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Many people think that this desert is located close to Marrakech, but that is not the case. Marrakech is actually around 600 km from the Erg Chebbi dunes and 360 km from Zagora. Fez is much further away – around 670 km from Zagora and 470 km from Merzouga. The drive can take up to two days if you stop at the villages along the route, but exploring these places makes it a more pleasant experience. Some of these spectacular stops include Dades Gorges, Valley of Roses, Ait Ben Haddou, and Todra Gorge Draa – they certainly make the trip worthwhile!
This is not a myth – you need to take a lot of water if you are visiting the desert! Even if you are not someone who drinks too much water normally, you absolutely must make the effort to keep yourself hydrated here. If you are walking through the Sahara, or even just riding a camel, it is very likely that the sun will cause your body to sweat and lose a lot of its water, which is why keeping water on you or in the car is compulsory.
Most cacti are poisonous, so you must be careful and not get too close to them as they are likely to have poisonous spikes that can give you a skin infection. That would be the last thing you’d want during your trip to the desert, especially since you’ll be dealing with the heat already. Although these plants look very attractive and have delicious fruit, it’s better to observe them from a distance!
Remember that you are not going to visit a city, like Marrakech or Fez… you are going into the Sahara, a desert full of sand and wind. It’s hot during the day and unexpectedly cold at night. To avoid dehydration and excessive sweating, dress in lightweight garments, preferably light-coloured so they don’t absorb too much heat. Don’t forget your hat and scarf and try to cover your head and face as much as possible to avoid heatstroke.
The best times to visit the Sahara Desert are the months of May and October, when temperatures are milder. During the winter (December and January), freezing temperatures that are hard to sleep through are often recorded, while sandstorms are alarmingly frequent between January and May. The worst time to visit the Sahara is, of course, the summer (June to September), when temperatures reach dangerous heights and the heat is almost physically unbearable.