I thought it would be nice to put together a little guide for what to wear in the Sahara desert if you were looking to go on a tour with a camel ride and night in the desert.
1. Lightweight jacket
It is recommended that you wear a lightweight jacket or windbreaker. It is not very cold during the day (can only speak for January/February) but it is good to have something to cover yourself whilst you’re in the sun.
We each bought a Baja Jerga which can be found anywhere in the souks of major towns. This is a jacket hand woven and made out of a tougher wool-like material. It is not meant to keep you very warm, but it was handy to have on as it had pockets and a hood. And it looked pretty dope and the local Moroccans somehow appreciated the fact that we had them on. We bought ours in the souks of Marrakech for around $30-35AUD each – and we definitely haggled on this price!
2. Comfortable pants
Riding a camel in the desert is quite painful. Your bottom will probably suffer after 30 minutes – and the novelty does die a little once this realisation hits. I therefore highly recommend wearing a pair of comfortable jeans, or flowy pants that allow enough air to circulate. I wore harem pants from with an elastic waistband, and this was very suitable. I also advise that you do not wear shorts, as the hairs of the camel can irritate the insides of your legs. To the boys – cargo pants or stretchy jeans would be a good option.
3. Boots or sneakers
Whilst you might opt for sandals because you think walking in the desert might be like walking on the beach – it is, in fact, a totally different experience. Wear shoes that will give you enough grip to mount sand dunes, and allow you to greet your camel without exposing your toes to camel droppings – because damn, do those creatures poo a lot.
4. Long sleeve shirt or t-shirt
A long sleeve shirt or comfortable tee can be used to layer under your jacket. Anything that is of a breathable material should be fine.
In terms of accessories, sunglasses will be a good option given that most camel rides across the desert occur during sunset, and the sun can be quite harsh. It is a nice to have – but not an essential.
This is also not essential, but it is highly recommended in case of a sandstorm. You can find a scarf at any local souk or market in town. Our tour guide helped us to wrap it on top of our heads, and the hanging piece was used to protect our eyes and mouth from the wind. We bought ours in Marrakech for approx. $15AUD each.
At night, it gets very cold. The temperature can drop down to around 5 degrees. For this I recommend a few essentials:
Unless your tour is providing you with a lot of blankets (which thankfully ours did) I would highly recommend wearing thermals. I hate the cold so I wore some extra warm thermals from Uniqlo (shameless plug, I used to work there) and that helped me retain most of my body warmth throughout the night. They’re an affordable option especially if you’re on a budget and cannot afford heavy-duty thermals from say, Kathmandu.
2. Heavyweight jacket or parka
A thicker jacket will be needed at night. We stargazed at night – so this came in handy for that because as soon as the sun went down it got quite chilly and the sand turned so cold. I wore my parka to bed as well, as my head was very cold and I used the hoodie to help retain warmth around my neck.
3. Thick socks
Pretty self-explanatory item – your extremities will get cold. And if you get cold feet easily, like me, these will definitely help keep your entire body warm!
Important things to pack on you:
1. Toilet paper
2. Hand sanitiser (running water is an issue in the desert)
3. Water bottle
5. Anti-diarrhoea medicine (highly recommend Travelan)
Last, of all – bring a backpack to carry all these items with you! You cannot carry everything with you into the desert, because the camels will not be able to hold that much weight. Of course – don’t forget your phone/camera, because the sunset and landscape is beyond beautiful.
Anyway, I hope you guys found this helpful! Next, I’m going to go over my Sahara Desert experience and do a review of the tour I went on 🙂