Visit the Magnificent Sahara Desert from Marrakech

Posted avril 16th, 2014 in Vacation and Travel by admin


The Sahara is the world’s largest and most popular hot desert and one of the most fascinating places on Earth. It divides the African continent into two territories, namely the Maghribian North-African countries, which include Mauritania, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya, and Sub-Saharan Africa, although the Sahara also covers extensive parts of Chad, Egypt, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Sudan. In Morocco you will have many opportunities to immerse yourself into its fascinating universe.

The Sahara’s boundaries are the Moroccan Atlas Mountains, like in Moroccanviews http:/www.moroccanviews.com/ and the Mediterranean Sea on the north, the Atlantic Ocean on the west, the Red Sea and Egypt on the east, and the Sudan and the valley of the Niger River on the south. It comprises several distinct eco-regions which make up a varied landscape composed of abundant mountains, basins, plains, plateaus and sand seas.

But some of the most sought-after features of the Sahara desert are its countless types of amazing sand dunes and other sand formations. Some of these sand formations are pyramidal dunes reaching up to 150 meters high whose creation, despite studies by many archaeologists, remains a mystery until today. The impressive sand seas found in some regions of the desert also attract many adventurers to this remote and magical corner of the world.

The Sahara is home to some 2.5 million people, mostly inhabiting Egypt, Mauritania, Morocco and Algeria, and to a number of peoples and languages. Dominant ethnicities in the Sahara are various Berber groups including Tuareg pastoral tribes and various Arabised Berber groups, such as the Sahrawis in Western Sahara. Many of these inhabitants in the desert are nomads and travel in caravans looking for trade in other countries of the desert in order to survive.

Trade has been one of the major sources of income for the inhabitants of the desert and has shaped its people and the physiognomy of its human settlements, turning the scattered oasis communities into trading centres. The Islamic conquest of North Africa in the seventh century CE increased trade across the desert significantly. The kingdoms of the South exported gold and salt to North Africa. The emirates along the Mediterranean Sea sent manufactured goods and horses south, while from the Sahara itself, salt was exported.

When travelling to Morocco, you can visit some of these fascinating trading settlements, Berber villages and oasis, experience a culture unchanged for thousands of years, and explore on foot a great number of Kasbahs, old fortresses or citadels into which people could go for shelter during a battle. Your excursions will also include camel treks to a desert camp and overnight dinner with traditional drumming and dancing and stay in a desert Kasbah.

You will drive through the Tizi nTichka pass in the High Atlas Mountains, enjoy the impressive landscapes and visit the famous Atlas film studios where many famous historical and adventure films were shot. You will also get a chance to admire the breathtaking Kasbah Taourirt as well as the magnificent Aït Benhaddou Kasbah, listed by UNESCO as World Heritage Site and one of the most important fortress strongholds on the old Salt Road, where caravans brought slaves, gold, ivory and salt from Saharan Africa to Marrakech and beyond.

Other adventures will include a drive through the Valley of the Roses and the Dades gorges, a visit to the Todra Gorge, where sheer rock walls rise over 300 meters in its narrowest part and an excursion to Merzouga, also known as “The Gate to the Dunes”. If you really want a complete experience of the Sahara desert, you can go on to the Erg Chebbi dunes, which appear magically on the horizon with all their beauty and mysterious powers, visit an old slave village and, at night, climb the dunes and watch the moon rise before leading your camel caravan back to the bivouac (camp), where you will spend the night in a nomad wool tent.

If you want to visit the Sahara desert, the best option for accommodation is to stay in Marrakech, easily accessible and with excellent connections. There you will find all the information, equipment and advice that you will need for your Saharan adventure.

Once in the Ochre City, you can stay in one of the many fantastic Marrakech hotels or, better yet, in one of the typical Marrakech riads. You can also stay in a lovely villa in Marrakech, closer to the rural areas, where landscapes are stunning and where the inhabitants will welcome you with open arms.

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