General Information

Map of route from N10 to N13

We had Sarah Tours arrange our trip to the Mergouza Dunes. There is another area in Morocco that tourists go for the dunes which is closer to Marrakech, but Sarah Tours said this would have better dunes and less people.

We think that if we had gone to stay at the Hotel Mansour by ourselves, the people at that hotel would have been able to set us up with a similar trip and perhaps for less money, but we are not certain of that. It was good that we set it up with Sarah Tours so that there would be no questions about what we were getting. Next time we will ask Larbi at the Hotel Mansour what to do to get there.

We met another climbing couple and they had gone out to the same area and figured out how to get to the dunes, too. Perhaps the Lonely Planet has a suggestion.

The Drive

Camping in the Megouza Dunes was a wonderful experience. Getting there was half of the adventure. It started out with a drizzly day, which was quite unusual for the desert. We traveled in silence for hours as the sky became darker and darker.
flood We were half way to the dunes when we came upon a flood across the road. We decided to go back and try a second route to the dunes. Several hours later we were blocked again by a river as a result of flash flooding. We waited with crowds of people for hours waiting for the water to go down. People on foot with chickens in boxes, cabs bringing women home from shopping in town, kids on bikes, and tour buses all lined up to wait.
The rain finally stopped and a few hours later the river lowered. At first the big trucks crossed. Then the small trucks crossed. Finally we saw small cabs crass so we knew we could make it. We were relieved because we were sure the hotels in the town behind us were probably booked due to the flood. flood

The Tents and Camels

Us on camels in the rain

We were brought to the tents by a 4 wheel drive jeep. it took about an hour of driving off road thought the desert. We would occasionally see a sign in the middle of the desert noting the direction to certain towns or restaurants.

We arrived at a large set of tents in the middle of the desert. There was one building that housed restrooms and perhaps the kitchen. Someone brought us to a tent and indicated that this was where we were to stay. Language was a big barrier. we got settled in and wondered if there would be dinner. We wandered out and went to the main area and asked the person there "Couscous?". I had no idea how to speak French and they did not know English.

They sat us down at a table under another set of tents and poured us mint tea. They sat around us and tried to talk to us in broken Spanish and Arabic (more broken on my behalf, I have to admit). They then brought us warm bread, followed by soup. What a nice treat for a chilly, drizzly evening.

The soup was followed by couscous with gourds on top. We thought this was it, but then they brought out the Tajine. The Tajine was a slow cooked lamb with onion and tomato on top with a spicy sauce with a hint of cinnamon. The lamb was so tender it kept falling off of our forks. It was the best meal I ever had! They then brought us clementines for desert.

We excused ourselves to go to sleep for the night. Our tent had two cushions on the ground. The sandy ground was covered with rugs. We each had a pillow and they gave us extra blankets. When it rained hard outside, a mist came through the wool tent, but it did not bother us.

In the morning, we were woken up at 5:30 am and we got on the two camels that were waiting for us and we wandered out to the highest dune to watch for the sun rise. My camel was extra special because it had blue eyes.

We returned to the tents for a nice breakfast of eggs before we said our good byes. Because of the rain and the flood, we had the entire place to ourselves. It could not have been more magical than that.

Photo Gallery

Dunes and rainy skies

Tents in the desert

Bill entering our tent Kitchen area