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6 Excursions to the Agafay desert from Marrakech

If you have little time during your stay in Marrakech, an Agafay trip is the best alternative to enjoy the Moroccan desert. You will be able to experience the desert in just one day without long and stressful trips.

Katherine Betances

Katherine Betances

9 min read

6 Excursions to the Agafay desert from Marrakech

Agafay Desert in Marrakech | ©Kostas Fotiadis

An excursion to the Agafay desert is the perfect alternative when making short trips to Marrakech, since getting to the Agafay desert from Marrakech will take you 40 minutes by car. You will be able to live the experience without sacrificing other must-do things to do during a trip to Marrakech.

1- Excursions in buggies and quads in the desert of Agafay

By Buggy in Agafay| ©Leif Bergerson
By Buggy in Agafay| ©Leif Bergerson

In Marrakech you will find many offers of excursions in the desert aboard buggies and quads. The Moroccan desert areas have become the perfect place to use this type of motor vehicles. You will be able to explore the Agafay desert in Morocco while enjoying its beautiful landscapes. The excursion could end with a stop to rejoice in the famous sunsets of the tropical desert of Agafay and close the experience on a high note.

What does this excursion include?

The 4x4 vehicle excursions from Marrakech include, for the most part, some kind of refreshments and transportation to the hotel. Please note that most of the time lunch or tips are not included.

Useful information

  • PriceThistype of adventure can cost around 100 € in small groups.
  • Duration of the excursion: Approximately 2 hours in total.
  • Recommended if... you have previous experience driving this type of vehicle. Although this is a fun activity that does not involve a greater degree of complexity, it is best to prevent accidents or any other type of inconvenience that can spoil your trip.

Book your excursion to the desert of Agafay

2- Excursions with water sports in Takerkoust lake

Lake Takerkoust| ©Trysk
Lake Takerkoust| ©Trysk

Locals and tourists describe Lake Takerkoust as an obligatory stop if you find yourself spending the summer in Marrakech. Built in 1920 with the intention of providing the city with drinking water and electricity, it has become a popular recreational area where a number of activities are possible.

At Lake Takerkoust you can jet ski, wakeboard, flyboard and more. If you are not an expert in any of these sports and think you need some training, you can find expert instructors willing to offer their services. About the activities it is important to clarify that swimming is not allowed in Lake Takerkoust.

Useful information about Lake Takerkoust

  • Price: A day trip to the lake and surroundings costs about 100 € on average. Including pick up from your hotel.
  • Duration of the excursion: The adventure to Lake Takerkoust usually takes a full day itinerary. You would return to Morocco after sunset.
  • Recommended if... you visit Marrakech in the summer months and enjoy or practice some kind of water sport is a must stop. Water sports of all kinds are very popular activities in the area and for which it is really easy to find equipment for rent.

Book your excursion to the Agafay Desert

3- Lunch in a Berber tent.

Preparing lunch in the tent| ©raddox
Preparing lunch in the tent| ©raddox

Visiting Marrakech at any time of the year is a memorable gastronomic experience. If you want to take it to the next level, I recommend a Moroccan-style lunch served in a tent in the middle of the Agafay desert.

Head out into the desert for a novel dining experience that may include sampling a homemade tajine, appreciating fresh local seasonal fruits and enjoying an energizing mint tea. All this before returning to your comfortable hotel in the city.

Useful informations

  • Price: The price of this experience is usually 60€ and up.
  • Duration of the tour: A maximum of 4 hours.
  • Recommended if... you want to enjoy a typical Moroccan lunch with your partner, friends or family outside the bustling and chaotic Marrakech.

Book your excursion to the desert of Agafay

4- Excursion with camel ride at sunset

Camel ride in the Agafay Desert| ©Sean Cundy
Camel ride in the Agafay Desert| ©Sean Cundy

What could be more moving than a leisurely ride on a camel through the Agafay desert at sunset?

Without a doubt one of those experiences that you will only be able to live in Morocco and that you should at least consider; unless camels really scare you, however, these creatures are really docile and are very well adapted to humans.

You will depart from your hotel in the city in a 4x4 minivan to your final destination in the desert of Agafay, from here begins a camel adventure to get to know the surroundings.

Useful information about camel trekking in Agafay

  • Price: This is an affordable desert experience for all budgets with an average price of 40 € per person.
  • Duration of the excursion: This type of excursion usually lasts between 1 or 2 hours in total.
  • Recommended if... you are looking to immerse yourself in a landscape of extraordinary beauty that you will remember forever. Head to the quieter part of the desert where the imposing hills are located, pause for a moment and enjoy the serenity of the sunset and the magic of the caravans being transported across the plain.

Book your excursion to the Agafay Desert

5- Overnight camping in the desert

Camping in the desert| ©Philippe Brunel
Camping in the desert| ©Philippe Brunel

Few things in life can beat the experience of spending a night in the desert under a starry sky. Glamping is the term used to describe the experience of camping in the desert in comfortably equipped luxury tents.

What is included in this excursion?

You will find different types of packages with different budgets and different amenities but generally speaking the most memorable desert camping experiences are offered to the traveler:

  • A welcome Moroccan tea
  • Luxurious and comfortable tents to sleep in
  • Fully equipped bathrooms
  • Comfortable beds
  • Electricity
  • A camel ride to watch the sunset
  • Dinner under the stars
  • The alternative to try other travel activities such as buggies, camel rides or quads.

