“A tented eco-camp beyond the end of the road in the breathtaking Sahara Desert”
On arrival, dust yourself down, sip mint tea and try to take it all in: this is a small artisan camp in a sheltered spot amongst the dunes. Canvas, carpets, cushions and a welcoming campfire are matched with a Berber hospitality of bygone centuries. Here is the antithesis of polluted skies. Massive sand dunes deliver what you'd expect from the Sahara setting and sitting high up on a camel, you can't help feel intrepid. When the midday sun beat down, an excursion to the village of Ouled Driss to cool off in a hotel pool and visit an ancient Kasbah was especially welcome. Parts of this experience were like going back in time, and we couldn't help reminding ourselves at every turn that we were really there. Biblical.
- The extreme peace and magnificent star-filled skies
- Stunning camel rides across the dunes at sunset
- Comfortable glamping (proper beds, solar powered lights) with friendly Moroccan Berber hosts to look after you
- The spectacular journey there, and the sense of remoteness and adventure
- Not many other camps nearby - these dunes near M’hamid are lesser known than those near Merzouga
- You're in the wrong place if you're an agoraphobic, as this is a land of vast open spaces
- The desert can be a hostile environment: maintenance is a constant struggle so expect rustic rather than super-lux
- In some seasons, flies can be an annoyance, but they don't bite
- Tents, are beautifully furnished with comfy beds, but don't expect running water or air-con
- It takes a day or two to get there, but that's part of the experience
Best time to go
Our top tips
- Boutique desert camp
- Breakfast and dinner included
- All ages welcome
- Closed: 27 Nov 2020 - 31 Dec 2020
- Spa Treatments
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Beach Nearby
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
The 20 beautifully constructed canvas tents are arranged around a central campfire. There are 16 regular tents and 4 larger ones. A cut above basic camping, the sturdy double or twin beds are extremely comfortable with luxury linens, soft pillows and warm duvets to keep you cosy on chilly nights. Though furnishings are simple - there's a bedside table, solar-powered reading light and coat stand - the tents are spacious with good headroom and the décor touched our bohemian heartstrings with woollen cushions and woven carpets.
Each tent is equipped with a private ensuite bathroom area with buckets of water for hand-washing or a "Berber shower", plus bottled water for drinking. As there's no running water, it's a good idea to bring hand sanitizer gel or wet-wipes. Loos are wooden-seated but simple sand affairs which we soon got used to. A big part of the charm was the simplicity and the chance to switch off from the grid and get back to basics.
Considering the remote, desert location, we thought the standard of catering was very good. Fresh vegetables, fruit and meat are sourced from local suppliers and the chef works wonders turning the ingredients into a feast of Moroccan tagines or free-range 'camel burgers'. They can also cater well for those with special dietary requirements (just let them know in advance).
Meals are taken in the large communal tent. To kick off the day, breakfast is a spread of warm bread, Moroccan pancakes, yoghurt, eggs, juice, coffee and tea. Packed lunches can be provided to eat at camp or take off exploring. Our 3-course dinners, served at the table, included particularly tasty homemade soups, warming tagines and a sticky polenta cake for dessert.
Bottled water, mint tea and soft drinks are included in the price and available throughout the day. Alcohol - consisting of local red or white wine, or local beer - is brought in specially and must be ordered in advance. There's a solar-powered fridge on-site but don't expect drinks to be icy cold!
- Children's meals
- Communal dining
- Lunch by arrangement
- Room service
- Clamber over majestic dunes for incredible views across the Saharan plains
- Try your hand at sand-boarding down the steeper dunes by the camp
- Take a sunset camel trek across the dunes - we loved it and found the seating surprisingly comfortable. Local herders bring the camels to the camp - it takes them 3 hours on foot, so arrange in advance
- Huddle up around the campfire after dinner gazing up at the spectacular milky way while listening to nomadic drumming
- The desert village of Ksar Ouled Driss, nr M'hamid is within an hour's drive and well worth a visit for the ancient mud brick Kasbah, now a fascinating small museum. A weekly souk is attended by nomads from miles around and if you're too hot, you can cool off in a nearby hotel pool
- Visits to nomadic settlements can also be arranged
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Private guided tours
- Sand boarding
- Shopping / markets
- Traditional cultures
This can be a great adventure for older children, rather than babies or toddlers. Getting there gives one a real taste of travel and there's no shortage of space to roam around. Once there, the dunes are irresistable and camel rides a must. Staff were friendly and helpful whether it be to help them dress up in desert garb or showing them different beats on the bongo drums. Star gazing around the campfire gave our children a lasting memory. Tents can be made up into twins, or beds can be set up alongside parents if they get lonely.
Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)
Family friendly accommodation:
The 4 larger tents would be best suited to families. Each tent can be made up as a double, twin or triple. A family of 4-6 would sleep in 2 tents set up adjacent to each other.
Baby cots, extra beds, bottle warming
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
You can request kid-friendly dishes and dining times are flexible
Kids Activities on site:
- Sandboards (free to borrow), with dunes right next to the camp
- Superb camel treks; camels are brought to the camp by local guides
- Drumming - the friendly local Berber staff will show them how
- You're in a giant sand pit!
Kids Activities nearby:
- Visits to nomadic families, women's co-ops, ancient kasbahs
- If it gets too hot, there's a nice hotel pool you can use near M'hamid
Families Should Know:
Remember that you will be driving for extended periods of time to get there and back, but with a private driver, you can make quick stops any time your kids need it. It can get very hot during the day from May to September and there is no running water. You're out in the sticks here, but surprisingly we were able to get mobile reception.
- Airport: 260km (4-5 hours) Ouarzazate
- Medical clinic: 30km (40 minutes)
Hospital: 100km (1.5 hours)
- Shop: 30km (40 minutes)
Camp Adounia is deep in the southern Moroccan desert, about 8 hours' driving time south of Marrakech, 4 hours from Ouarzazate and 1.5 hours from Zagora, which is the nearest large town.
Ouarzazate (260km / 4 hrs) has a few domestic and international flights. Otherwise Marrakech (455km / 8 hrs).
Camp Adounia can arrange private 4x4 transfers with professional drivers, either from Marrakech (with optional overnight stay half way) or from Ouarzazate. Besides the driver, the Land Cruisers can comfortably seat either 3 adults, or 2 adults and 2 children; or, at a squeeze, 2 adults and 3 children (and minimal luggage). We recommend Aziz, an experienced English-speaking driver who drove us for 4 days (arranged through Camp Adounia).
If you want to hire your own car or jeep, see our car rental recommendations but note the last 40 minutes of the journey is off-road and requires a 4WD. The camp can arrange to meet you in the village of Tagounite (30km / 40 mins' drive) and transfer you to the camp, or guide you.
- Ouarzazate 260.0 km OZZ
- Marrakech 460.0 km RAK
- Beach 585.0 km
- Shops 30.0 km
- Restaurant 30.0 km