Merzouga Desert and Zagora Desert are two of the most popular desert destinations in Morocco. While they might be similar in many ways, they still have different and distinct characteristics that make each one of them unique in their own way. We are here to point out and clarify some differences briefly.
Merzouga Desert is located in the southeastern part of Morocco near the cities of Errachidia and Erfoud. It is part of the larger Sahara Desert. On the other hand, the Zagora Desert is situated in the southern part of Morocco. It is closer to the cities of Ouarzazate & Zagora. It has a unique vibe, and a number of travelers go there to relax, explore and enjoy a purely desert experience in Morocco.
With regards to the size of the following deserts, Merzouga Sahara Desert is larger in terms of both area and dunes. It is famous worldwide for its massive golden sand dunes that can reach heights of up to 150 meters (500 feet). Zagora Desert, while still beautiful, has smaller dunes compared to Merzouga and is less popular compared to Merzouga desert.
Merzouga Desert is relatively more accessible than the Zagora Desert. It is located closer to the main roads to major cities like Marrakech and Fes, Ouarzazate & Agadir, which makes it easier for visitors to reach. Zagora Desert, however, requires a long journey and more planning to reach, given its location in the far south of Morocco and the long off-road trail.
Both Merzouga and Zagora offer unique desert experiences, but they differ in certain things. Merzouga is famous for its spectacular Erg Chebbi sand dunes, which are among the largest in Morocco. It provides a unique Saharan experience with vast spaces, camel trekking, and night stays in desert camps in the heart of the Sahara Desert.
Zagora Desert, despite the fact that it is a bit smaller, still offers an enchanting desert experience. It is also diverse, in that there is a mix of sand dunes and rocky desert landscapes. Zagora is known for its amazing sunsets and the Draa Valley, with its palm groves and ancient kasbahs along the way
Merzouga Desert has a more developed tourism infrastructure compared to Zagora. As a popular tourist destination, it offers a wide range of accommodations, including luxury desert camps, guesthouses, and hotels. Zagora, while popular, too, has a more different atmosphere and a lesser number of accommodation options available, perhaps because of the fact that it is far from the main national roads.
All in all, though Merzouga Desert offers a unique experience in the Sahara Desert that is much better than the Zagora Desert, given its closeness and accessibility, both remain unique in their own way and are a must-see once one visits Morocco.