My Day in the Sahara Dessert
Trip Start Jan 26, 2006
11Trip End Mar 05, 2006
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I have been looking forward to this day for a long time, actually seeing the Sahara Dessert! This is a day I will not forget.
We (meaning my coworker and her partner) left Er Rachidia with a friend that we've made who works in the gift shop at the hotel. He has family in Erfoud and instead of paying a guide we get to visit the dessert for free and don't have to follow some planned excursion. The drive to great, very beautiful.
We stop first at a huge gorge and take in the view, got great pics that I joined together so you can see the whole scene
When we got the Erfoud, we headed to our friend's cousin's shop who he came to visit. The shop was very nice, lots of fossils and lovely carpets. My coworker and I were dressed up by our friends, she as a traditional Berber woman and me as a traditional Arab. It was lots of fun, we had tea and couscous, the couscous was amazing! After that we looked at the rugs and the other stuff in his store.
After relaxing we headed out of town to the dessert. The drive again was great. The landscape was barren with a few hills along the way. As we get closer to the actual Sahara we started to see the palm tree leaf barriers along the road to keep the blowing sands from covering the roadway. After a while we came up to a fossil shop and stopped in to look around. I was excited of course to find that many of the rocks under our feet and around actually contained fossils and so I took a few pictures. Later in the day I managed to find some fossils on my own which was rather exciting! Our friend helped us barter with the shop owner so that we didn't pay "tourist" prices.
As we pressed on we started to see the large dunes in the distance, a very exciting moment for us
As we approach the dunes, or the area referred to as the Erg Chebbi, Morocoo's only genuine Saharan erg, a drifting expanse of sand dunes which are so typical of the Algerian Sahara we see that these are indeed drifting sand dunes, we see many buildings that are surrounded by the sand. The sand is never the same, it changes constantly.
The dunes are amazingly beautiful. As we wait for the camels to be ready we snap pictures of the landscape. The time of day is perfect, the sun hits the dunes highlighting and shading their shapes and make for fantastic pictures.
The camels are ready for us and as the get down on their knees to help us get up, the middle camel puts up quite the fuss! He makes the funniest noises and starts to bare his teeth. He just seems very upset with the state of affairs. I have to get on the camel in front of him - they are all attached together so they don't wander off. It makes me a bit nervous to get on the camel enough though without the one behind making such a ruckus
We head out onto the dunes! The ride is great, bumpy, not fast but great. We manage to get some really great pictures. We hit the top of some dunes and dismount to get a better view. It is really something up there. The sun is getting low and so we head back down. The sun really lights up the dunes now. When we finish our ride the colours of the sunset are amazing, blues, greens, golds and then purples. Really beautiful!
The day has been quite the adventure. But we are all exhausted. The night sky is stunning, you can see all the stars, the milky way and everything. It's incredible. At one point we all get out of the car to take it all in. It's so quiet and calm and beautiful. When we get back in we start to see the other people heading back into town in their land rovers, we can just see the headlights in the distance of about 6 cars. It's kind of eerie but nice.
Today was a really good day.