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Camels, tajine and sand everywhere
“Are there sand dunes in your country, too?”
A Berber man named Sair asking me this made me feel like the luckiest person on Earth.
All this man had ever seen was sand, sand and more sand. How could he possibly understand what the rest of the world looks like?
It was humbling getting asked this question. It reminded me how blessed I am to be born in a Northern European country. How blessed I am to have time, money and courage to explore different corners of the world.
We had slept for the night in our hostel after an interesting day in Marrakech. The following morning at 5.30 am, the call to prayer sounded around the city and woke us up.
After breakfast, Sair picked us up from our hostel for a tour to the Sahara! We had booked a tour with Morocco Excursions, who offer various day trips as well as longer tours. A three night Sahara tour starting in Marrakech and ending in Fez costs 290 € per person. The price includes a car with a private driver, all activities, accommodation, breakfasts and dinners. Only lunches and drinks are payed separately.
The tour includes thousands of kilometres of driving, but luckily there are many interesting stops along the way.
We slept the night in Ouarzazate, continuing our journey the next morning, stopping in a few of the local towns only to snap photos and to buy water.
Our next stop was the Todgha Gorge in the Atlas Mountains. The tall cliff walls beautifully frame the stream running through the gorge. The path next to the stream is well paved, so it’s easy to walk around the area and admire the majestic gorge.
After stretching our legs around the gorge for a while, we sat back into the car to continue our journey towards a shop where a Berber family sold mats made out of camel hair.
Once we reached Ouarzazate, we only had time to drop our bags at the hotel before getting on our camels! A Berber man waded through the fine sand in his sandals while leading our camels through the desert.
My backside was hurting from the coarse blanket placed on the camel, and sand was prickling my skin. But the tears in my eyes did not stem from this. It was the peaceful feeling, the swaying walk of the camel and only sand as far as the eye can see. After walking for a while, we stopped to watch the sun set over the Sahara. It was one of the most surreal, beautiful and overwhelming experiences of my life.
We continued a bit further in the darkness until we reached a Berber camp.
The camel ride in the sunset and spending the night in the Sahara desert was definitely the highlight of the tour. The following morning we got up at 6 am and boarded our camels in the darkness.
After riding in the sunrise back to the hotel, the day ahead consisted of a tour around the region with a four wheel drive.
I have to say, I’m usually not a big fan of organized tours. You run around everywhere, seeing lots of stuff, not really experiencing anything. But the pace with Morocco Excursions was just right! The itinerary was well thought out, with enough pit stops but also time to wind down. We didn’t rush from one sight to the next, but instead spent time with different people. This was great, as people really are the main reason we travel.