BIVOUAC IN MERZOUGA: ENJOY THE DUNES OF THE ERG CHEBBI


If you regularly follow my travel blog, you should know that my last bivouac in Merzouga was not the first in erg Chebbi in Merzouga!

Several months (or years!) Ago, I shared with you a post devoted to the Moroccan desert in order to give you some tips for choosing your destination.

In March 2015, I made a new bivouac in Merzouga, a new night in the dunes of Erg Chebbi.

Back from this bivouac in Merzouga, I share with you an account of this part of my trip. Obviously, this story is accompanied by some photos of the dunes of Merzouga, landscapes so photogenic.

Finally, I also share my advice for preparing your stay in Merzouga and more precisely in the dunes of the erg.

Dunes of Merzouga / Erg Chebbi by yourself or not?

As always on my blog, this story relates to my personal experience, via a trip by yourself without a travel agency. If you want to plan this same route, you will need a rental car (it is possible via a bus journey but it is more complicated and you will not have the freedom to enjoy the landscapes on the roads that lead to Merzouga and erg Chebbi… It is my recommendation to take full advantage of a road trip in Morocco and the desert experience in Merzouga.

However, if you do not have a driving license and/or do not wish to go to Merzouga on your own, be aware that an alternative is possible. Indeed, it is quite possible to go to Merzouga with support. For this, the best solution is to go through a small local agency.

This option can be booked online. The excursion includes transport from Fez or Marrakech, accommodation in a bivouac in the dunes of Merzouga as well as a camel ride and breakfast/dinner. These excursions are possible from Marrakech over 3 days or from Fez over 2 days.

The price is the same if you have the possibility of opting for one or the other, I recommend the formula from Marrakech over 3 days because from Fez, the 2 days will be well started by road … If you want to go by car to Merzouga by yourself (preferable option in my opinion), you can then book at the ksar Bicha camp or in this other excellent camp. The 2 camps are ideally located in the erg, with large dunes around.

Merzouga: On The Road To A Bivouac In Erg Chebbi! BIVOUAC IN MERZOUGA: ENJOY THE DUNES OF THE ERG CHEBBI

After having traveled more than 200 kilometers on the roads of the Middle Atlas, direction Merzouga, near the Algerian border.

The landscapes are clearly changing. Everything is drier. More snow, less greenery on the sides of the road. The Atlas pines and steep slopes are now replaced by dry, ocher soil, and the vegetation is mostly palm trees.

The landscapes are nevertheless magnificent. The palm groves are magnificent and after crossing Rissani, the desert points its nose.

Almost non-existent relief, almost no habitation and camels wandering on the side of the roads. After a few kilometers of rock desert, the dunes of Merzouga appear on the horizon.

I have been to Merzouga several times before but I never tire of seeing these dunes. The lake near the dunes of Merzouga is, for once, not completely dry! During my previous visits to summer, there was no trace of it!

We arrived in Merzouga. After a good glass of mint tea, let’s go! We left for a camel ride to the bivouac.

Bivouac In The Dunes Of Merzouga

BIVOUAC IN MERZOUGA: ENJOY THE DUNES OF THE ERG CHEBBI

In Merzouga, most (all?) Hostels offer bivouacs in the dunes. Before making your choice, it is important to choose the right bivouac, essentially on 3 criteria:

  • his situation / his isolation
  • her size
  • private camp or shared with other inns

It would be a shame to end up on a camp on the edge of the erg with around twenty tourists.

During my various bivouacs in Merzouga, I opted several times for the private camp at Ksar Bicha or for this camp. Count 55 to 65 euros per person for the camel ride from the hostel to the camp (2 hours), the night on the camp, dinner and breakfast (online booking here, after the different room choices on the site , you have the choice ‘Classic tent’, what to book to spend the night on the campsite in the dunes). This is the price charged by most hostels / camps in Merzouga but here the situation of the camp is top!

