00 212 6 41 92 41 92
marrakech to merzouga

How to Get to Merzouga from Morocco

Ultimate Guide: How to Get to Merzouga from Morocco (Marrakesh to Merzouga Transport)

Merzouga, a remote desert village in southeastern Morocco, is famous for its stunning Erg Chebbi dunes and incredible Saharan experiences. While getting to this isolated destination requires some extra planning, the journey is well worth the effort. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore all the options for travelling from Marrakesh to Merzouga, along with insider tips to ensure a smooth and memorable adventure.

Self-Drive Road Trip from Marrakesh to Merzouga

For independent travelers seeking flexibility, a self-drive road trip from Marrakesh to Merzouga can be an exhilarating experience. The total distance is around 560 km (348 miles), and the journey typically takes 7-8 hours, depending on your pace and stops.

Route and Highlights

The most straightforward route is to take the N9 highway east from Marrakesh, passing through the High Atlas Mountains and towns like Ait Benhaddou and Ouarzazate. From there, you’ll continue on the N10 towards Errachidia and Rissani before reaching Merzouga.

Along the way, you can stop to admire the stunning Todra and Dades Gorges, explore the ancient Kasbah of Ait Benhaddou (a UNESCO World Heritage site), and even detour to the lush Ziz Valley. The scenery shifts from mountain landscapes to arid deserts as you approach Merzouga.

Pro Tip: Consider breaking up the journey with an overnight stay in Ouarzazate or one of the picturesque gorge towns. This will allow you to fully appreciate the changing landscapes and avoid fatigue from driving long hours.

Renting a Car and Driving Tips

Renting a car in Morocco is generally straightforward, with international companies like Hertz, Avis, and Europcar available in major cities. However, it’s crucial to ensure you have the proper insurance coverage and a good GPS system or offline maps.

Moroccan roads can be challenging, with occasional potholes and wandering livestock, so defensive driving is essential. It’s also advisable to avoid driving at night, especially in remote desert areas.

“Driving in Morocco requires patience and vigilance, but the rewards of freedom and flexibility make it worthwhile for many travelers.” – Lonely Planet

If you’re not comfortable navigating the desert roads yourself, consider hiring a local driver or guide, which many rental companies can arrange.

Useful Tip: Carry spare fuel, water, and basic vehicle recovery equipment (e.g., tow rope, shovel) in case of emergencies on remote desert routes.

Hassle-Free Marrakesh to Merzouga Tours

For those seeking a hassle-free experience, joining an organized tour from Marrakesh to Merzouga is a convenient option. These tours typically include comfortable transportation, knowledgeable guides, and pre-arranged accommodations and activities.

Top Tour Companies and Itineraries

Some reputable tour companies offering Marrakesh to Merzouga trips include:

  • Marrakech Desert Trips: Offers 2-day, 3-day, and longer tours with options for camping, luxury desert stays, and activities like dune bashing and camel trekking.
  • Morocco Exploration: Specializes in private and small-group tours, with itineraries ranging from 3 to 7 days, including visits to kasbahs, gorges, and desert villages.
  • Viator: Features a wide range of Marrakesh to Merzouga tours from various local operators, with user reviews to help you choose.

While more expensive than independent travel, tours provide a stress-free way to experience the desert, with knowledgeable guides to enhance your understanding of the culture and landscapes.

Case Study: Sarah and John, a couple from the UK, opted for a 4-day tour with Morocco Exploration. “Our guide, Mohammed, was incredibly knowledgeable and made sure we saw all the highlights along the way, from the Dades Gorge to our unforgettable night camping in the dunes. We learned so much about Berber culture and felt completely taken care of every step of the way.”

Budget Way – Buses and Grands Taxis from Marrakesh to Merzouga

For budget-conscious travelers, public transportation is an option for getting from Marrakesh to Merzouga, although it requires more effort and time.

Public Buses

Unfortunately, there are no direct buses from Marrakesh to Merzouga. The most common route involves taking a bus or grand taxi to Errachidia or Rissani, then transferring to a petit taxi or another grand taxi for the final leg to Merzouga.

Major bus companies like CTM and Supratours operate routes from Marrakesh to Errachidia, with journey times ranging from 8 to 10 hours, depending on connections. Fares are relatively inexpensive, typically around 150-200 Moroccan dirhams (roughly $15-20 USD) for a one-way ticket.

Bus Company Route Duration Cost (Approx.)
CTM Marrakesh – Errachidia 8-9 hours 180 MAD ($18 USD)
Supratours Marrakesh – Errachidia 9-10 hours 160 MAD ($16 USD)

Insider Tip: Purchase bus tickets in advance, especially during peak travel seasons, to secure your seat and avoid sold-out buses.

Grand Taxis

An alternative to buses is to take a grand taxi (shared taxi) from Marrakesh. These can be more expensive than buses but offer a more direct route and potentially faster travel times.

Grand taxis typically carry up to 6 passengers and can be hired for the entire journey or for shorter legs. Prices from Marrakesh to Merzouga can range from 700-1000 Moroccan dirhams ($70-100 USD), but can be shared among passengers to reduce costs.

Haggling is expected when arranging grand taxis, and it’s advisable to agree on the full fare before departing. Additionally, grand taxis may not have air conditioning, so be prepared for a potentially hot and dusty ride.

