Located in the region of gaping canyons and sand duned desert in Morocco’s south is the region of Zagora: land of quickly changing landscapes and oases hidden by rocky outcrops gorges of the mighty dunes, Cheggaga and Djebel Saghro.
The proper way to travel this region is on the back of one of the ‘ships of the desert’: a camel in a camel team carrying tents and supplies from oasis to oasis, guided by the people who have travelled this way for generations. Cooking and sleeping in traditional tents under the desert sky while your guides tell traditional stories and you sip heavy mint flavoured spirits is an incredibly romantic experience, something for both the hardened adventurer and the romantic traveller fascinated with the travels of yesteryear.
Also famed for its sunsets, this region has developed slowly and isn’t crowed with tourists. The local towns have beautiful red stoned buildings in ornate styles and there are lots of ‘traditional’ activities: a visit to the palmery, the local pottery ’factory’ and a proper silver smith for example. And there's plenty of opportunity to eat fresh baked wheat bread or couscous in the local Berber villages.
M’hamid and Merzouga are other good places to begin a camel trek, but sticking with Zagora allows you to trace some of the old 9th Century trade route to Timbuktu - which took 52 days, visit Oulad Driss and stay in a kasbah hotel.
It is true that camels aren’t particular comfortable and many guides prefer to take you out in four wheel drives these days - it’s also quicker to travel in cars, but if it’s experiences we’re talking then there is just no comparison. Camels can be hired for an hour or several weeks, and you can join a group, trek with a private guide or travel on your own.
The best time to trek is September to February. In Summer temperatures around Zagora can easily reach 122 degrees, so Spring and Autumn are best.
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