ONE NIGHT IN SCARABEO DESERT CAMP, STONE DESERT, MOROCCO
I've been soo excited to share with you our amazing Marrakech desert trip, as this was truly an amazing experience.
As you might know from previous posts, I just got back form a week's traveling in Marrakech, and wauw, this really is a city of its own. And although Marrakech is both intriguing and fascinating, you might need a break from the hustle and bustle that is constantly going on inside this city.
We somehow predicted that we might need a break from the hectic nature of Marrakech and found that a day trip to the nearby Agafay Desert would be just what we needed to properly unwind and enjoy a bit of nature.
So, prior to leaving for Marrakech, we did a bit of research and booked a night at the Scarabeo Desert Camp, located in the Agafay Desert, about only a 45 minutes' drive from Marrakech city centre.
We planned our itinerary so that we would have the first three days at Riad Le Clos Des Arts (read about our stay HERE), then a night at the Scarabeo Desert Camp and then come back to Marrakech and spend the last three nights at Riad Itrane (which you can read about very soon 😊).
We were picked up around noon by one of the Scarabeo staff. The camp is happy to arrange a transfer for you (for the price of 50 Euros or 500 Dirham), but if you want to drive yourself this of course is also an option, and perhaps also a slightly cheaper one...
We chose the pickup option for both convenience but also for safety matters. If possible, I can recommend you do the same. 😊
The drive to the Scarabeo Camp from the city centre was roughly 50 minutes, traffic included. For most of the ride, we drove through what basically looked like the middle of nowhere, yet we still saw little villages scattered around the area as we approached the camp.
At one point I almost thought I saw the tree climbing goats - yes, that is a thing i Morocco, but they appear apparently only on the way to Essaouira, the surfer paradise city. I was rather bummed out about this, as we were headed in the complete opposite direction, but luckily I had a camel ride in sight later that day, so it was OK after all. 😃
// Arriving to the camp. 😍
Oh, and yes, bear in mind that the Agafay Desert, where the Scarabeo Camp is located is NOT like the Sahara Desert; because the Agafay Desert is a stone desert, you won't find any golden, rolling sand dunes like those in the Sahara.
Despite this, depending on what you're looking for of course, you will still be able to enjoy a secluded and amazing desert experience complete with a stunning view of the Atlas Mountains in the background - as you see on the picture below. 😍
Upon arrival, we were met by the very friendly staff of the camp, who offered us a Moroccan mint tea - of course 😉 - and some sweets while waiting for our room.
At this point we had only seen a fraction of the camp, and it looked absolutely amazing.
// Waiting for (me to take pictures of 😉) our Moroccan tea and sweets. Sorry honey 😘
At this point in time on our trip, we had probably had more than fifty glasses of tea (the glasses are tiny her, but still 😃) and a h*** lot of accompanying sweets, but I will have to say that these were the best sweets I had had the ENTIRE trip. 😍
It might be the jaw-dropping view of the Atlas Mountains in the background that just make everything taste better, but whatever it was, they were just delicious. 😍
While waiting for our room, or tent as it is out here (although tent is a slight insult, since those aren't really tents like you would imagine them to), we took a look around the camp.
With less than 12 tents, that are all carefully placed so as to maximize privacy, you really get the feeling of being very far away from any big city.
// Tea spot in the desert. 🍵🌵🐫
// Sunbeds in the desert and Atlas Mountains in the background. 🌄😍
// Entrance to our tent.
I was beyond excited to see what it looked like on the inside. 😍
How cute is this??? 😍
As you see, the tent were decorated all Berber/Boho style with beautiful Moroccan carpets laid out to cover the floor.
Right to the entrance there was a small wardrobe with integrated charging station - however, as the camp didn't have wifi, which I really liked btw, we didn't actually need this - still a nice feature though. 😊
To the left of the entrance was a cozy fireplace, which later in the evening would be lit by the camp staff.
I love nature, and to me this was the perfect break from the busy city centre. 🙏
I can definitely recommend you arrange your trip like this if you're planning on visiting the desert while in Marrakech.
I was so excited when I found out that Martin had booked a camel ride for us. 😍
Especially after being deprived of the opportunity of seeing tree climbing goats earlier... haha.
I was soo excited for this ride, obviously. 😂 Plus, I got the sweetest and calmest camel you can imagine.
... although it doens't appear to be the case from picture, admitted. 😂
// View of the camp from the other side.
// Happy campers. 🐫
The camel ride was about an hour long, and the local man walk with you, whom you saw on the picture above. It was a very quiet and peaceful experience. Nature and animals simply have a calming effect on us humans.🙏
On the way back to the camp, we passed by these solar panels and found out that in fact the entire camp of Scarabeo is powered by these solar panels. Now, that is kinda cool!
After our camel ride, we decided to go for a walk in the surrounding area and hopefully get to watch sunset from the top of a hill.
As we got back from our sunset walk, we found or entire tent beautifully lit with living light candles.
// After sunset the entire camp is lit with candles.
When staying at Scarabeo Camp, you will have both breakfast and dinner included in your stay. Lunch is also an option, but we skipped that and just had a late breakfast the day after.
For dinner we had three courses. We started with a soup or selection of Moroccan salads. The main course was tagine with either beef, chicken or lamb served with a bowl of couscous, vegetables and fresh bread. This was undoubtedly the best tagine of our trip. 😍
Since netiher us drink wine - I know, shocking 😃 - I ordered an apple juice, which is THE best apple juice I have ever had - it was freshly squeezed and with foam just like when ordering a fresh orange juice. 😊 If you like apple juice, you'll have to order it if you go.
Genreally, the staff was discretive yet very attentive and are happy to cater to any special needs and requests.
Waking up to the pure air of a desert sunrise as well as the breathtaking view of the Atlas Mountains was surely one of those pinch-me moments.
As always, we decided to go for a small walk in the morning and arranged with the staff to have breakfast when we were back.
Although we were back around 12pm, and the breakfast was removed from the breakfast buffet tables, this was no problem and in no time, we were served this yummy breakfast:
This setup surely falls under the category of most spectacular ''breakfast with a view''. 😍
Camel ride is not the only activity you can do while staying at the Scarabeo Camp; quad biiking, yoga classes, massages or star-gazing are some of the things you can enjoy while there.
Unfortunately, we didn't have time for all of them, but I was definitely satisfied with the 36 hours we got to spent there. For us, it was enough to experience what staying in the desert entails plus we also got to wind down and unplug completely - just what we needed before heading back to Marrakech for our three last days.
// Ride back to the city.
I really hope you enjoyed this post and could use some tips and tricks for your (next) desert trip.
Safe travels. ✈