Trip to Erg Chigaga, Sahara Desert with YMT

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Flag of Morocco  ,
Sunday, August 22, 2010

We met up with our guide, Abdel Majid Elboulal @ the metro in Marrakesh. From there onwards, just absolute bliss. Our party of 3 adults travelled in our own, air-conditioned 4x4, making the experience so much more personal. Abdel is highly recommended: friendly, knowledgeable, accommodating, kind, taking our best interests and needs into consideration at all times. We managed to communicate combining English, French, Arabic, Afrikaans, and a lot of body language (fun fun fun!!). We traveled through the High Atlas Mountains via the Ticha Pass, had stops wherever and whenever we wanted, and was treated to a traditional Moroccan breakfast in tanginess (Moroccan cookware), at a lovely restaurant. Visited the Kasbah at Ait Benhaddou, the Draa valley and Erg Lihoudi.

The Berber people of Morocca have stolen our hearts. Down to earth, kind, generous… was but few of the qualities we came across.

Upon arrival at our desert camp, be prepared: this is the desert! The overnight tents were ready but we settled to sleep under the amazingly beautiful Moroccan sky, littered with stars. We were surprised with wooden beds, clean linen and all we needed. Dinner was tastefully prepared meat and vegetables in tanginess. Breakfast was modest, the hosts friendly and ready to assist with whatever we might need.

Tracking to the Chegaga sand dunes – settled for the evening and enjoyed the largest group of dunes in the region reaching a height of 300 m and a span of 40 km. The views and serenity were amazing and something to cherish for life. Again all was ready for us, but we opted to sleep on the dunes: this time, carpets, mattresses and bedding were carried up the dune for our second night rest under the stars. That evening we were entertained with traditional Berber song and dance – amazing, majestic and magical!!!

The next day we entered the Sahara desert on saddled camels. We were worried about the possible bad shape of the camels, but to our pleasant surprise, they were treated kindly, and the people accompanying us on our 2 hour journey under the blazing African sun (come prepared!!), were reflecting true care and devotion towards the animals in their care. At all the overnight tents, were cats and donkeys, but well taken care of.

Crossed lake Iriqui, lunch in Taznakht and visited a lovely carpet shop. Everywhere we were surprised by the modesty and true friendliness of the people we've met.

Being on the last leg of our desert journey, did not cause Abdel to rush, instead, he stopped everywhere as requested, providing us with information as we go. Abdel, thank you for helping us negotiate the best prizes for your tanginess!! In Abdel we found a person with deep set values, and attachment to the Sahara. We’ve shared precious moments with him and don’t think it would have been the same experience with another driver. He even took us to his home, introduced us to his family, and we’ve experienced the special hospitality only the Moroccan people have: his father served us from their own household, traditional Moroccan flatbread with onions, and the sweet and hot mint tea (served as a welcome drink wherever we came).

This tour company Your Morocco Tour (www.your-morocco-tour.com) is highly recommended and Abdel Majid Elboulal also!! We would love to return one day, and to keep in touch with him for life. Baie lekker, baie byfok, coooooooooooool bananas, garra foes guru guru (Abdel you will understand, my brother).

Thanks to Jana Pekova, who coordinated the whole trip, well done! Thank for answering my millions of questions!
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