Make the most of Morocco
For the "desert thing", my opinion is that Merzouga is your best starting point. It takes a while to get there, but it's worth it. You do NOT need to book yourself onto a dromedary tour of the dunes. Just stay in Merzouga and walk into the desert at your own leisure. This finger of the Sahara is small, and by heading up on the higher dunes, you'll always be able to find your way back to Merzouga. If you want to sleep in the desert, just bring a sleeping bag and find your own spot.
For mountains, I suggest Djebel el Kest, if you're quite fit. It's a good day's walk starting from Tafraoute. Take the bus or a taxi up the Ameln valley and get off at the turn to Tagdicht/Tagesdicht. Walk from there and back down. It's not difficult to find your way, there are cairns you can follow through the steep parts. You'll start your walk at about 900 meters above sea level, and the highest point is almost 2400 meters, so bring some warm clothes as the temperature will go down the higher you get.
If you're into really getting off the beaten path, head down the coast to the occupied Western Sahara and see the very, very basic living conditions there. And the luxury the UN personnel enjoy just next door, in Laayoune.
I've got some photos from my trip in Morocco that may give you some ideas/courage:
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