A name synonymous with harsh conditions and inspiring beauty, the Sahara is the largest hot desert, spanning much of North Africa. Be warned though, sand temperatures reach up to 80 degrees with no water in sight. Would you go there?
Just complete and utter silence.
There's something therapeutic about the vastness of the desert. There is nothing but sand yet you find something within (this is so cliche I nearly puked writing it but its tru doe). With no distractions, no connectivity, you are fully alone with your thoughts. A maybe some shisha.
An added bonus: Camels. These one-humped friendly faces are called Dromedaries, a type of camel that inhabits Middle east and Northern Africa. Two humped camels are only found in Central Asia.
Camel trekking is usually included in most expedition packages.
Camel riding is not as easy as it looks! Not to mention painful.
I had stupidly decided that it would be a good idea to take OOTDs with the stunning Sahara backdrop and wore a maxi dress. Uck, dumb travel bloggers.
Because sitting on the camel is so bumpy, you have to use your thighs to “kiap” (squeeze) the camels to hold on and not fall off. Imagine doing that clumsily in a maxi dress. I literally walked away (jumped off the camel and walked back to the camp) with a friction burn on my thighs.
Many of the guides at the camp were also indigenous Berber people who were more than happy to share about their culture and traditions with us. The shisha which has been recently banned in Singapore is a part of their everyday life.
We also caught a glimpse of how the nomadic Berber still live today.
While we were having lunch under the cool, cool shade of some trees, a local camel-man (I'm not even kidding, this is what our guide addressed him as) came to join us for lunch. Through terrible hand gestures and translation from our guide, we traded stories of how Singapore was a city with 60-storey buildings, which was unfathomable to him; and of how he had been born in the desert and living in the Sahara his whole life, which was unfathomable to us.
“I have always loved the desert. One sits down on a desert sand dune, sees nothing, hears nothing. Yet through the silence something throbs, and gleams...” – The Little Prince
The sunsets are not to be missed—the red glow of the sand is unbelievably therapeutic. Maybe smoke some shisha with the locals and talk about the happenings of today and just watch as a day ends.
I swear I'm not this weird in real life.
Just as you thought the most beautiful part of your experience is over, night falls. The air becomes cool (almost too cold actually, do bring a sweater), the heat of the day disperses and slowly but surely, some stars start to appear.
Due to the remoteness of the Sahara, the walkways are lit by candlelight. I’m not complaining.
Sing songs by the campfire with the locals.
Last but not least, the starry night sky of the Sahara. Because of its low humidity, there are hardly ever any clouds. This makes the Sahara a prime spot for night sky photography. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a tripod with me at the moment so I had to improvise and took this whilst balancing the camera precariously on a chair. Bring your tripod!
So why should you go to one of the most remote, harsh and (relatively) uninhabited places in the world?
How to get there?
As a sucker for luxury and all things overpriced (dumb travel bloggers uck). I stayed in Erg Chigaga Luxury Camp (http://www.morocco-luxury-camps.com/) where prices start from 650 euros for two nights in the desert. Prices also include transport, 2 nights in a local hotel for an en-route stopover (one night there and one night back). The camp itself is quite comfortable, there is an en-suite bathroom equipped with hot water for showers and even a flushing toilet! So much for camping! Fair warning though, the water is a little briny as it comes from a nearby well.
For the budget conscious, there is an option of more basic camps (http://www.morocco-desert-camp.com/). There is still hot water for showering but do take note that toilets are shared.
I would personally recommend spending a minimum of two nights in the desert as the journey there is rather tedious (scenic, but still tedious).
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