From the medinas of Marrakech to the sands of the Sahara - introducing our newest short break 

Giant gorges, ancient architecture and a taste of local hospitality await you on a three-day mini-adventure from the buzzing streets of Marrakesh to the serene stillness of the Sahara Desert. Be transported to what can feel like another world as you wind your way through the towering Todra Valley and roam the earthen architecture at Ait Benhaddou (of Hollywood fame). You'll then have the best seat in the house for a magical Saharan sunset - on the back of a camel - before finishing your day in the desert sleeping under the stars. Believe us, this is one trip you’ll be glad you went on.

3-day Sahara Desert tour from Marrakesh

Highlights of the Sahara Mini Adventure

People looking out over Ait Benhaddou

A day out at Ait Benhaddou

Ait Benhaddou is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and with one look at this ancient city, you can see why. Approximately dating back to the 17th century, this mudbrick ksar is an example of pre-Saharan natural construction that once served as a Sahara trading post. It’s since been revived by Hollywood, so you might just recognise it from some pretty big films – does The Mummy, Lawrence of Arabia or Gladiator ring any bells? Before leaving, you’ll be treated to a delicious meal courtesy of the women of the Tawesna Association at a nearby teahouse.

A guide taking travellers through Marrakech

Meander in Marrakech

For a starting and finishing point, you can’t really ask for a better place than Marrakech. With its enticing food stalls, vibrant goods, bountiful gardens, engaging entertainers and unique architecture gracing every corner, there’s a souk’s worth of activities to keep you occupied. The beauty of Marrakech is that it’s a choose-your-own-adventure city. Unwind in serene riads or local spas, take your tastebuds on a culinary journey, or jumpstart your Morocco tour with exciting adventures quad biking in the desert or cycling the city streets of Marrakech.

Camels lounging in the Sahara Desert

Sand, sun and stars in the Sahara

Take a gander on camelback through the spectacular sands of the Sahara Desert and experience the colour-changing landscape by sunrise and sunset. You’ll be taken to the Erg Chebbi sand dunes, the largest dunes in Morocco. Watch as they move with the wind and change hue depending on the time of day. After experiencing the hubbub of Marrakech, fall asleep to peace and quiet under the grandeur of a full desert starry night. If you’re going to visit the largest hot desert in the world, we think you might as well stay the night.

Clinking mint tea around the table in Morocco

Towering Todra Gorge and local flavours

Among the man-made wonders of Morocco sits the impressive Todra Valley. Home to Todra Gorge and Todra River, the area is a burst of bright green farmlands cutting through the rocky, dusty terrain. You’ll get a chance to experience the region’s produce after a morning sojourn through the 400 meters high sandstone canyons as you sit down for a picnic provided by the members of the local Amazigh Women’s Association. Savour local specialities, from the country-favourite mint tea to speciality bread with olive oil; it’s the perfect Moroccan meal.

Reviews of tours featuring the Sahara Desert


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 Morocco