The Moroccan Sahara sees a spike in tourism in April—and with warm, sunny weather and several cultural festivals on the calendar, it's not difficult to see why. Visiting the desert at this time requires a bit of advance planning, but you'll enjoy comfortable temperatures that are ideal for trekking and camel rides. Learn more about what to expect with this monthly guide.

Weather

The Sahara Desert is a large region, occupying around one-third of Africa's land area. Needless to say, there's some weather variation across the desert, but in Morocco—the northwest corner of the Sahara—April is early spring. Expect sunny weather, with highs reaching 80 (but generally hovering in the lower 70s during the day) and lows in the 50s at night.

It's one of the windiest months in the region, and the occasional sandstorm isn't out of the question. But generally speaking, the weather is great—not too hot or too cold—prompting a boost in tourism numbers, especially as the weather is also agreeable elsewhere in Morocco at this time of the year.

For more, see our article on Morocco in April.

Crowds & Costs

Morocco sees a moderate spike in tourism in April, thanks, in part, to the moderate weather—especially in the Sahara, it's much nicer to visit before the heat of summer sets in. Note that tourism is up all over the country, not specifically in the desert, but many travelers book packages or itineraries that take them to destinations all over Morocco, so some popular hotels can be booked up weeks or even months ahead of time. If you have your heart set on certain tours and accommodations, it's best to plan as far ahead as you can manage. The same goes for flights and trains to get you where you're going. Be aware, as well, that the tourist numbers can mean slightly inflated prices. 

What To Do

Camp under the stars, explore the dunes on a camel, shop for crafts in desert villages—this is a great time of year for all kinds of outdoor activities in the Moroccan Sahara. It's a good time of year to go to the village of Merzouga, thanks to the music festival that takes place there, just as long as you plan ahead. From there, you can detour to the dunes of Erg Chebbi or the Dayet Srjii Salt Lake to see the rare sight of a flock of flamingos framed by the desert landscape.

Dayet Srjii Salt Lake near Mergouza
Dayet Srjii Salt Lake near Mergouza

Another special event that happens at this time of year (either in late March or early April—check ahead of time for specific dates) is the International Nomads Festival, taking place in and around the far-flung oasis village of M’Hamid El Ghizlane. With three days of celebration featuring music, art, and food, it's an event worth planning your visit around. As an added perk, a trip to the festival takes you off the tourist circuit path. From M'Hamid, you can go on a Jeep adventure to Erg Chigaga, a massive "sand sea." You can camp here, too—an unforgettable experience.

Events in April

dates vary - International World Music Festival of Merzouga A major music festival in the desert. The setting in the dunes of Erg Chebbi is magical. It sometimes takes place in March instead of April, so check ahead for specific dates.

mid-March to early April - International Nomads Festival This three-day festival, which takes place in the oasis village of M’Hamid El Ghizlane, celebrates the music, dance, crafts, and poetry of the Sahara's nomadic cultures. Check the website for exact dates: the festival usually happens in the latter half of March or early April.

dates vary - Marathon Des Sables (The Sand Marathon) - This ultra-marathon through the Sahara Desert has a different layout each year. If you're around at this time, you might see a stream of brave athletes passing through.

dates vary - Ramadan Muslim fast during the daylight hours, from dawn to sunset.

A runner crossing the Sahara during the Sand Marathon
A runner crossing the Sahara during the Sand Marathon

Visiting the Morrocan Sahara in April? Check out these itineraries.

Moroccan Highlights: Fes, the Sahara Desert, & Marrakech - 6 Days This whirlwind trip takes you to Morocco's top attractions, including Fes, the Sahara Desert, and Marrakech. 

Marrakech & Grand Tour of the Sahara Desert - 6 Days Explore the peaks of the High Atlas mountains and the vast sandy landscapes of the Sahara on this outdoorsy tour.  

Morocco's Imperial Cities & the Sahara Desert - 13 Days See Casablanca, Fes, Essaouira, the Erg Chebbi Dunes and more on this well-rounded trip plan.

The dunes of Erg Chebbi
The dunes of Erg Chebbi

More Helpful Information

Sahara Desert in March
Sahara Desert in May
How to Get to the Sahara Desert
4 Must-Visit Regions in Morocco's Desert
Getting Around Morocco