“ A hit and a miss at Scarabeo Camp Marrakech ”
Note: First and foremost I would like to point out (like I do on every post at the bottom of the page, if you get that far) that both mine and my partners stay at Scarabeo Camp Marrakech was complimentary in exchange for this review and some social media love (which you can see here). I sometimes feel that Instagrammers and bloggers or people that are compensated to write reviews for platforms (media/newspaper) think they have an obligation to make things sound fantastic when quite frankly they’re not. I find this to be infuriating and also misleading. I reached out to this camp after seeing a few friends and social media “influencers” (I hate that word) show totally picture perfect shots. So before I start, this is based on my own experience at Scarabeo Camp.
Scarabeo Camp Marrakech isn’t what it’s cracked up to be quite bluntly. It is exactly what it says on the website and should not be imagined, interpreted or assumed what it could be. On the website it’s referred to a ‘stone’ desert and that’s exactly what it is. It’s just baron land on the outskirts, an hour out of the Marrakech city. It is by no means a desert, there is no sand, no dunes, nothing.
Giving credit where credit is due, the staff at Scarabeo camp were very welcoming and pleasant during my stay. The camp also has a phenomenal view of the Atlas Mountains especially at sunset where it gives the baron land a perfect red hue towards the snow capped mountains (this is the only drawcard). If you are looking to sit and completely disconnect for a night this camp might be for you.
We were coming from our Riad in the middle of Marrakech. We were originally supposed to get picked up 1pm which was organised days in advance (so we could settle in, and do activities etc as we were only staying the one night. We were first informed that our transfer was getting pushed back at 12:40. So instead of exploring the Médina on our last day, we were packed and ready to go waiting at the Riad from 11am. Considering check out is normally around the midday mark. After we were told 20 minutes before our due departure, we were going to have to wait till 3, the time our driver would make his way to where we were staying due to a “shift in transfers”. We decided to go out and get lunch. We got back to the Riad at 2:50 and continued to patiently wait, it wasn’t until we emailed the camp again at nearly 3:30 to find out that the driver was at the wrong address. We eventually got picked up at 3:45 and got to the camp at 5.
There are roughly 30 tents scattered amongst the hill as well as an eating area that is scattered with rugs, antique looking suitcases, lanterns and furnishings which give it a very rustic, antique feel.
The tent we stayed in was quite big. It’s in between what I consider glamping (Masai Mara Safari Club) and just a normal camping set up.
It’s by no means ‘roughin it’ but it isn’t fancy. There’s 1 large room with a bed and some decoration and an off shoot which is the bathroom (toilet sink and “hot” hand shower, which didn’t run properly). Surprisingly, it did rain on our night there. It was a big down pour but luckily it didn’t last that long as the next morning the tent was wet in some areas.
The trinkets/carpets and antiques that do give the camp a ‘rustic’ feel to it, isn’t special or out of the ordinary as you can find this absolutely everywhere in Morocco.
Food & Beverage
Dinner was by candlelight with a guitar playing in the centre, (the guitarist singing was actually very good!). Basic starters followed by a tagine, rice and vegetables. The tagine flavours were nice but the meal came out cold – luke warm from the kitchen (I don’t know how this was possible as tanginess are cooked for normally over 3-5hours).
A nice, simple candle lit setting nonetheless but much improvement can be made with what I think would be some really simple fixes.
As we were late due to the transfer we were rushed. Scarabeo camp had organised a camel ride. I did not want to be rude and decline (seeing as we skipped the introductory Moroccan tea 30 minutes beforehand as I needed to get the promised deliverables completed before it turned dark). I didn’t want to insult them further but as soon as we started, I regretted it immediately. I do not approve of elephant riding in Thailand and so on and I know camels to these North African/Middle East nations are the same as what horses are to Europeans but I honestly haven’t seen a horse as distressed as this camel.
Thankfully the camel ride was literally only 10 minutes from camp (I think we might have just crossed over the kilometre mark which in itself is a bit lacklustre I think). Karma’s a bitch and when I got off the camel bit me.
There are dune buggy and other activities but we just didn’t have time.
- Sitting by camp fire with a incredible view of Atlas Mountains
- Dirty sheets
- Food was cold
- Lack lustre tent
- No hot water
- Not a desert
I’m happy that I did come to Scarabeo Camp Marrakech for a single night to say that I have been here, but I would never come back and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone based off my experience. But if it is on your bucket list, do it for one night only.