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About Zagora Desert Experience

Zagora known as the gate of the Sahara desert in Morocco sits at the foot of Anti-Atlas Mountains and on the shore of the Draa Valley in South Eastern Morocco. Zagor s allure is mainly attributed to the great Draa Valley, which is still a home for several of Berber tribes. Zagora means the mountain by the shore of Draa Valley overlooking the city. The ancient name of the town was Draa. Not until the 20th century was the town renamed as Zagoro although some Bedouins nearby still refer to the town as Draa in their daily conversations. Trade caravans passed through Zagora and the Draa Valley when coming from the sub-Saharan regions and headed to their final destination, Marrakech. Several Saadyin emperors governed Morocco between 1554 and 165, and paid much attention to the Draa Valley, establishing it as customers point for camel caravans making round trips to and from Tombouctou. This strategic position of Draa Valley has become a medium through which to collect legal fees generated by the trade, and has granted Morocco political advantages as well as socio-economic bonuses. Zagora and its surrrounding regions is gathers diferent ethnic communities, such us Amazigh tribes, and black African groups who emigrated from Sub-Saharan Africa, along with the Caravans. Arabs have also settled in Zagora, coming from Marrakech since the medieval times. Most of the people here live either as peasants in the oasis of Draa, or as workers in the tourism industry. Tourists from major European countries travel to Zagora to experience the camel ride and sleep in the sahara desert as it is the closest desert to Marrakech. The region still preserves numerous Kasbahs and old fortresses that mark bygone era. In addition, the Sahara desert landscapes of sand dunes and palmgroves are also worth discovering.

Best time to Visit the Moroccan Sahara desert:

The summer months between June and September can be brutally hot during the day, and not a lot of fun. Temperatures average around 115 Fahrenheit (45 C) during the summer and it's obviously dry as a bone. Nights in the desert do get much colder however and you'll need a good jacket even if you're sweltering during the day. During March and April you have a good chance of dealing with sandstorms as the Sirocco whips up. Best time to visit is from October to February.

Camel trek in Zagora:

In order to live like an ancient traveller in the desert, and appreciate the nomadic style, a camel ride in Zagora is a must do. This activity involves riding camels and walking for multiple days, while exploring the splendid desert atmosphere. The journey includes meals under savannah shadows and accommodation in a bivouac, or traditional night camp. Camel treks as well as drive trips are the experience of a lifetime for tourists, not only given the breathtaking sights but also the warm hospitality showed to them by the locals. Zagora desert is much more stark and rocky when compared to the othe sahara desert sites such us Erg chebbi dunes and Erg chegaga dunes

2 Days Zagora Sahara Desert with camel trek and a night stay in nomade tents:

Zagora desert tour highlights:
Zagora or the Gate to the Sahara is the last town before one reaches the heart of the Sahara Dunes of Tinfou, Erg lihoudi in Mhamid and Erg cheggaga Dunes. One of the tourist sights of Zagora is the sign that points Timbouktu 52 days - the time taken by the old camel caravans transported sugar, tea, dates, Hannah and other dry goods between these 2 trading spots.

Zagora, known for its sunsets and breathtaking draa valley, camel trek and overnight in a desert camp. Once you arrive to Zagora you will meet your camels to take you through the desert. After approximately one hour on camels, you will reach your desert camp,have dinner, play drumms with camel guids and spend the night in nomad traditional tents.

Here are some tips to a good camel trek:

The most important thing to pack is a scarf although you can also purchase one upon your arrival in Rissani the last town before the sahara desert of Merzouga. A scarf can be used to protect your face from the wind and sand, as well as be draped over your shoulders to protect you from the beating sun. Pack a small carry-on-sized backpack, and do not take more than you will need for one night, sunglasses, sun cream and ear plugs. You do not need laptop, cell phone or an array of high-tech gadgets,you will be in the middle of the desert. Don´t dress skirts (for girls) or shorts to keep your bare legs from rubbing against the camel´s saddle. There is a lot of movement involved and you do not want to get a saddle burn. Dress in layers to prepare for any temperature and top it off with your scarf. The best way to avoid sore legs the next day is to actually hold onto your handle bar rather than squeezing your legs together for balance during the entire ride. Place your camera around your neck, as it can be difficult to retrieve from your bag later on and dangerous to carry without a strap.

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