Agafay Desert – Hidden Gem of Marrakesh
The Agafay desert is located thirty kilometres south of Marrakesh. It offers perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. You can visit Agafay just for a few hours for a quad ride and lunch. Alternatively, like us, for a night say in one of the luxurious camps. Visiting this rocky desert is a good option if you would like the desert experience, but don’t have the time to travel all the way down to the south Moroccan border: the Western Sahara.
Glamping on Agafay Desert
Camping on a desert is a once-in-a-life-time experience and absolutely worth it.
It was a highlight of our 5 days trip to Marrakesh and we highly recommend it.
We chose Inara Camp basing our decision mostly on other people’s opinions, pictures and availability. There are some very good camps on Agafay Desert. However they offer only few tents, therefore are mostly sold out weeks in advance.
We are extremely happy to have chosen Inara Camp and would go back there in a heartbeat.
We were warmly welcomed at our arrival and lead to an incredible tent with panoramic view over the deserts landscape.
Our tent was a dream. The design and decor with style reminded us of the Indiana Jones movies. The tent was perfectly comfortable. It had a private bathroom and living room with fire place. The bedroom with double bed was facing the panoramic window (foldable and zipable). It also had AC for those wanting to keep cool during hot, dry, desert days. However we decided to keep it off. To save the energy and to enjoy the place as it comes.
After resting a bit with a cup of freshly brewed mint tea, we went for a walk to explore the surroundings.
Exploring the desert
After just 10 minutes walking, we came across a herd of sheep and goats and encountered very kind shepherds. They let us take pictures with their animals, and even let me hold a baby goat! ?Later they invited us into the barn and offered fresh goat milk and some bread. We stayed talking to them for a while. Before saying goodbye, we received an invitation for the following morning to come and watch the goat shaving. This unexpected and incredibly warm encounter made the whole stay simply incredible.
The sunset we have watched from one of the high dunes/hill was magical. We watched the sun set, before heading back to the camp for dinner.
The food served for the meal was one of the best we had in Morocco. The beef taijine (vegetarian options are available upon previous request) and vegetables were insanely good, slow cooked delicacy. We enjoyed this romantic setting accompanied by sounds made by scarabs. Scarabs are Agafay’s representative insects (completely harmless, even if pretty bigg and noisy).
We had a night of deep sleep and woke up to beautiful light and incredible views.
We then headed back to the barn, and discovered that the herd had grown by an additional tiny baby goat. It was born that same morning. We saw goats being shaved with old pair of scissors as the shepherds couldn’t afford an electronic razor. Hamilton helped with the shaving and I held the sheep down. What an experience!
An other unforgettable adventure was the quad ride on the rocky desert. We had so much fun riding up and down the hills, passing through dry out canyons and speeding through this incredible landscape.
When our taxi arrived at midday, we were indescribably sorry to leave.
The cost of one night luxury camp experience on Agafay Desert
One night in a tent costs 280 EUR. It includes dinner and breakfast. The price is for 2 people. (Inara Camp)
Alcoholic drinks (wine for dinner) and transportation from and back to Marrakesh are excluded.
The negative part of staying in desert camps, is that anything extra comes with a high price. For example, the camps offer transportation at extra charge, but it is unfairly expensive: 50 EUR each way.
↬ TIP : We took a ‘big taxi’ from Marrakesh (small taxies are only allowed to drive within the city) to Agafay Desert. The driver asked for 20 EUR so we didn’t even have to bargain. We also immediately asked him if he would come back the day after to pick us up- and he happily accepted. We ended up giving him 5 EUR extra each way as we felt it was right. In the end, we saved 50 EUR just on transportation thanks to that. As a possible extra tip, we believe that the grand taxis from this spot should give lower prices. This is the main station of Marrakesh for big taxis. As they are waiting probably for hours for their turn to get the next customer, we don’t think that they are giving high prices as they just want to finally work!
The quad ride is also extremely expensive- 90 EUR for 2h single quad or 145 EUR for 2h double quad. For less than this you can come from Marrakesh and have lunch included.
In the middle of the desert, is a surprising oasis called the enchanted oasis. It’s a haven of peace and tranquility, where the fauna and flora can develop. In this paradise, frogs and turtles live peacefully, surrounded by water and rocks.
Lost in the dunes are still some Berber villages that continue to exist in this harsh, but sublime nature.
Agafay Desert as a day trip
Another option to experience Agafay Desert is a day trip from Marrakesh. You can come just for the quad ride and lunch. Like this you will get to see this breathtaking scenery and take a break from hustle of Marrakesh.
It’s the easier, budget- friendly option.
Approximately 7 hours from 9AM to 4PM
From 50 EUR up to 80 EUR including transportation from and to Marrakesh, quad ride and lunch
Camps on Agafay Desert:
Indiana Jones style camp where we spent a night.
Extra points for the barn located just few minutes walking where we met the friendly locals.
↬ Find Inara Camp on booking.com
The most instagramable of all camps- mostly booked out. Set against an elegant and simple backdrop, gives the impression of being on an expedition from another time.
A desert oasis offering an authentically earthy experience. It’s the only camp with a swimming pool.
A true haven of peace re-born from a ruined house on a desert. A sort of an end-of-the-world location carefully preserved for true wild nature lovers. In La Pause you can stay either in the guest house, or in a tent.