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When we spun that globe and landed on Morocco for our honeymoon (not the way you pick travel destinations? I highly recommend!), I wasn’t sure how it would be. While Morocco is on seemingly every traveler’s list, I just never thought too much about it. Morocco somehow seemed more exotic than exotic. With what seems like every cuture and language woven into their every day, Morocco is a lot to experience and explore. We weren’t sure if we were up for that kind of adventure for our honeymoon. Plus, there was the issue of it being Africa, a continent that seems incredibly daunting to visit.
Luckily, we researched the best places to go and I am beyond happy we followed through…even if we changed our itinerary countless times We ended on visiting Casablanca, Merzouga, Fes, and Chefchaouen. I highly recommend all but Casablanca…the honking…it gets to you after a day. Originally, because it takes so long to get to Merzouga, we were thinking of traveling to Ouarzazate, which looked absolutely beautiful. But, I became stubborn and needed to be in the REAL desert. Why go all the way to Africa and not visit the Sahara Desert (Merzouga is in the Erg Chebbi desert which is the tip of the iconic desert)! I am beyond happy that we decided to just bite the trek and get to where the real sand dunes are.
Erg Chebbi has the highest sand dunes in the desert, so even though it was the start of the desert and you weren’t absolutely surrounded by sand, it was pretty damn cool. We stayed at riad madhu and absolutely loved it. I picked it nearly for the sole perk of the pool overlooking the sandy peaks. The place was quiet (I mean, you’re in the middle of the desert….everything is quiet), the staff were super friendly, and our fancy suite was actually affordable!
Morocco is a very conservative country. That means covering up your arms and legs as a woman and dressing modestly. Check out my guide to dressing in Morocco as a woman, here. When it came to the desert, I couldn’t just ride around a camel with a long flowy dress and runners….seriously, scrap the footwear when you’re in the dunes. On one of our tours, I had on my sneakers and ended up going bare foot within seconds.
Seriously, what a dumb idea! Sneakers in sand!
When I was inside the beautiful riad, relaxing by the pool or enjoying the view from a hammock, my desert look was long flowy dresses, wraps, one-piece bathing suits and a floppy hat.
Come nighttime, I’d switch to jeans and a light sweater. While it isn’t beyond freezing once the sun sets, the desert gets COLD. One evening, my husband and I were laying out and looking at the clear sky full of stars. Which, was a pretty amazing moment spent in the friggin’ Sahara Desert. But…after a little while, you got cold. Like, shivering cold. Pack sweaters that will keep you looking chic and warm. And, if you don’t end up packing any, I highly suggest buying the entire store of Marwa once you arrive in Morocco.
During a tour of the sand dunes where we went 4x4ing and visited a berber camp and old runes, I wore a long dress, a wrap and sneakers. The only thing I’d change about a touring outfit would be the sneakers, as per my picture above. Sandals would’ve been a much smarter choice. The dress was light weight for the hot afternoon sun and the wrap kept my arms covered, both from the sun and for religious regions.
Our trek on camels to watch the sun set had me hemming and hawing on what to wear before we even left Canada. It was still beyond warm out, but I wanted to be respectful. I also knew it would get chilly once that sun went down. Yoga pants (camels are rough and not soft so anything thin or showing off bare legs is not a good idea), a tank top and a light sweatshirt worked perfectly. A scarf acted as a wrap when it was too hot for the sweater, and later, to protect my face from the blowing sand.
Packing list for the desert:
– life straw water bottle
– light scarf
– sunscreen – lots of it!
– yoga pants
– tank tops and/or tshirts to layer
– light sweatshirt(s)
– long dresses
– wraps/kimonos/light weight blanket scarves
– light sweater
– flip flops for walking around the riad
More on traveling Morocco