So this was a long day, I know I’ll forget things and the internet isn’t great here, but I’ll do my best. We left Midelt early to head to the Sahara desert where the big dunes were. Technically we were already in the desert, not much grows out here, but then you get surprises like the Ziz valley where we stopped, whic was a small canyon with lush green fertile land at the bottom full of date palms and other crops. The contrast was stunning. We stopped there for lunch and continued on to the desert.
We also stopped at a fossil place which took slabs of stone containing many fossils and turned them into tables, cups, plates etc. Having bought a lot already and feeling the heat but a bit of a upset stomach, I managed to not buy anything and sought the shade. The concern was the desert was going to be hot and drain my energy.
We arrived at the turn off and had an hour on a bumpy dirt road until we arrived at our hotel for storage and suiting up for the camels. Head scarves in the traditional berber style were worn to keep the sand out. As it turns out sand was the least of our problems. We noticed a storm on the horizon, and yes it was going to rain in the Sahara desert! Probably and experience very few get to witness.
I was second from the front in the Camel caravan. My camel was a lovely chocolate brown colour. Berbers don’t name their camels, so I called mine “Hot chocolate”. He was a good camel, and kept pace with the lead camel well. The desert was being lit up with lightening flashes and then the rain started. It wasn’t heavy, but it was a steady rain! It was an experience very few have had.
I’m not sure if Hot Chocolate enjoyed the rain or not. Camels seem to enjoy going for a walk though, they don’t get tied up and they just wait when they are told to wait. When we reached the camp, we sheltered from the rain until it stopped. Then we climbed the sand dune behind the camp. We went up the hard way climbing the steep face. It was a pretty stupid way to go to be honest. Once we reached the ridge it was much easier going.
We ran down the dune which was short and sweet, but a lot of fun! Then we sheltered again for the rain, a really good dinner of soup followed by a chicken tagine. The Berbers put on a drumming show, as we relaxed. It wasn’t that bad despite the rain. I slept really well that night and missed the wakeup call to see the non eventful sunrise.
We mounted the camels earlier and hot chocolate returned my to base, before we left the desert. We drove to Todra Gorge where I’m now relaxing and chilling. We have an easy few days here before we head off for some busy days.
The tour group I’m with are really good company. I think we all get along well and our guide Abdu (i’ve been calling him Abdul) is really good. So today we head off to see a local family and then have the afternoon off. The 2 nights here are a good mid tour rest.
So riding camels in the desert, how novel is that?
If I had been there I would have been humming the theme from Lawrence of Arabia and singing selections from “The Desert Song” I like this historic version taken from a 1929 movie ( remember that sound movies had only started with “the Jazz singer” in 1928)
I think a few of your readers would like this….