Ever wonder what it would be like to spend a night in the Sahara, under a star-lit sky and surrounded by nothing but rolling dunes? I had the chance to do just that a couple weeks ago when I travelled on our 9 day Totally Morocco tour; this is my experience.
From the village of Merzouga in southeastern Morocco we climbed aboard our trusty dromedaries, you know camels but with just one hump, and headed off into the dunes of the Sahara. Leaving early evening meant we escaped the majority of Morocco’s scorching heat. As we ambled through the desert, lead by our expert nomadic Berbers, we passed dune upon dune of dark orange sand. Once acclimatised to the rocking motion of the camels it was a chance to get to grips with the camera and take some awesome shots of this amazing landscape and of course a few wonky selfies! After an hour or so we arrived at our camp just before sunset. Before entering camp we climbed a small dune to face west and catch the last of the sun’s rays in a glorious sunset.
The camp consisted of a number of multi-bedded tents replete with single beds and traditional Moroccan blankets. The tents surrounded a carpeted seating area where we sipped traditional mint tea on arrival and later enjoyed a delicious authentic meal of Moroccan salad, couscous chicken and vegetables and fruit for dessert. Later on our camel Berbers entertained us with live music and singing of Berber songs. Instruments consisted of wooden bongo drums and even just a tray and some metal cups! The whole experience was topped off with the amazing blanket of stars in the sky. We had the luxury of very little light pollution out here in the Sahara (apart from when the generator spluttered into life) making the night sky truly spectacular! After looking out for ‘the Big Dipper’, Orion’s Belt, the Milky Way and the North Star we retired to bed for a great night’s sleep in the peaceful desert.
We rose early the following morning and climbed back on our trusty steeds. It was still dark as we ventured back through the Sahara. As the sun crept back onto the horizon we dismounted our camels and headed up one of the towering dunes to get the best view of the sunrise. Not an easy climb and it took a while ( a bit like walking up the down escalator!)– but it was definitely worth it for the view and the amazing sunrise. Also running down the dune is so much fun – like you’re gliding on air!
Back on our camels we completed the final stretch back to Merzouga. Once at our original start point we climb down from the camels for the last time, thank our helpful Berbers and head for a welcome shower and breakfast.