Discover sweeping dunes, sparkling night skies and ancient Amazigh culture in the Sahara Desert.

Journey into the heart of the Sahara where a sea of wind-whipped sand stretches for what looks like forever. We like to explore the Sahara the Intrepid way. We're talking sunset camel rides, getting lost in the narrow streets of an ancient citadel, exchanging stories over mint tea with a local Amazigh family and feasting on Moroccan food in a desert camp. Heed the call of the dunes and join us on a bucket-list North African adventure.

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Highlights of the Sahara Desert

A group of travellers riding camels in the Sahara Desert at sunset

Enjoy a sunset camel ride

Aside from your feet, there’s only one way to get around in the Sahara (hint: they have long legs, humped backs and elongated necks). Enjoy a sunset camel ride across the shifting red sand dunes with a local guide. This is the most magical time of the day to witness the dunes as the golden hour light hits the sand and sets off dramatic hues of red and gold.

A traveller snapping a photo in Todra Gorge, Morocco

Hike through Todra Gorge

The best way to explore the red-hued canyon walls that tower over the winding Todra River is with your feet. The surrounding peaks and the famous Rose Valley in the distance make a spectacular setting for a hike, and with Amazigh villages dotted along the trail, there’ll be plenty of opportunities to quench your thirst with a mint tea and enjoy a lunch in a traditional mudbrick kasbah.

A cooking demonstration for medfouna

Learn how to make medfouna

Learn how to make medfouna (also called 'Amazigh pizza'), a traditional stuffed bread of the nomadic peoples of the High Atlas. It’s made by filling flatbread with meat (usually beef or lamb), onions, herbs and spices and baked in a fire pit until the crust is crispy. Once traditionally prepared by women to feed local farm workers, this hearty delicacy is a great introduction to the cuisine of the desert region.

Travellers playing the drums in a Sahara Desert Camp in Morocco

Sleep under the stars

Camp at the edge of the Sahara Desert in a comfy camp where you’ll sleep under the glittering night sky. With a delicious Moroccan feast for dinner, the chance to learn how to play some traditional Moroccan instruments and the ambient sounds of the desert breeze to sing you to sleep, this is an unforgettable camping experience.

Travellers stepping over rocks near Ait Benhaddou, Morocco

Explore Aït Benhaddou

This ancient hilltop citadel remains almost untouched since the 11th century and walking around it feels like stepping back in time. The clay kasbah was once an important site on the caravan route between the Sahara and Marrakesh. You may even recognise it from Game of Thrones and Gladiator. Explore the labyrinth of narrow streets and passages and hike to the top of the hill for an epic view.

Travellers drinking mint tea with a local Amazigh man in Morocco

Enjoy tea with an Amazigh family

Some of the best conversations happen over a cuppa. Learn about the way of life for Morocco’s Indigenous people as you sip on cups of sweet mint tea with a local Amazigh family. Nestled in the Dades Valley, the village is set against the breathtaking backdrop of the surrounding mountains and the famous Rose Valley. This is the Morocco most visitors don’t get the chance to see.

Sahara Desert tour reviews

Sahara Desert tour FAQs

Trips from 1 January 2023 onwards

From 1 January 2023, Intrepid will no longer require travellers to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 (excluding all Polar trips and select adventure cruises).

However, we continue to strongly recommend that all Intrepid travellers and leaders get vaccinated to protect themselves and others.

Specific proof of testing or vaccination may still be required by your destination or airline. Please ensure you check travel and entry requirements carefully.

Learn more about Intrepid’s COVID-19 policy

The Sahara Desert is located in North Africa. It spans a mighty 9,200,000 square kilometres across 10 countries, including Morocco, Egypt, Mali and Libya. It's the world's largest hot desert, and the third-largest desert after Antarctica and the Arctic.

As a desert region, the Sahara can experience extreme weather. Winter (December to February) can be very cold, with overnight temperatures dropping to 5°C or lower. You'll need a sleeping bag, thermals, a scarf, gloves and a warm jacket for travel in winter. Oh, and be prepared for cold showers at your desert camp!

Summer (June to September) can be very hot with intense temperatures that can reach the high 40°Cs. This might be too uncomfortable for those not used to the heat. It’s super important to use sun protection and stay hydrated. That said, the desert can still get pretty chilly at night when the sun goes down, so you'll need a fleece to rug up.

Spring (March to May) sees the arrival of strong winds and there is an increased risk of sandstorms in April – but don't worry, your leader will always check the forecast beforehand to see if it's safe to stay in the desert.

The best time to visit the Sahara Desert is during the spring months between March to May, as well as the autumn months of October and November. During these times, the desert temperatures are hot but manageable and the nights don’t get quite as cold. Although one thing to note is that between January to May there is usually a higher number of sandstorms recorded, especially in April.

What to pack will differ slightly depending on the time of year and the activities you'll be doing. But below are the basics you'll need:

  • Light scarf or face mask can be handy for preventing you from inhaling desert dust
  • Sun hat – wide-brimmed, ideally, to protect your face and head from the sun's rays and strong winds
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen – when you're in the desert, it goes without saying!
  • Small daypack for day trips and excursions
  • Light, loose-fitting pants
  • Joggers or jeans for camel rides
  • Long-sleeved shirts
  • Fleece – for all seasons
  • Warm layers (for winter trips) – you'll need thermals, gloves, a woolly hat and a fleece to rug up as the temperatures can drop to below freezing at night
  • Small head torch – handy for going to the bathroom at night
  • Thongs (flip flops) for camp
  • Hiking shoes or runners
  • Camera

The Sahara Desert is one of the fiercest environments for animal life. The mammals that live in the Sahara range from Saharan cheetahs, dromedary camels and desert foxes to gazelles, ostrich, hyrax and African wild dogs. Reptile life includes the desert crocodile, sand viper and the desert monitor. Other common species include the deathstalker scorpion and the Saharan silver ant as well as over 90 species of birds.

You sure do. All passengers travelling with Intrepid are required to purchase travel insurance before the start of their tour. Your travel insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day of the trip. Due to the varying nature, availability and cost of health care around the world, travel insurance is very much an essential and necessary part of every journey.

Learn more about travel insurance.

Intrepid is committed to making travel widely accessible, regardless of ability or disability. That’s why we do our best to help as many people see the world as possible, regardless of any physical or mental limitations they might have. We’re always happy to talk to travellers with disabilities and see if we can help guide them towards the most suitable itinerary for their needs and where possible, make reasonable adjustments to our itineraries. 

Learn more about Accessible Travel with Intrepid

Read more about North Africa