Useful information

  • Price: From 55 € per night for the simplest tents, luxury camps can cost up to 200 € for the experience.
  • Duration of the excursion: The minimum time for this excursion is one day.
  • Recommended if... you can't resist the desire to camp for a night and watch the sunrise in the desert, but you can't or don't want to undertake a trek to Merzouga; with all that entails.

Book your excursion to the Agafay desert

6- Horseback riding in the desert

Horseback riding| ©Nestor Imberti
Horseback riding| ©Nestor Imberti

At the end of a long day in the city you could take advantage of the sunset and the pleasant temperature to go horseback riding on the arid slopes of the Agafay Desert. Horseback riding is another alternative to explore and discover the desert landscapes of Marrakech in complete freedom.

Useful information

  • Price: You will find several price alternatives with an average of 80€ per person.
  • Duration of the excursion: The average duration of this excursion is 6 hours.
  • Recommended if... you enjoy horses and are a good rider. It is a different experience capable of boosting the imagination for a few hours to the fantastic illusion of the equestrian fables of the East in the style of The Thousand and One Nights.

Book your excursion to the desert of Agafay

Is it worth visiting the Agafay Desert from Marrakech?

In the Agafay Desert| ©Nicolò Melandri
In the Agafay Desert| ©Nicolò Melandri

When considering a tour of the Agafay Desert people should think about how long they will want to sit in a vehicle. Most tourists visiting Morocco are bombarded with information about alternative tours to the Sahara Desert; however, these types of tours cannot be tailored to all itineraries.

You can find excursions that offer 2-day tours to remote areas such as the Merzouga desert, but anyone who has experienced the journey of visiting Erg Chebbi or Erg Chegaga will tell you the same thing: The minimum travel time to have an enjoyable experience is 3 days, and not all travelers have that much time.

The not so positive about Agafay

You should keep in mind that Agafay is not a Sahara sand desert, but rather a plateau of arid land that offers an authentic desert feel at the right times of the year.

I recommend undertaking an adventure to the Agafay desert if

  • If you are considering Morocco as your next destination and want to experience the desert without major complications.
  • If you have visited before the great deserts of the Moroccan Sahara (Erg Chebbi and Erg Chegaga) and you are looking for a more relaxed but equally fun alternative.

How to get to the Agafay Desert from Marrakech?

Private transportation to the desert| ©Julia Volk
Private transportation to the desert| ©Julia Volk

To get to the Agafay desert from Marrakech you have several alternatives

Hire an experience or adventure in the desert

My favorite option because of the ease of management and the valuable time it saves us. Most tour operators offer pick-up and drop-off services to and from your hotel in Marrakech.

Go by cab from the hotel to the Agafay Desert

If you decide to hire the services of a cab to get to your accommodation in the Agafay desert, take into account that the cost of this trip usually exceeds 35 €. Drivers are usually very friendly with tourists and are fluent in several languages including Spanish and English.

Go by public transport from Marrakech

The cheapest alternative to get from Marrakech to the desert. Bus number 33 from the center of Marrakech stops at the entrance of the Agafay desert.

What is the best time to visit the Agafay desert?

Camping in Agafay| ©Tourdust
Camping in Agafay| ©Tourdust

If you want to fully enjoy the Agafay desert, it is best to visit it in the summer months just after the end of spring.

Although in more generic terms, the ideal time of the year to visit Morocco can vary greatly depending on the activities you decide to do, near summer you can be sure that your excursion to the desert will not be disturbed by rain and wind; the fields will not be in bloom so Agafay will look like a desert at its best.

The only thing you should be aware of is that summer in Morocco offers really hot days but very pleasant nights with clear skies full of stars.

Weather in Agafay desert.

Sun in Agafay| ©Pat Allan
Sun in Agafay| ©Pat Allan

The predominant climate in Agafay is known as the local steppe climate. Morocco in general is a land of highly contrasting climates, where the days can be hellishly hot and the nights bitterly cold.

Throughout the year it rains very little, with an average of 42 mm of annual rainfall, February is the wettest month of the year. At the hottest times of the year the highest temperatures can reach a dreadful 40 degrees Celsius.

In the winter months, specifically in January, temperatures can drop close to freezing, so if you travel to the desert in winter you should be prepared for the cold.

What clothes to pack for excursions to the Agafay desert?

Tourists on the Camel, Agafay Desert.| ©Alex Quarante
Tourists on the Camel, Agafay Desert.| ©Alex Quarante

On your excursions to the desert you should travel light and keep as many things as possible in the hotel. A backpack with a few items is usually enough.

For your days in the desert remember to bring...

  • A hat or cap to protect you from the sun.
  • Cool breathable clothes and preferably with long sleeves to protect you.
  • Sunglasses
  • A handkerchief or scarf
  • A toiletry bag where you include: cleaning items, wet wipes and sunscreen that should be applied every two hours.
  • If you wear glasses, avoid taking contact lenses on your excursions so as not to lose them.
  • Always carry a thermos with water and snacks.
  • Always carry a garbage bag with you

For your nights in the desert remember to bring...

**Other useful items...
**- Portable battery for your cell phone.

  • Rechargeable flashlight with batteries.
  • Basic first aid kit.
  • Toilet paper.

Other desert excursions

Touring the Palm Grove| ©briDom
Touring the Palm Grove| ©briDom

If the main interest of your trip to Morocco is to see a real sand desert, take a look at the travel guides I share with you below: