Morocco is a country of intriguing sights, smells and sounds, diverse landscapes, from rugged mountains and deserts to green, lush valleys and a spectacular coastline. It’s also a land of beauty, and the mighty Sahara Desert is one such beauty that is on many a visitor’s itineraries. While you may not want to get lost in the Sahara Desert, you can certainly experience losing yourself in the pure beauty and magnificence of this stunning part of Morocco. Here are some ways of getting lost in the desert on a camel ride in the Sahara.
You won’t be short of tour companies waiting to whisk you off for what will undoubtedly be a high point of your trip to Morocco. But there are plenty, so do some research and choose the best one for you, whether that’s a one night camp in the desert, or, a more challenging, 15-night expedition deep in the red sands of the Sahara. While you probably can’t wait to get there, don’t forget to take in the journey there. You’ll see Berber villages, nestled on mountain slopes, a stunning and diverse landscape with impressive gorges, roaring waterfalls, and verdant valleys; all unexpected sights from what you may imagine the desert country to look like.
Once you’ve been acquainted with your camel, you’ll set off into the unknown with only your guide for company. As you travel deeper into the desert, gently rocking back and forth to the rhythm of your animal’s gait, lose yourself in your imagination and envisage yourself as part of an old camel caravan journeying from Morocco to Egypt. The expense of the Saharan dunes in every direction, as far as the eye can see, the orange-colored sand contrasted with the bright, blue sky, and silence, apart from the soft padding sound of the camel’s feet, sinking into the sand, is a truly magical adventure.
The Beauty of the Desert
On a trip into the desert, you’ll be amazed at the beauty of the constantly changing colors of the dunes; yellows, oranges, and reds, as the sun casts shadows before retreating from sight, below the horizon. You’ll enjoy traditional food, music, you’ll dance around the campfire, and you’ll gaze up at millions of stars, so bright and, with no light pollution, you’ll be able to see the Milky Way, and, as if that wasn’t enough, shooting stars, as they rocket across the black night. In the morning, climb to the top of the highest dunes and await the beginning of the day, as the sun rises to its pinnacle in the sky. This is when you will be truly lost in the desert, lost in the beauty of it, lost enough to become mesmerized as if you were in a trance that you don’t want to escape.
Peace and Solitude
During the day, the sheer immensity of the desert will take your breath away, but it’s the peace and solitude that will make your trip the most memorable. It’s as relaxing as you take to the dunes, traveling up and down the huge sand crescents, getting lost among them, not being able to see ahead, until you reach the top again, to be greeted by the emptiness and quiet of the arenicolous landscape. Then, in a blanket of darkness, an eerie silence descends and fills your entire being, making the hairs stand up on your neck. It’s an extraordinary and fascinating place, and, even though you may only have traveled one or two days, the step from desert back to civilization is a huge one.
Erg Chebbi is one of the greatest sights in the whole of Morocco, with some dunes reaching 7 km across, and its here that you can witness the Grand Dune de Merzouga, the tallest dune in the area. It’s best to visit these dunes out of season, during January and February, if you don’t want to share them with countless others and the raging heat.
However, if you journey from Zagora or M’Hamid to experience the dunes at Erg Chigaga, you’ll find seas of golden sand, some rising 300 meters, for as far as the eye can see. These dunes are the most breathtaking in this region, and, if you’re looking to get lost in the Sahara, it’s here that you will experience the dunes as you may have pictured them in your mind; a quiet and isolated place. There is going to be tourists wherever you go, but Erg Chigaga has fewer of them, and, whether you opt to explore by camel or 4WD, it will be a true desert experience, one that will not be forgotten in a hurry.