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17 Photos to Inspire you to Experience Camel Riding in the Sahara Desert, Morocco
If it’s not already on your bucket list, then a trip to the #SaharaDessert needs to be! Follow the footsteps of your camel whilst you trek through the desert, watch the #aspirational sunrise and experience the typical #Moroccan #culture.
I remember how excited I was. It was March (2015) and we had just confirmed our 2 day camel trek to the Sahara desert. What a massive bucket list item to check off your list – right? Lets just say yes and no….
What a massive bucket list item to check off your list – right
Was it an amazing, incredible, life changing experience – Yes. A thousand times Yes!
Did we realise at the time how incredibly uncomfortable, painful and all round grumpy pains in the ass camels are? Nope – we had no idea. Boy were we in for a lesson learned, the hard way.
We had teamed up with the guys at Sahara Desert Tour, and upon meeting the owner Mohamed, he warned us that people who book the 2 night camel tour usually come home early.
We were shocked – how could anyone quit and come back early from the Sahara Desert? Are they mad???
Nope – it just turns out that:
It’s pretty fricken hot out there during the day (it is a desert after all)
The serious amounts of ouchie you will endure riding a camel, is enough for anyone to quit half way through and say “that’s it, screw this, send out the rescue team now please!”
Ok fair enough, it was only really bad on the last leg back to the home base in the town of Merzouga. But seriously, it was ouchie!!!
Even with the ouchie butts we are proud to say we did survive the entire trip – and it was one that we will remember for the rest of our lives.
Well I could ramble on here for ages, but instead of telling you – let me show you.
17 Photos to Inspire you to Experience Camel Riding in the Sahara Desert Morocco
Look how happy we look to be on top of our camels Jimmy Hendrix and Omar Sharif – Just loving it! This is before any of the serious ouchies had set in.
look how happy we look to be on top of our camels Jimmy Hendrix and Omar Sharif
We had to wait until late afternoon before we could set off with our guide Mohamed (a different Mohamed to before – not surprisingly there’s a lot of Mohamed’s in Morocco) towards our campsite. This meant it was cooler, and we would arrive just in time to capture some afternoon sunset shots. Sadly for us it was cloudy and a bit shitty weather wise.
we would arrive just in time to capture some afternoon sunset shots
Marrakech & Sahara Guided Desert Trek
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But it’s the Sahara Desert – I don’t think it’s possible to take a bad photo out here!
At the camp site we were seriously expecting to have a couple of mats rolled out on the floor for us, but we were surprised to find our tent fully decked out with a bed and linen. And we have to admit that the view from our door was not one that you get to experience every day….
... and we knew that we were off to local berber home to escape the heat of the day. Berbers are the traditionally nomadic people of the land who descend from the pre – Arab inhabitants of North Africa.
Berbers are the traditionally nomadic people
So, climbing back onto our trusty steeds (the burping, farting, crapping camels) we set off, so we could relax under the branches of one of the only shady trees in the area.
Not only had we been told were were going to be treated to Berber pizza (Pizza, Yay!) but this day we were excited as the weather had cleared to near perfection. Not knowing if the weather was going to turn hazy again, we knew that this was the opportunity to grab some kick-ass photos. Our guide Mohamed was awesome and helped us get some incredibly beautiful shots.
For those wondering, yes all food and water is included in the tour package. Muhammad cooked us breakfast and dinner and we were actually really impressed. It was certainly one of the better tagines we had had in Morocco.
And of course – there was the Berber pizza….
It was while we were here that the original Mohammad turned up on quad bike to deliver us a couple of frozen bottles of water – what a LEGEND! It’s amazing when you are out in the desert how much a frozen bottle of water becomes your new best friend and snuggle buddy. Oh I wrapped it up in my arms like a teddy bear and soaked up its cool.
Oh I wrapped it up in my arms like a teddy bear and soaked up its cool
Once the hottest part of the day faded, it was back on the camels and back to our campsite where we were excited to see that a few English speaking groups had turned up. We all had dinner together and chatted late into the night until we all realised that we had to get up before dawn the next day – it was time for the sunrise shots.
it was time for the sunrise shots
Now if you’ve read this blog before you might know that we hate getting up early, and our track records with sunrises have not been great. Ankor Wat….hazy. Bagan in Myanmar…meh. We didn’t have high hopes for the Sahara sunrise to be honest. As I said before it had previously been incredibly hazy, and even though we had had one good day – we had no idea how the weather would turn.
Dragging ourselves out of bed in the pre dawn darkness we knew we had a bit of time to grab some breakfast before we had to haul ass up a huge sand dune, and hope that we would get a good sunrise show.
Ladies & Gentleman my faith in sunrises has been restored!
We were treated to the most spectacular sunrise I have ever seen. And as the sand changed colour and the shadows changed before our eyes, we sat in awe of the beauty of The Sahara Desert.
And as the sand changed colour and the shadows changed before our eyes
To say we were on a high after that sunrise is an understatement. Mohammad pretty much had to come and drag us back down the sand dune, as we wanted to stay and take photos – but he wanted to leave and head back to Merzouga before the day got too hot.
I also may have been putting off climbing back onto my camel Jimmy as by this time I was feeling pretty battered and bruised from the previous rides. Glutimus-Painimus. It’s not the most comfortable of saddles, and there is no foot stirrups so you just sit there in almost full splits, your legs just kinda hanging there. This no stirrup business also makes going down hills a rather ‘interesting’ experience. All you can do is cling on, hoping not to fall head first over the front of your camel.
But even though I was dreading that ride back, did I regret going on a 2 night camel trek in the Sahara Desert? Not a chance – and I’d do it again. You can go out in 4WD or on quad bikes or dirtbikes, but the scenery just flies by. If you want to truly soak in your surroundings, the only way to get a true Sahara Desert experience is on the back of a grumpy farting, uncomfortable camel. You’ve just gotta do it.
a true Sahara Desert experience is on the back of a grumpy farting, uncomfortable camel
The Sahara Desert in Morocco is such an amazing, breathtaking sight you think there would be tour groups all over the place. But while you do see people off in the distance occasionally and certainly at your camp site, you still feel like you have the entire desert to yourself. Where you can take out a blanket at night and just lay there and star gaze without any interruption. It’s also a great place for a digital detox – no wifi here people.
There are so many amazing things to see and do in Morocco and yet time after time we were told how tourism is down in 2015. Not as many tourists are visiting and people are worried. They need the tours to run in order to feed their families – but the tourists are staying away.
Is it the break out of Ebola in Africa and bad geographical knowledge (as the ebola outbreak was nowhere near Morocco) that’s got tourists afraid? Or is it because it is mostly a nation of muslims that has people erring on the side of caution and not booking a trip to Morocco?
I don’t know….
What I do know is we spent over 6 weeks in Morocco and all we met were friendly, welcoming people that don’t want us to be afraid. They want us to come and visit their beautiful country. To come and see and experience their way of life.
Look at those faces. Come on don’t stay at home next vacation – why not visit Morocco?