After Marrakech (see tips and adventure log here), we drove over the Atlas mountains and through the Dades Valley and Gorge before reaching Mazouga, the last town at the edge of the Sahara dunes of Erg Chebbi. From Mazouga, we then trekked for an hour and a half on camel to reach the Berber camp deep in the desert. Due to the extremely harsh climate, most of the original inhabitants of the Sahara, the Berber people, have long moved out. Today, few Berber camps remain and their main source of income are either the tourists who are crazy enough to spend a few days in the desert or the dare-devils who go to surf the sand dunes on boards, ATV’s, or 4×4’s.
There are no words to describe the beauty of the Erg Chebbi dunes. The golden sea of sand dunes has no beginning or end. One after another, they line up before your eyes in seductive curves. Their sands shifting ever so gently under the bright blue sky with few clouds. At night, although the desert was pitch dark, we ventured out with our Berber guides, who navigated by stars, to another sand dune, and we laughed, joked and slept on the Sahara sands. It’s so quiet and peaceful out there. It was a huge contrast from Times Square in New York City with all it’s yellow cabs, big crowds, tall buildings with neon lights and electronic billboards that flash today’s stock price and latest world news before your eyes. In New York, you can’t get away from the world, the world comes to you. In Sahara, well, it’s just you and nature, coexisting at the same time and in the same space.
Before we arrived, we had thought the Sahara would be uncomfortable to stay. While it’s true that you give up many modern conveniences by staying in the desert (such as electricity), the Berber have long figured out how to live in the desert comfortably. Although our accommodations were simple, the food was fantastic. The Berber hospitality was unmatched. We will miss the Sahara greatly, and it is definitely the highlight of our round-the-world trip.
Tips for Your Travel
1) Hire an experienced trekking company to take you into the Sahara. It will greatly enhance your experience. If you need recommendations, drop us a note.
2) Items to carry with you into the Sahara:
– Water: Being enough water to last you through your entire stay – You may be able to buy this if you start from a hotel in Mazouga
– Flashlight: If you want to go anywhere at night (even just to the next tent), you will need it
– Hand Sanitizer: There is no cleaning facility. Soap and water will definitely not be waiting for you to clean your hands before or after your meal
– Wind breaker: While the desert is hot during the day, it can be quite cool early in the morning or at night
– Long Scarf: Comes in handy if you need to protect your nose and mouth from the sand
– Tripod: Critical if you want to take night pictures
3) Only stay out in the sun early in the morning or late in the evening. The sun and heat are unforgiving.
4) Be prepared to bring a new set of clothes after the desert tour. Everything you have on will have sand on it.
Want to know everything you need to pack for a desert tour to the Sahara? We compiled a Sahara Desert Packing List for you!
Another article you may be interested in is our interview with a local guiding company on planning a Morocco Sahara desert tour. Hope you enjoy it.
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