Half the fun is getting there!
There are 3 ways of getting of getting to the desert:
Firstly, the most popular method is by 4WD with one of our drivers. See Getting to the camp by 4WD.
Secondly, there is now a new commercial flight from Marrakech via Casablanca to Zagora. From Zagora it is 3 hours to the camp. See Commercial flights.
Thirdly, by helicopter of light aircraft. See By helicopter and light aircraft.
Getting to the camp by 4WD
It’s a spectacular trip—the drive is a reason in itself for visiting the desert. It’s an eclectic mix of mountain passes, lush valleys, Berber villages clinging to the mountain side, dilapidated kasbahs, palm groves and awe inspiring rock formations. It is simply an exciting voyage, as one travels through a myriad of landscapes from the frenetic activity of Marrakech to the calm and open vistas of the desert.
The trip to the desert is quite long, about 9 hours, but it should not be rushed. There’s a timelesness about the desert, and the trip should not be governed by the need to arrive anywhere at a specific time. For sure, one wants to arrive at the camp near sunset, but you don’t want to hurry either.
Ideally, the preferred itinerary, provided you have time, is to spend one night at a maison d’hôtes en route to the desert, three nights in the desert and then return to Marrakech in one day via Foum Zguid (this being a circular route). However, if you don’t have so much time available, you can either drive direct to the desert, or reduce the length of stay at the camp to two nights.
So, if you are going directly to the camp from Marrakech we suggest you depart as early as possible, about 07:00. If staying en route a departure sometime after breakfast is fine.
Most guests take a 4WD with driver, not only because it is more relaxing and informative, but also because the camp is difficult to find and the drive in the desert quite technical. However, it is also possible to self-drive as far as M’Hamid and rent from there a 4WD with driver. For those seeking adventure you can rent a 4WD in Marrakech and drive to the camp although you will require a guide from M’Hamid.
There is no specific itinerary, because everyone has different interests and wants to do things at a different pace. But, to give you some idea of the itinerary and sights, click the link below. Bon voyage!
Commercial flights to Zagora
Zagora is only three hours from the camp
Royal Air Maroc has just started commercial flights from Marrakech and Fez, via Casablanca, to Zagora.
The flights operate on Monday and Thursdays only. This option only works from Fez to Zagora as there are no decent connections from Zagora to Fez.
Times differ slightly for each flight, but as a general rule they operate according to the following schedule:
Because all the flights go via Casablanca, they are ideal for those arriving and departing from Casablanca, especially if you are on a trans-Atlantic flight from New York. Similarly, if flying from Europe you can fly to Casablanca (rather than Marrakech).
Whilst you can take a return flight to Zagora, most clients take a 4WD for the return journey.
More information is available on the Royal Air Maroc website, www.royalairmaroc.com
By helicopter and light aircraft
An alternative way of getting to the camp is to charter a helicopter or light aircraft.
The trips in both the helicopter and the light aircraft are amazing, with fantastic views of the Atlas Mountains, the lush valleys and the desert. The helicopter though, can only fly over the mountains in fine weather, which is about 80% of the time.
The helicopter can take up to 5 passengers. The journey from Marrakech to the camp takes one-and-a-half hours. The helicopter can land adjacent to the camp.
There are various light aircraft now available, ranging from twin-engined 7-, 10- or 18-seaters to single engine 4-seaters. The light aircraft can only land at Zagora, which is 3 hours from the camp.
The light aircraft can fly over the Atlas Mountains in any weather.
The helicopter costs about 6000 euro from Marrakech to the camp for a one-way trip. If returning within 24 hours the price is the same. To park the helicopter at the camp costs approx. 3000 euro per day.
The single engine light aircraft present the cheapest option. A return flight with a one-night layover costs 2700 euro. A one-way flight is about 2300 euro. The twin-engine flights costs approximately 5200 euro for a one-way trip and 8000 euro for a return flight with a one-night layover.
Please note that these prices are for indication purposes only.