert, Morocco

Don’t pay more for a tour operator what you can easily do yourself!

sunny 90 °F

Many tour operators from Fes or Marrakesh will provide you with a 3 nights, 4 days trip into the desert with a camel trek and night in a Berber tent, for a mere 350 euros per person. We did this trip for just 75 euros per person using public transportation and directly contacting a hotel in Hassilabied to book our camel trek. Here is the simple way to plan your own trip:

1. First decide whether you want to save time and drive overnight on the “tourist” buses (CTM or Supra Tours) or would you like to travel during the day on the local bus (6:30am or 10am). We selected the local bus during the day for 110 dirham including luggage (CTM or Supra Tours costs 160 dirams including luggage).

  • *Note: Supra Tours will drop you off in Merzouga, while CTM and the local bus will will drop you at Rissani, about 45 minutes from Merzouga**


2. Contact a hotel in Hari Labri via web to get prices for camel trek and rooms. We contacted Auberge La Source and got a room for 10 euros a night per person (including breakfast and dinner), 25 euros per person for camel trek (including dinner and breakfast). The hotel picked us up from Rissani so we didn’t need to worry about haggling for a grand taxi.

  • *Note: We highly recommend staying in the village of Hassilabied, just outside of Merzouga as it is cheaper, better food, more stores and only a stones through to the dunes.**


3. Enjoy your time in the desert, making sure to catch sunsets and sunrises. We stayed two nights in the hotel, and one night out in the desert.

  • *note: on the morning of the desert camp out, breakfast is served after you return to the hotel, so bring snacks if you are a person who wakes up hungry!


4. Onward travel to Marrakesh is easy… the bus leaves from Merzouga at 8am for 220 dirham (including luggage). You can catch this bus on the morning you return from the desert sleep out, but you will miss sunrise in the desert. We recommend staying another night at the hotel so that you don’t have to rush things.

In summary (price per person):

Local Bus Fes to Rissani – 110 dirham (including luggage)
Pickup from Rissani to hotel – free (arranged through the hotel, otherwise budget about 10 dirham for a shared grand taxi or more for private)
2 nights in dessert hotel – 220 dirham (includes breakfast and dinner, shared bathroom)
Camel trek into desert – 225 dirham (includes breakfast, dinner and water)
Bus from Merzouga to Marrakesh - 220 dirham (including luggage)

Total 775 dirhams (74 euros) per person - 4 days, 3 nights

We really enjoyed the local bus from Fes to Rissani, passing through some beautiful scenery, stopping for some delicious cheap food, and meeting lots of locals. The desert is a beautiful relaxing place, we recommend staying a few extra nights to enjoy it… there are plenty of walks to do before it gets too hot and the stars are amazing at night. Also, if you come when the Merzouga music festival is on, you will have plenty to do!

Posted by Robin-and-Kevin 22:53 Archived in Morocco

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So the weather wasn't too hot this time of year then eh! :) you guys could write a book about how to travel around the world on a budget and see it ALL!

by Megan DiBiase

You will always impress me !! You are amazing travellers that really know how to do it ! Cheap travelling, with amazing local experience : that's the way to do it :)

by Genevieve

I liked so much your blog,we completed a 4 day Marrakesh to Fez trip with Morocco Excursions. Prior to the trip we did considerable research on tour companies and itineraries, we selected Morocco Excursions because they were the most flexible in regards to itineraries, and the most cost effective. The trip that was delivered was well organised, responsive and good value for money.

We ended up with 2 of us in a truck with a driver Ali, who was great, informative and easy to travel with. The Riads selected were lovely and some of the nicest places we stayed at in Morocco. If it fits in your budget I would highly recommend limiting the trip to your party only, with a driver and not trying to reduce costs by adding strangers, limiting your party gives you flexibility in your daily itinerary and really makes the trip your own.

We traveled extensively in Morocco and felt this excursion made our trip, it got us out of the cities into the countryside and showed us there was more to Morocco then the Medinas. We were amazed at the differing landscape and industry from farming, to movie sets, fossils, etc. The highlight was the camel ride and the night in the desert. Some times a taste is better than the full meal deal. :) At first I was disappointed that the desert camp had been moved closer to town and that the camel ride was much shorter than expected. I totally enjoyed the camel ride but came to appreciate later that if you don't ride camels or horses on a regular bases that shorter is better than longer. I felt the camel ride every time I climbed steps for the next couple of days; not bad; just a reminder.

We took up the recommendation to add the fourth day to the trip and enjoyed an afternoon lounging around the Riad pool before starting off again to Fez. If you have the time it is worth considering.

by jackmolishon

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