How Many Days Do You Need in Merzouga?
How Many Days Do You Need in Merzouga

Nestled against the towering dunes of the Sahara desert in southeastern Morocco lies a tiny oasis village called Merzouga. This serene outpost is the gateway to explore the iconic Erg Chebbi dunes, an expansive sea of shifting golden sands.

With such a stunning landscape, many travelers find themselves captivated by this magical place. But figuring out how long to stay can be tricky. So how many days do you need in Merzouga to fully experience its majestic dunes and authentic culture?

Let’s explore some recommendations.

What to See and Do in Merzouga?

Merzouga itself is a tiny rural village centered around a palm grove, but it serves as the ideal base for desert excursions. Top attractions and activities include:

  • Camel treks – No visit to Merzouga is complete without a camel ride into the Erg Chebbi dunes to watch the sunset or spend a night under the stars in a Berber camp. Short 1-2 hour trips or overnight excursions are available.
  • 4×4 dune bashing – Get your adrenaline pumping with an exhilarating 4×4 drive over the towering dunes, stopping to sandboard down their slopes. Operators offer short sunset tours or full-day adventures.
  • Desert hikes – For those who want to feel the sand between their toes, guided hikes into the dunes let you explore on foot and enjoy the views.
  • Sand surfing – Strapping a snowboard or specially made board to your feet to “surf” down the dunes is a popular new activity. Lessons and equipment are available locally.
  • Quad biking – Zoom your way around the sand dunes and through the desert valleys on an ATV quad bike tour. Stop for photo ops along the way.
  • Merzouga village – Take a stroll through this laidback village, populated by local Berbers. Visit the weekly souk market, and artisanal cooperatives, and stare in wonder at the views of the dunes.

Make sure to spend at least one night at a traditional Berber desert camp, equipped with comfortable beds and amenities. Evenings come alive with music, dancing, and storytelling around a campfire. This immersive cultural experience creates lifelong memories.

For more details on Erg Chebbi Activities, check our article on the best things to do in the Merzouga.

Most travelers find 2-3 days in Merzouga provides enough time to experience the highlights at a relaxed pace. Here’s a sample itinerary:

Day 1

Arrive and check into your hotel or desert camp. In the late afternoon, head out on a short camel trek or 4×4 tour to catch the sunset over the dunes. Spend the evening stargazing or enjoying entertainment at your camp.

Day 2

After breakfast, head out for a morning desert activity like dune bashing, surfing, or quad biking. In the afternoon, explore the Merzouga village and palm groves or lounge by the pool. Catch another sunset on the dunes.

Day 3

Pack up and hit the road for your next destination or opt for a full-day 4×4 or camel tour into the dunes before you leave.

While 2-3 days allows you to experience the main highlights, some travelers opt for longer stays of 4-5 days to:

  • Take overnight camel treks deep into the dunes
  • Enjoy multiple activities (camel riding, quad biking, sandboarding, etc)
  • Relax and enjoy the tranquil desert vibe

Ultimately it depends on your interests, pace, and budget. Don’t pack your schedule too tightly. Leave room to sit back and soak up the magic of Merzouga!

Customizing Your Ideal Duration

Here are some typical options for your ideal duration of visit to Merzouga:

1-2 Days: A Taste of the Desert

A short stay allows you to experience the highlights like camel rides, ATVs, and a camp overnight. It’s perfect for those short on time.

3-4 Days: Balanced Sightseeing

This moderate duration allows a more relaxed exploration of the dunes along with possible day trips to places like Rissani, the Todra Gorge, or Ait Benhaddou.

5+ Days: Deep Desert Immersion

With an extended stay, you can truly immerse yourself in the desert vibe through multi-day camel treks, sunrise excursions, and visits to the Draa Valley. Ideal for adventurers.

Booking Tips To Make the Most of Your Visit

  • Advance booking for camel rides and accommodation is recommended during peak seasons to secure your top choice.
  • Spring and fall offer the most comfortable weather. Summer can be very hot (avoid July/August if heat-sensitive).
  • There are many basic hotels and riads in Merzouga village, or choose a desert camp/lodge for scenic dune views.
  • Group tours often only spend one night in Merzouga, so allow extra time for a more relaxing experience if traveling independently.

No matter how you tailor your visit, Merzouga is sure to captivate you with its vast dunes, authentic culture, and tranquility. Let this magical desert oasis enchant you!


What is the best time of year to visit Merzouga?

The best times are spring (March-May) and fall (September-November) when daytime temperatures are warm but comfortable. Summers can be extremely hot, especially July/August. Winters can be quite chilly at night.

Where should I stay in Merzouga – a hotel or a desert camp?

For the full experience, staying in a desert camp is recommended, offering great views and activities. If looking to save money, there are basic hotels/riads in the village itself.

Is Merzouga safe for tourists?

Yes, Merzouga is very safe, crime levels are extremely low and locals are welcoming. As with anywhere, just take normal safety precautions. Guides are available to explore deeper into the dunes.

Can I drive my own 4×4 or ATV in the dunes?

No, for safety reasons you can only ride as a passenger with local companies. They know the dune routes to avoid problems. Camel rides and hiking are the best self-guided options.

Is there wifi/internet access in Merzouga?

Yes, wifi is available at most hotels and camps, but the speed can be slow and intermittent at times due to the remote desert location. Temper expectations and prepare to unplug!


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