“Taking a grand taxi is an adventure in itself – you’ll share the journey with locals, practice your bargaining skills, and get an authentic taste of Moroccan transportation.” – Wanderlust Travel Magazine

Luxury Private Transfers – Marrakesh to Merzouga

For those seeking the utmost comfort and convenience, private transfers from Marrakesh to Merzouga offer a luxury experience, albeit at a premium price.

Private Transfer Companies

Several companies specialize in private vehicle transfers between Marrakesh and Merzouga, such as:

  • Riad Merzouga: Offers private 4×4 transfers with English-speaking drivers, starting from around €300 (approximately $325 USD) for up to 4 passengers.
  • Travel Explore Morocco: Provides various vehicle options, including luxury minivans and SUVs, with prices starting from €250 ($270 USD) for up to 6 passengers.
  • Marrakech Airport Transfers: In addition to airport transfers, they offer private Marrakesh to Merzouga transfers in modern, air-conditioned vehicles.

While substantially more expensive than other options, private transfers provide a seamless, door-to-door experience without the hassle of navigating public transportation or worrying about driving conditions.

Customer Review: “We booked a private transfer with Riad Merzouga for our family of four, and it was worth every penny. The driver was courteous, the vehicle was comfortable, and we could stop whenever we wanted for photos or breaks. It made the long journey to Merzouga truly enjoyable.” – Jessica T., USA

Other Airport Transfer Options

For those flying into the region, Errachidia Airport (located around 100 km from Merzouga) offers another transfer option. Airlines like Royal Air Maroc, Air Arabia, and Ryanair operate flights from Casablanca and other major cities.

From Errachidia Airport, you can arrange a private transfer or take a petit taxi to Merzouga, with the journey taking around 1.5-2 hours.

Alternatively, you can fly into Marrakesh Menara Airport and then use one of the transportation options outlined above to reach Merzouga.

What is the Cheapest/Fastest Way from Marrakesh to Merzouga?

When it comes to the cheapest way to get from Marrakesh to Merzouga, taking public buses or a shared grand taxi is likely the most budget-friendly option, with costs ranging from around $15-30 USD per person one-way.

However, this method can be time-consuming, with total journey times of 10 hours or more, depending on connections and transfers.

For the fastest way to reach Merzouga from Marrakesh, a private transfer or self-drive road trip is your best bet, with travel times of around 7-8 hours door-to-door.

Of course, these options come with a higher price tag, with private transfers costing upwards of $300 USD and rental cars ranging from $30-100 USD per day, plus fuel and other expenses.

Ultimately, your choice will depend on your budget, time constraints, and travel preferences.

Balancing Cost and Time:

  • Cheapest: Public bus or shared grand taxi ($15-30 USD per person, 10+ hours)
  • Fastest: Private transfer or self-drive ($300+ USD, 7-8 hours)
  • Middle Ground: Joining a tour (around $100-300 USD per person, 8-10 hours including stops)

Top Activities and Accommodation in Merzouga

Once you’ve arrived in Merzouga, a world of incredible desert experiences awaits. Some of the top activities and tours include:

  • Camel Trekking and Overnight Desert Camping: Embark on a traditional camel trek across the dunes, followed by a night under the starry skies in a Berber-style tent camp. Many operators offer this quintessential Merzouga experience, with prices ranging from $50-150 USD per person, depending on the level of luxury.
  • Sandboarding or Quad Biking: Get your adrenaline pumping by sandboarding down the massive dunes or exploring the desert on a quad bike tour. Prices typically start around $30-50 USD for a couple of hours of adventure.
  • Visiting Traditional Berber Villages: Step back in time by exploring the mud-brick villages and learning about the Berber way of life from local guides. Many tours combine village visits with other desert experiences.
  • Hot Air Balloon Rides: For a truly memorable experience, take to the skies in a hot air balloon at sunrise or sunset for breathtaking views of the dunes and desert landscapes. Expect to pay around $200-300 USD for this luxury adventure.
  • Stargazing Tours: With minimal light pollution, Merzouga offers some of the best stargazing opportunities in Morocco. Guided tours with expert astronomers will help you appreciate the clear desert night skies, often combined with a traditional Berber musical performance. Prices start around $30-50 USD per person.

As for accommodation, Merzouga offers a range of options to suit different budgets and preferences:

  • Luxury Riads and Kasbahs: For an authentic yet upscale experience, consider staying in a traditional Moroccan riad or kasbah, many of which feature beautiful courtyards, pools, and exceptional service. Expect to pay $150-400 USD per night for top-end properties.
  • Desert Luxury Camps: Embrace the desert ambiance by staying in a luxury tented camp, complete with comfortable beds, ensuite bathrooms, and stunning dune views. Prices typically range from $100-300 USD per night, depending on the level of luxury.
  • Budget Hotels and Hostels: For those on a tighter budget, Merzouga has several basic hotels and hostels, offering simple but clean accommodations for around $20-50 USD per night.

No matter where you stay or what activities you choose, the Merzouga desert is sure to leave you with unforgettable memories.


Getting to Merzouga from Marrakesh requires some planning, but the journey is well worth the effort for the incredible desert experiences that await. Whether you opt for a self-drive adventure, join an organized tour, navigate public transportation, or splurge on a private transfer, this guide has provided all the information you need to plan your perfect trip from Marrakesh to Merzouga.

So, pack your sense of adventure, and get ready to explore the stunning Saharan landscapes and rich cultural tapestry of this remote Moroccan destination. The dunes of Merzouga are calling!

Marrakech Sahara Trips
error: Content is protected !!
Open chat
Can we help you?