These camps are reserved for guests of the hostel, so you won’t find dozens of other travelers from organized tours …

In addition, the geographical location of these camps in Merzouga are ideal for a bivouac. They are not on the edge of erg Chebbi where there are far too many quads, 4 × 4 and other camps. Clearly ideal location and for me, the best camps for a bivouac in Merzouga.

The camp is located at the foot of the highest dune in Merzouga. The perfect place to climb to the top of the dune and admire a magical sunrise/sunset (both for the most motivated!)!

Change of scenery & authenticity in erg Chebbi?

It is important to decipher these bivouacs in the dunes of Merzouga but also elsewhere in Morocco and more generally elsewhere in the world.

If you are looking for a change of scenery, this is it. Climb to the top of a dune, admire the magnificent landscape of a sandy desert. It is surely one of the most exotic landscapes because of its vastness and its “emptiness”.

However, forget about authenticity. If you want to meet the locals, choose the small villages of the Atlas.

In Morocco, there are very few nomads left and they are not crazy, they do not live in the middle of the dunes! The camps are set up for tourists and the blue outfit of camel drivers has absolutely no connection with Morocco.

Anyway, I highly recommend you go there, for the dunes, for the desert and not for anything else. This is already a lot!

Erg Chebbi: Let’s go, Direction Les Dunes De Merzouga! : BIVOUAC IN MERZOUGA

Despite a busy schedule for this start of our stay in Morocco, we arrived early in Merzouga to take advantage of part of the afternoon in the dunes.

In the early afternoon, we leave the Ksar Bicha hostel. The direction the heart of the dunes on the back of a dromedary. I’m not hiding from you that it’s not necessarily the part I prefer. Clearly, the dromedary is not comfortable.

Almost 2 hours later, with our backs lose (and not only …), but we also arrived at the camp.

30 good minutes of effort to climb this big dune I was telling you about and the panorama is there! The view is still breathtaking. Difficult to get tired of it. We will stay at the top of the dune to admire the view until the sunset.

After witnessing a perfect sunset (the sky was completely clear), we hit the dune. Running, snowboarding, standing, or sledding. It’s much funnier and easier in that sense!

Returning to the bivouac, we will end the day with a tagine and then with local music around a fire, very pleasant during the cool nights of March in Merzouga! Once again, I have absolutely no regrets about having returned to the Ksar Bicha camp. Definitely, the camp to favor with this one. By far, the 2 best camps in Merzouga!

Merzouga Sun & Dunes: A Fabulous Mix of Colors! Merzouga Sun & Dunes: A Fabulous Mix of Colors!

 

What fascinates me most about deserts is the play of light. And the dunes of Merzouga are a terrible playground for those who love photography. In addition, by making a bivouac in Merzouga, you can easily take advantage of the erg dunes at sunrise and sunset, an ideal moment to take sublime photographs!

Early in the morning or late at night, the shadows give magical photographs, as can be seen below.

To attend this show, it is absolutely necessary to be in the dunes shortly before sunset and / or shortly after sunrise.

During these two times of the day, the shadows on the dunes and the color of the dunes change almost every minute.

In the space of half an hour, one has the impression of looking at totally different landscapes.

For the rest, I let you look at the few photos I share in this post. I took care to share photos of the dunes of Merzouga taken at different times of the day. We can therefore easily notice the absolutely magnificent play of colors on this ocher sand of erg Chebbi!

The desert is definitely one of the landscapes that fascinate me the most. In the dunes of Merzouga within erg Chebbi or elsewhere in the world …

Immensity, shade, colors, a sacred mixture that cannot leave you indifferent! I hope this post on Merzouga in Morocco will make you want to go there for a walk and especially to spend a night in a bivouac in these dunes of Morocco!

If you have any questions about the Merzouga dunes or about a bivouac there, feel free to comment on this post. I respond fairly quickly to comments posted on the blog 🙂


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