Nomads of Morocco – Sahara Desert nomadic life

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Updated August 9, 2016 / João Leitão / 12 Comments / Filed in: / Reading time 3 minutes
Nomads of Morocco - Sahara Desert nomadic life

Nomads of Morocco – Sahara Desert nomadic life

Sahara Desert Nomads

Nomads of Morocco…

Most part of the Kingdom is desert.

Nomads can be found in most deserts of the world.

Nomad Encounters - Moroccan Sahara Desert

Nomad Encounters – Moroccan Sahara Desert

In the Moroccan Sahara Desert and in the Atlas Mountains, many people still maintain their peculiar nomadic tribe way of life.

• nomad

a. A member of a people or tribe who move from place to place to find pasture and food;
b. A person who continually moves from place to place; wanderer.

This impressive yet harsh lifestyle represents one of the most interesting and extraordinary aspects of Morocco.

In the desert tracks from Tafraoute Ait-Atta to Taouz, along the Algerian border, hundreds of families live in migrant pace, following their animals in search for food and water.

Goats in Sahara Desert with nomad tents on the background

Goats in Sahara Desert with nomad tents in the background

Being a nomad means that you will lead a non-sedentary way of life. You will have animals and you will follow them in order to get food and fresh water.

On the picture above you can notice dozens of black goats, the desert rocky mountains and the nomad camp.

Wherever there is food for their goats, sheep or dromedaries, they will set up their tents and stay for a while.

To be able to travel and explore this part of Morocco is amazing.

Tafraoute Ait-Atta nomads – Sahara Desert

Sahara Desert Nomad Tents with Solar Panel

Sahara Desert Nomad Tents with Solar Panel

Electricity is a basic need, and even nomad families in Sahara Desert have solar panels, in order to have a small lamp at night, to charge their cell phone or listen to some radio.

Sahara Desert Nomad Tents

Sahara Desert Nomad Tents

While living as a nomad in Sahara Desert, your life is simple. Most objects found on an authentic nomad camp are of great utility.

Nomad Food

Nomad Food

In this case, when I visited this nomad family, they offered me tea, dried dates, fresh cheese, goat milk, bread and oil made of boiled butter.

Water is very important for nomads

Water is very important for nomads

Water is the most important thing in the life of nomads. On the picture above you can notice several water containers used by the nomad family in order to sustain themselves. They told me that the nearest water well was about 2 hours walk from their camp.

Nomad Kitchen in the Desert

Nomad Kitchen in the Desert

This is how a kitchen from a Berber nomad camp looks like. Collecting wood is also important and extremely vital for the nomad survival. Basic kitchen utensils are used to cook and prepare food like meat tajine, fava bean soup and bread made in the oven.

Desert Lizard in the Moroccan Sahara

Desert Lizard in the Moroccan Sahara

Small desert lizard near the nomad camp in south Morocco.

Goat Cheese Drying in the Sun

Goat Cheese Drying in the Sun

During the season of great abundance of food for animals, goats produce a lot of milk. Cheese is then dried out in the sun in order to be preserved and carried away. Dried cheese lasts for a long period of time before being eaten. It is a perfect way of preserving dairy in the desert.

Sahara Desert landscape in Morocco

Sahara Desert landscape in Morocco

The beautiful landscape of Sahara Desert in southeast Morocco. From Tafraoute Ait-Atta until Erg Chebbi Dunes, the mix of sand and rocky mountains offer an outstanding scenery.

Nomad children playing near tent

Nomad children playing near tent

Somehow nomad children are always active, happy and ready for the daily tasks of taking care of the loose animals. Living with the basics makes them humble and encourages them to help each other and respect nature.

Nomad Women in Sahara Desert, Morocco

Nomad Women in Sahara Desert, Morocco

Erg Chebbi Dunes nomads – Sahara Desert

Camels in the Dunes

Camels in the Dunes

Inside Erg Chebbi Dunes there are a few nomad families that survive due to the presence of low height water wells. On the picture above you can notice some camels eating inside.

Nomad House in Erg Chebbi Dunes

Nomad House in Erg Chebbi Dunes

Instead of having tents, this specific nomad family have a portable house made of wood and canes, covered with blankets. This way of covering the shack prevents heat and light from going inside. You can notice the water containers.

Nomad Bedroom in Erg Chebbi Dunes

Nomad Bedroom in Erg Chebbi Dunes

This is the bedroom and living room together. Very simple way of life – but enough.

Nomad Kitchen in Erg Chebbi Dunes

Nomad Kitchen in Erg Chebbi Dunes

This is how a kitchen from a nomad family living in a oasis inside Erg Chebbi dunes looks like. You can notice the gas bottle with a Moroccan tajine where lunch is being prepared.

NOTE: A tajine or tagine is a Moroccan dish, named after the type of clay-pot in which it is cooked.
Camel and Tent in Sahara Desert

Camel and Tent in Sahara Desert

Camel near a tent. In fact, it is called dromedary because it only has one hump.

Nomad and camels in Erg Chebbi Dunes

Nomad and camels in Erg Chebbi Dunes

In Erg Chebbi Dunes, many camels run free while their owner follows them. Each camel can be worth from $700 up to $1600 dollars. There are nomads that own more than 200 camels.


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Posted by Nomad Revelations on Monday, 6 March 2017


Visual artist shares inspiring photos and exotic travel destinations. Adventure travel blogger with ideas and narratives to motivate independent travelers and audacious backpackers. Intense journeys into more than 126 countries around Africa, Antarctica, Asia, Europe, North America, South America and Oceania since 1999. Expat in Morocco - North Africa since 2007, polyglot and proud Lonely Planet Pathfinders blogger.

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12 Comments. Leave new

Mohamed Rachyd
April 1, 2017 7:54 pm

We have connections with different local nomad communities throughout the country, which allow us to provide unique experiences to our clients.
Our deep roots with the Berber people, the original inhabitants of Morocco, allow us to show our clients certain parts of Morocco reserved only for the locals.
Having more than 15 years of experience operating tours, we can guarantee a professional, courteous and friendly experience for our customers.

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Very interesting. I have a Facebook friend who is a nomad in the Sahara desert. I understand this better after seeing this.

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Nice information on Morocco.

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Photo essay style is great, keep it comin’ !

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Nice content about Moroccan Sahara. Nomad life in moroccan desert is very simple and based on traditional things. The important is you enjoyed your trip and you kept a beautiful memories. Second time try to visit the north of Morocco. It’s also great for sightseeing.

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Karmela, thank you for your message. I live in Morocco for almost 10 years. And I visited extensively the northern part of the country. Very beautiful indeed.

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What a lifestyle that would be! I love seeing this side of life out there, that would be something to experience.

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Indeed very different from what we’re used to! Thank you for your comment. Lovely website you have!

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Belíssimo trabalho – bem haja pela partilha

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Obrigado pelo comentário Benjamim – agradeço as suas palavras de apoio ao meu trabalho. Grande abraço da Tunísia!

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georgi henrion
April 27, 2015 9:08 am

Very good and informative article about the nomad life style in the Sahara. I loved my little trek in Merzouga last month….it was a glimpse into the beauty of the desert.

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Georgi, thank you so much for your words. Merzouga village region (Erg Chebbi Dunes) is an amazing place. I’m glad you had the pleasure of such a trip, indeed fulfilling. Did you get to know some nomads around the dunes? The lake last month still had water, did the flamingos arrive yet? What other places in Morocco did you go? Greetings from Ouarzazate!

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