An hour’s drive from Marrakesh you will find a beautiful Luxury Camp, Agafay Luxury Camp located in Agafay Dessert.
There are several luxury camps, but I chose this one because it was the most appealing at the time of booking.
Get away from the hustle and bustle of Marrakesh and stay at this isolated camp. there is nothing else and it is an experience like no other to be in the middle of the dessert. I am pretty sure it is the furthest camp too. We drop past many and at one point I thought we were lost but we were not.
The Agafay Luxury Camp has 18 luxury tents and if you are thinking of visiting over peak periods make sure you book early.
The camp site has a pool with two sections, one that is shallow and one that is much deeper. They are currently constructing another one with a jacuzzi for when guests come during their off-peak season (colder months). The setting is just so beautiful, and you could easily spend a whole day lounging by the pool and taking in the views.
Children are allowed at the camp site. The supplement for children is around 12 euros.
We went middle of October and the wind was calm and sun was out. The Agafay desert is not full of sand, so you do not get that in your face. The evening was slightly chilly, and a light cardigan is sufficient.
The camp site has Wi-Fi which is strongest by the reception area. Don’t expect to get it in your room – you are in the middle of nowhere remember!
The camp can arrange transport for you, to and from the camp at a charge. We had a reliable transportation service that we used. See details at the end of the post.
During our stay the staff were all friendly and helpful. Where there were any delays with the service, staff were apologetic. On the days we were there, a well-known Moroccan Popstar, Nouaman Belaiachi was filming (check out his Instagram page to see some of the shots of the camp site). It was clear staff had added pressure with catering for him and his team. If we had a bit of notice on checking in, saying there may be some disruption, it would have been appreciated. We missed out on sitting around the campfire at night because they made that into a filming set.
We had 3 rooms, No3, No13 and No16. 3 is near the restaurant, 16 is sort of in the middle, 13 is secluded and the furthest and the one Kev & I picked.. There was nothing but dessert for miles (and I checked with the binoculars too).
The rooms/tents are clean and have big low beds. Material is draped around to hide all brick work giving it a really cosy safari lodge type feel. Each room comes with an outdoor bathtub and wooden deck with a seating area. The room are big and as standard sleep 3, 2 adults and 1 child. Having the outdoor bathtub is just paradise. Look at the views in the photos….
The room had a shower with a view of the dessert. There was also a toilet and big sink area.
Rooms have a log burner to put on during the cooler months in the desert.
As for amenities, all bed linen is provided, and towels are provided apart from bath towels. You have to ask for these. When I asked the receptionist why this was the case, she said they provide hand and face towels, and people use bath robes as their main towels.
Food & Drinks
All rates are bed and breakfast as standard and start from around 230 euros. You can choose the full board option too. At the point of checking, you can prebook a set dinner which is what we did. At the time of booking this was 25 euros each which was not a bad price.
During dinner you get bottles of water for the table and there are a couple of bottles in the room. All other drinks/food are chargeable, and not the cheapest, with small bottles of beer costing 7 euros and cocktails around 12euros. I sort of expected those prices though.
During dinner there is free entertainment. The locals put on a show by playing their traditional instruments and singing music.
Our menu had a selection of couscous, Tagine and Tanjia. The starters were good however the main meal was average and so was the dessert. The chicken tagine was dry and so were the chicken skewers. My mum had a vegetarian Tagine and that just had potatoes and carrots. For my nephews, the kids menu was either a beef or chicken dish. The chicken option was burger and it was average. They found it a bit dry. Maybe the more premium dinner menus were better?
Now we were in for a treat and compared to the dinner this was amazing. As soon as we sat down the staff kept on bringing out different dishes. It was a feast. Omelettes, olive breads, cakes, yoghurt and fruits – it was a lush spread. There is mint tea, coffee and juice guests can help themselves to. You can opt for A La Carte breakfast too – I am not sure how much that is. We were not given the option.
We were by the pool on our first day and had to have cocktails whilst taking in the views. They were made well and enjoyable. We enjoyed the French Martini’s and Agafay by night.
Things to do
Don’t worry, if you want to do more and have enough chill time, they have open air massages, quad bikes, camel rides and safari picnics. You can book these when you check in or beforehand.
There is also a beautiful colourful staircase you can climb for panoramic views of the dessert. They have seating area there too and at night it is lit up.
Room for improvement
There are some things that can be improved at the campsite. The first is water. After a hot sweaty day, you just want a good shower or a bath, but it takes a long while to get hot water, if it comes and the pressure is very low. Staff should just inform guests of this beforehand. My sister’s room (Room 3) barely had any water, and it was cold. Room 13 and 16 were fine.
If you have any walking difficulty let them know beforehand for a suitable room because the walk around the camp is a bit rugged and can be dangerous especially at night. The camels use the same path, and whilst in the daytime you can see where they have pooped, by night you cannot and are concentrating more on not falling over.
A few more recommendations /tips from our trip in Marrakech
- For transportable and any travel queries, I would recommend Moh from Marrakesh Holiday Consulting. He was recommended to me by my cousin and met our travel needs. Picking up from the airport, taking us where we wanted to, arranging a minibus for 8 of us and being prompt. He offers tours too and has English speaking drivers. I was unsure at first because everything was arranged via Watsapp however I had nothing to worry about because the service was great. His number is +212 6 61 22 44 61. His prices are competitive too.
- Marrakesh Dream was recommended for Hot Air Balloons, and we booked them via Viator for my parents. It was one of the cheapest and they had a great time. The communication was great, and they had the best mint tea after their ride too. Pick up and drop off is included and you get breakfast once you land, Morrocan style.
- Moroccan Dirhams are a closed currency which means you can only exchange money when you get there. We assumed we could use the left over Dirhams at the airport on duty free BUT you cannot which seems a bit strange to me. You can use it on local good and in cafes/restaurants. If you want to exchange it, do so before you go through security. Generally most places took pounds and euros for payment.
- We arrived at the Souks around 4pm and it was not that busy in terms of tourists. It was busy with locals and bikes. We didn’t get hassled that much whist walking around. As we were leaving, around 7pm, that is when the trade level picked up especially in the square (Jemaa el-Fna). As you have probably read every else, haggle the price on goods you buy because you never know what their markup is, even for fresh juice. If I go back to Marrakech (and I hope to return), I will stay in a Riad and if possible, the Four Seasons and go back and try the food on the square. Our tour guide said it is where you get the freshest food because the traders sell until they have finished their stock. They don’t take anything back.
- In the Souks I would recommend having a drink to get away from the hustle and bustle at one of the rooftop cafes. Nomad and Café des Epices are owned by the same company. We stopped for a drink around 545pm and Nomad was only serving dinner then so we went to Café Des Epices. It was the perfect time to get there. After 615pm it got busy (I am presuming everyone wanted to come and see the sunset over the square and have dinner too). The prices are very reasonable, and it is a lovely spot. They accepted card payments.
- I tried to prebook tickets for Jardin Majorelle but could not. We turned up around 2pm and it was quiet. We managed to get tickets straight away and walk around the gardens in an hour with no crowds. They are beautiful and entrance for the gardens only is 120 dirhams which is not a bad price. They have a cute YSL shop in there where you can buy postcards.
- As part of the trip, we stayed in an All-inclusive, Iberostar. Would I go back – probably not because I do not normally like all inclusive. We chose it because it was part of a package and for convenience. It wasn’t bad, it wasn’t the best. It was a good base for us, especially as we were 8 including 2 children.