Venturing into the Sahara

Marrakech is notoriously hectic.  The narrow streets bustle with people, cars, motorbikes, and donkeys pulling carts.  Vendors shout at you, children ask for the food from your hands, and it quickly becomes overwhelming.  So after a few days in the city, we were ready to get out and see more of Morocco.

At 7AM sharp, Mohammed picked us up in a Land Cruiser. We climbed in and headed East.  Here’s my photo journal from the beautiful and vastly different geographies we saw.

Sahara 3 Sahara 1 Sahara 4 Sahara 2 Sahara 6 Sahara 5 Sahara 7

We stopped for lunch and a tour in Ouzzarte, which is an ancient Berber village (and frequent movie set for films like Gladiator and an episode of Game of Thrones).  The whole thing is built from bricks made of clay and straw.  It’s remarkable how well it’s stood the test of time.

Sahara 8Sahara 9Sahara 10After lunch we continued East until we reached Zagora, where we pulled off the road for this parked pack of camels.  We stepped out of the car, grabbed our bags, and hopped aboard.

Sahara 11Climbing on was pretty easy, but when they start to stand up, it’s ABSOLUTELY TERRIFYING.  See that face?  Pure fear.  Twenty years of horseback riding did not prepare me for this.  They pitch forward, then rock wayyyy back before coming to all four feet.

Sahara 12Until I was on one, I didn’t realize how enormous camels are.  Mine’s name translated to “The Big One” and it was very fitting.  Sitting right atop the hump, I was probably 10 feet in the air.  And camel rides are not the smoothest.  Just ask my sore groin.Sahara 17

Sahara 13 Sahara 15Sahara 16Eventually we reached our Berber camp for the evening. The Berber people are a traditionally nomadic group and I learned a lot about them on this tour.  Like I learned that Hope Chests were used to present dowries, and the purpose of the chest was because each man offered his best and the chest concealed it so that other people couldn’t see and compare.  Isn’t that a nice idea?  Quite opposite of today’s engagement rings, eh?

Sahara 18Perhaps the biggest thing I learned is that I’m not cut out for nomadic life.  It was over 100 degrees (the car thermostat topped out at 40°C) and after just a few minutes, I had sand places I didn’t even know I had.

Sahara 19After we arrived at the camp, we were joined by about 25 other people from all over the globe.  We were served a traditional Moroccan meal before creeping into bed.  I won’t say that I slept that well, but no matter because we were roused by 6 AM and back on camels by 6:30.  The trip back was long and uneventful, so I capitalized on perfect opportunity to sprawl across the back seat and nap.

Eventually, we arrived  back in Marrakech and checked into The Pearl, a gorgeous modern hotel.  I was so happy to be there, I almost kissed the doorman.  As I write this, I’m propped up on a big comfy bed in an air-conditioned room.  And it feels GREAT!


About how bout some cake

I'm a 20-something woman with an insatiable thirst for adventure. I love red wine, chocolate cake, and comments from my lovely readers.
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