We were fortunate to land $450 round-trip tickets from Salt Lake City to Morocco this May. Starting in Marrakech, we then traveled in a private 4×4 on a four-day desert tour with Camel Trekking Excursions. They took us southeast to the edges of the Sahara Desert and then back north to the amazing city of Fes, with plenty of incredible sights to take in along the way. Shokram! Britnee relaxes in our first riad, Riad Fleur d’Orient in Marrakech. Staying in riads was one of the highlights of our vacation to Morocco. Day 1, exploring around Marrakech with a stop at the beautiful Koutoubia Mosque. Britnee explores the Ben Youssef Madrasa in Marrakech, Morocco. Ben Youssef Madrasa in Marrakech, Morocco. Britnee at the Ben Youssef Madrasa. A stop at the stunning Ben Youssef Madrasa in Marrakech. The amount of detail in this place was mesmerizing. Wandering the souks of Marrakech. Wandering the souks of Marrakech. Wandering the souks of Marrakech. Chicken tagine with olives and lemon. Mark’s favorite treat in Morocco: mint tea! Finding our way back through the medina of Marrakech to our riad. The minaret of a mosque in Marrakech, Morocco. So many good faces to photograph in Morocco. But, be prepared to shoot from the hip, otherwise you’ll be paying for every photo. The hustle of Jemaa el-Fnaa in Marrakech. Street food in Jemaa el-Fnaa in Marrakech, Morocco. A quiet moment on the walk back from Jemaa el-Fnaa in Marrakech, Morocco. Making the drive up to Tizi n’Tichka pass in the High Atlas Mountains of Morocco. Incredible Aït Benhaddou on day one of our four day desert tour in Morocco. Incredible Aït Benhaddou on day one of our four-day desert tour in Morocco. A 5″ piece of rebar that punctured our tire after leaving Aït Benhaddou. Thankfully, it cost only about $4 to patch at a shop in Ouarzazate. Getting our tire patched at a shop in Ouarzazate. The famous Studios Atlas outside Ouarzazate, Morocco. Beautiful painted ceiling in the Kasbah Taourirt in Ouarzazate. Exploring the Kasbah Taourirt in Ouarzazate on day one of our four-day desert tour in Morocco. Somewhere after Skoura on the way to Boumalne Dades. Arriving in the beautiful Boumalne Dades after a long drive from Marrakech. The breathtaking Dades Gorge at sunset in Morocco. View from our hotel in Boumalne Dades or Tamellalt (I forget which) on night one of our four-day desert tour. The long desert road to Merzouga, Morocco. A stop along the way in the Todra Gorge. Kids coming down from the hills to the Todra Gorge. I think this is Tinghir at the mouth of the Todra Gorge in Morocco . Happy after selling us two turbans at her roadside shop on the way to Merzouga. A long, hot walk to school in the desert of Morocco. Caution, camel crossing. And there it is, a camel crossing. A massive herd of camels came to cross the road near Merzouga. A nuisance for locals, but a joy for us tourists. Herding camels on bicycle near Merzouga, Morocco. Sand drifts climb the walls of our hotel on the edge of the Erg Chebbi dunes in Morocco. Wandering mini dunes before the expedition the next day. A long way from anywhere, our hotel for the night at the edge of the Erg Chebbi dunes and a few miles from the Algerian border. A pool we dare not enter at our hotel on the edge of the dunes. “Jump like the Japanese,” we were instructed. Our great guides! A nomad tent in the middle of nowhere. On the drive back into Rissani, we were welcomed by a massive sandstorm. Wandering the local souk in Rissani, Morocco. Britnee gets some help with her turban as the worst of the sandstorm blows through Rissani. We arrived in Rissani just in time for the sandstorm to hit, making our exploration of the local souk even more out of this world. Once again, delicious mint tea with a lunch of Berber pizza! Into the Erg Chebbi dunes for the night. Our rides for the evening. Turns out, 1.5 hours on a camel is torture! I can’t imagine 52 days to Timbuktu. Britnee making smelly camel riding look good! Occasionally the knots would slip, leaving a few tourists stranded on their burping camels. We were happy to stop and dismount for an incredible view across the Erg Chebbi dunes as sunset approached. Camels in the distance in the Erg Chebbi dunes. Our wonderful guide who kept us all smiling as we toured through the Erg Chebbi dunes on camelback. We were planning for a spectacular sunset, but instead we got an even more impressive lightning storm over the Sahara desert. These turbans are no joke. You can’t live without one in the Sahara! Mounting back up, we put the storm to our back and headed for our camp for the night. I only wish we could have stopped at the top of a dune to photograph the distant lightning. Although, we barely made it to camp in time before the fierce winds picked up and once again blasted us with sand. Delicious chicken tagine and bread inside our mess tent as the rain and wind whipped the outside. After the storm passed, it was time to surround the fire for Berber singing and drumming. Up before first light to mount camels and climb the dunes for sunrise. Dismounting just in time for the first incredible colors to touch the sky at dawn. An unforgettable view of sunrise over the Sahara while visiting the Erg Chebbi dunes. Guide and Belgians enjoying the view. Hard to get this guy to stand still for a portrait! Britnee taking in the peaceful dunes at sunrise. One last leg back to the hotel where breakfast and much-needed showers were waiting. Such a dramatic contrast to our tent in the Sahara the night before, our riad in Fes was pretty much a palace. Such a dramatic contrast to our tent in the Sahara the night before, our riad in Fes was pretty much a palace. Such a dramatic contrast to our tent in the Sahara the night before, our riad in Fes was pretty much a palace. To the tanneries of Fes. A stunning sight and strong smell. To the tanneries of Fes. A stunning sight and strong smell. Wandering the maze of a medina in Fes. Beautiful details of the Bou Inania Madrasa in Fes, Morocco. Beautiful details of the Bou Inania Madrasa in Fes, Morocco. The Bou Inania Madrasa in Fes, Morocco. Bab Bou Jeloud in Fes, Morocco. The Royal Palace in Fes, Morocco. The Royal Palace in Fes, Morocco. Picked up a pair of slippers and a few photos of this gentleman in the medina in Fes. Picked up a pair of slippers and a few photos of this gentleman in the medina in Fes. Living in luxury in our riad in Fes. Hard to leave.