This is it: summertime in the Sahara. Of course, the desert is huge, sweeping across ten African countries and occupying one-third of the continent, so weather conditions vary. In Morocco, the desert's northwest section, August is the hottest time of the year. Expect highs in the low 100s and lows in the upper 70s to low 80s. There's hardly a break from the sweltering sun, except for overnight. Plan excursions accordingly, remember to drink plenty of water and wear light-colored, layered clothing to minimize sun damage and dehydration.
For more information, see our article on Morocco in August.
Crowds & Costs
August is a challenging time to visit the Moroccan Sahara. The weather isn't favorable and crowds are sizeable all over the country, thanks to summer vacation in the US and Europe. Many international visitors steer clear of the desert at this time of the year, for obvious reasons, so you're not likely to see as many crowds in the Sahara as you would in coastal cities, mountain villages, and major cities like Marrakech or Fes.
But because many travelers visit Morocco on package vacations that include stops at various destinations, the Sahara does see an uptick in tourism at this time of year. Plan to pay more than you would during the shoulder seasons—and reserve tours and hotels well ahead of time.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
What To Do
Get up early and stay up late—and plan to rest in the shade in the middle of the day. This rule of thumb applies to any activity you want to do in the Moroccan Sahara in August, from camel rides on the dunes to trekking to shopping in markets in desert towns. It's important to plan your time wisely to avoid the hottest part of the day. If you plan to visit the dunes of Erg Chebbi, stay overnight in Erfoud or Merzouga so you can get an early start on a morning tour. Same with the dunes of Erg Chigaga: stay in Zagora so you can be up before dawn and take advantage of the cooler weather early in the day.
So what's there to do during the hottest afternoons of the year? Relax by the hotel pool—remember that many accommodations in Morocco do not have air conditioning—or stay in shaded places, like the covered portions of the Rissani market, where locals shop for fruits and spices. After nightfall, stargazing is one of the best activities the desert has to offer.
Visiting the Morrocan Sahara in August? 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.