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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Camel Trekking in Sahara I

The Journey Begins.....



The top Sahara destinations are Merzouga (Erg Chebbi Dunes) M'hamid (Erg Chegaga Dunes) and Zagora (Dunes of Tinfo) but we chose to camel trek Erg Chebbi since it's supposed to be the easiest. It was about 7 hour-drive from Fes crossing the Middle Atlas with few stops for lunch and photography. As we approached Merzouga, we felt lost and empty, our vehicle drove through the barren landscape and the unpaved stony surface got real bumpy. No sign post was spotted and it would be impossible for us to survive this route without a guide.

We finally arrived at the edge of the dunes but we were slightly behind time. Most of the groups were busy organizing themselves. A man in blue robe and turban approached us and he was talking in a serious tone to Ahmed and Mostafa. Though I could not understand Berber, I could tell that Ali, our desert guide was complaining, we hurriedly load our bag packs, water and fire woods on our camels (dromedaries). Ali was busy preparing our camels and he insisted that we should be departing just before sunset.


My dear camel
I can't help the feeling of anxiety and fear of riding this animal for the first time but as the chemistry between us sparks :) the ride got better though uncomfortable. Ali kept reminding us to lean back whenever our camel descended the dunes or slopes. Riding a camel isn't that comfortable but doing something out of my comfort zone is a wonderful experience. As our camels trailed the edge of the sand dune craters, I closed my eyes...it felt like the camel's thin legs would collapse and I would tumble down deep into the sand crater!

In the vastness and stillness of the desert, only the footsteps of our camels were audible. To break the stillness, Ali chatted and thought us some Berber words and we got to know his culture and tradition. We stopped for a while to watch the beautiful sun vanished among the mountain of dunes. Under the stars and moonlight, Ali amazingly guided us into the darkness to our camp for the night....the desert must have been so familiar to him! Not too long, we arrived at the Berber camp. That night, it was a candle light dinner under the countless zillion of itnar (stars)...something I had never seen in my life.


Sunset in Sahara
Chicken Potatoes Tagine in the desert!
Our Hotel - The desert shelter

Beds laid on the golden sand
Our "fluorescent" lamp
Along the way

The wind engraved the sand
Ali Baba and the gang

The beauty is beyond words


3 comments:

  1. Great post and a new destination for trekking lovers.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Indeed, the camel trekking is something not to be missed when one is in Morocco.

    ReplyDelete