Instead of bumping along in a 4×4 for hours to get into the Moroccan Sahara, in-the-know Marrakchis take the short cut to the Agafay Luxury Camp in the Agafay stone desert. Located a mere 25 miles from Marrakesh, it feels like a million miles away, thanks to the great wall of Atlas Mountains framing a lunar landscape of stone dunes that seem to shift shape in the light.
It’s a sensational place to hike in winter or spring sunshine, or, as many do, simply sit out on the deck of your tent for a day or two, watching the clouds and contemplating the universe. At night, a professional astronomer with a serious telescope shows up to guide you through constellations that seem so close you could touch them.
Several billowing white canvas tents make up the Agafay Luxury Camp, each with a sturdy wood-framed bed piled high with snowy linen, writing desk and en suite eco bathroom (order hot water 20 minutes beforehand); dining tents serve impeccable Berber dishes and a library is well stocked with books and board games.
Astronomy, camel rides and parapenting are all available by arrangement too.