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GUIDEBOOK : Sahara Camel Ride

December 02, 1990|Steve Loring

Getting there: Fly direct to Casablanca or Marrakech from New York on Royal Air Maroc, with connections from Los Angeles via American and TWA. KLM, Air France and Iberia have flights that connect through Europe. As of Jan. 1, fares start at $927 round trip from Los Angeles for weekday departures, from $982 on weekends.

To get to Zagora, fly into Ouarzazate, which has connections from both Casablanca ($84 round trip) and Marrakech ($43) on Royal Air Maroc, the only airline that flies within Morocco. From Ouarzazate to Zagora, take a CTM bus (about $4) or, for an adventure, take a Grande Taxi across the Anti-Atlas Mountains (about $9). Zagora is about 100 miles southeast of Ouarzazate.

Where to stay: In Ouarzazate, stay at the Hotel Karam Palace, telephone 011-212-88-2522, about $65 for a double; Riad Salam Hotel, 011-212-88-2206, about $70 double, or Bellere hotel, 011-212-88-2803, about $65 double. Good food at all three.

In Zagora, stay at the Hotel Club Reda, a Western-style hotel, 011-212-88-2225; the Kasbah Asmaa, telephone 141 Zagora (call Casablanca through the international operator and ask to be connected to Zagora), or the La Fibule hotel, telephone 4 Zagora. Rates for all three are about $70 double. Good food at all three.

For the camel tour: My trip was set up by the owner of the Kasbah Asmaa hotel. Trips last from a half-day to more than a week for up to a dozen people. Camels travel 15 to 25 miles per day. Cost varies from $15 to $50 per day, depending on how well you bargain, and includes food, guides and camels.

Take a knapsack, sunscreen, toilet paper, water purifying tablets, sunglasses and light cotton long pants and long-sleeve shirts.

Also, warm clothes or sleeping bag for night. Leave luggage at your hotel.

For more information: Contact the Moroccan National Tourist Office, 421 N. Rodeo Drive, 2nd Floor, Beverly Hills 90210, (213) 271-8939.

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