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Camels, Quads and Camping in the Moroccan Sahara
I wanted to take my family to see an authentic #Morocco and have some fun - 4x4, camels, quads and camping in the Sahara, If you fancy an #active holiday this is for you. From the riads of Marrakech to canvas under the stars in the big dunes - this trip left us with life-long memories.
Most of us have images of huge sand dunes and camel caravans when we think of the Sahara, but to actually go and find them takes a bit of effort. You need to be prepared not to have luxury all the way.
I set myself the task of taking my family to do just that (and have some fun on quads and camels along the way).
Most of us have images of huge sand dunes and camel caravans when we think of the Sahara...
We went in October, which was a good time temperature-wise (not the unbearable 40 degrees of high summer). Landing in a sandstorm, which clouded the sky a hazy orange, we met up with our 4x4 for the week (and its driver - lovely Mohammed). I booked with ex Dakar Rally garage guy; Vincent Jacquet of Les Vents du Sud. This was a good move; great value and relaxing. The roads are barely there in places, and unless you are an expert sand dune driver, why stress?
Landing in a sandstorm, which clouded the sky a hazy orange, we met up with our 4x4 for the week...
We loaded our bags onto the roof of our Toyota Landcruiser and we were off. On the first evening we sped up to 2260 metres up the Col du Tichka Pass in the Atlas Mountains. We stopped en route for the obligatory mint tea, it does indeed seem the right thing to drink when you’re in Morocco.
The first night we stayed at La Kasbah, in Ouarzazat, a traditionally built hotel with rooms around an internal courtyard, as well as typical Moroccan furnishings and decor.
Hotel La Kasbah
Tour Around Morocco
It was comfortable, in a shabby chic sort of way. You don’t really go to Morocco for the food, but give a tagine (a meat stew of sorts with couscous, served in a cone-shaped pot) a go at least once - you may have no choice!
We stopped en route for the obligatory mint tea - it does indeed seem the right thing to drink when you’re in Morocco.
Onwards and onwards we went the next day, heading south, through completely barren countryside, and the occasional oasis where date palms and other crops were growing. It was nice to see a bit of green after the now dusty and almost non existent road.
M’Hamid is at the end of the road - literally - and here you find many adventurers, maybe a motorbike group, or the really serious Unimog campers, heading to the big dunes.
M’Hamid is at the end of the road - literally - and here you find many adventurers...
Time for fun.
We booked ourselves an afternoon of quad biking in the local, relatively small dunes, trust me if you’re new to this, it’s probably enough first time out. It was great fun and I only got stuck once! This was organised for us by Dar Azawad.
It was great fun and I only got stuck once!
Quad Biking in the Sahara Desert
Snorkelling in El Gouna
Camel Ride Around The Pyramids
More action the next day, a camel trek to our next stop in the desert, but first into 'town' to get the traditional shesh (the material wraps for your head and face - à la Lawrence of Arabia). You may pay a tourist price, but trust me, in the heat and with the sand blowing, you will be using it just like the local guys. It was a great ride out, with lunch in the shade on the way, (made by our Tuareg guides) but let’s just say some parts were hurting after that. Sand seems capable of getting into every tiny place - and it did!
...material wraps for your head and face - à la Lawrence of Arabia...
After a great night in our sand huts (be warned, there is no clean water here, so limited washing and drinking from supplied bottled water only) we rejoined Mohammed and the 4x4 for the most anticipated part, the big dunes and most famously Ch’gaga; they didn’t disappoint. This is bookable through our friends at Dar Azawad. Our Tuareg team had set up a private camp just for us, there was even a chemical toilet to use if you could remember which dune to climb up and over to find it.
It was the most amazing spot and it was totally worth it to be totally alone in the desert and witness both the sunset and sunrise, the contrast of the daytime heat and nighttime cold. It was beautiful and powerful, and an experience that lingers, don’t forget your camera!