Into the Sahara Desert
We obviously had to ride camels at some point! We booked a tour from Marrakech -there are a million tours, and they looked about the same- for three days, two nights. It was a twelve hour drive to get to the Sahara, and we tormented our patient driver Khalid the whole way. To be fair, he only brought one CD and it was Enrique Iglesias. That’s a long drive with Enrique. We made him stop for coffee constantly (when we weren’t stopping for food), and the tour required us to stop at several factories. “AND NOW, A SMALL FACTORY!” We stopped at a rose water small-factory, a argan oil small-factory, a rock small-factory (yes, rocks), and possibly a few more I’ve forgotten. In between, we quizzed our driver on life in Morocco. On the way back, we stopped at his family house in a small village and visited with his mother, grandmother, and aunt. His grandmother had the traditional Berber tattoos on her chin. They were so kind to us, feeding us tasty pastries and giving us a tour of their home.
The long drive winds up the Atlas mountains, passing tiny villages and through huge gorges. We stopped overnight in a small village and had a nice hike around it in the morning with a guide. After the hike, he took us to some of the village shops and showed us how they weave rugs.
We also stopped at this ancient kasbah, Aït Benhaddou.
After a second long day of driving -they split the way there up into two days- we finally made it to the dunes! We pulled up at an inn at the edge of the dunes, and our camels were ready to go!
After a short camel ride we arrived at the camp just as it was getting dark. There were roomy tents with rugs as floors, it was pretty glampy. Our guides cooked us a delicious tagine dinner and played us traditional music while we ate. We then hiked up to one of the tall dunes and sat talking and looking up at the millions of stars. It was an amazing experience and so peaceful out there. The night was so warm, we ended up sleeping outside the tents.
The next morning we got up at sunrise to head back. We drove all that day back to Marrakech and on to more adventures!