Morocco - Merzouga (Sahara)

Our wonderful trip to the Saraha Desert

Our desert trip was arranged for us as part of our tour from Fes to Marrakesh. The tour company uses the Auberge Les Dunes D'Or - which is a lovely Auberge (a French word meaning "inn")

AubergeLesDunesDor

We did not sleep at the Auberge but we spend a couple of hours resting and wasting away the afternoon prior to our Camel journey into the desert.

The Auberge is probably in the 3 star range, but it was a great way to spend an afternoon.

AubergeLesDunesDor1

The Auberge is located about 12 KM from Merzouga along the northen edge of Erg -Chebi. Their email address is aubergedunesdor@caramail.com and they have a web site at http://www .aubergedunesor.com

ErfoudToDunesDOr

We travelled from Erfoud to Dunes D'or in a 4x4 vehicle - we did not know how far it was and it was infact quite a way, approx 20 KM over some very rough but very flat terrain.

CamelShadow

 

We have some great photos of our travel on the camels into the desert and here are a few of them.

IMG_4217 Desert1 Desert2 desert3 desert4 desert5 

 

Camels2

Camels1

Camels3

 

This is a page from their home page  http://www.aubergedunesdor.com/ 

DunesDorWelcome

Waking up in the Desert

Today I woke in the Sahara Desert at 4:45am, since the sun was soon to rise I got up, and walked up the large dune near our tent. I only got about 20 meters high as the sand was very soft, gaining 1 foot for every 2-3 taken.  I sat there and waited for the sun to rise in the cool morning.

 

At 5:30am the sun started to become visible in the sky and the dunes started showing their colours again.

I stayed there for about another 15 minutes taking in the view and snapping pics.

I then went back to the tent and Pam got up and we walked around the area taking some more pictures.

Apparently only the white ones bite!

One of our more mellow camels

We then returned to our tent and had breakfast ( bread, butter, jam + slices of orange and Mint Tea )

There were two small boys who had some wares to sell and Pam bought a few little necklaces for 20DH each.

We then departed the Sahara on our camels (6:30am), we returned to Auburge Dunes D’Or where we met with our Guide and we headed back to Erfoud in the 4x4 vehicle.

The outside of the Auberge

Erfoud to the Desert ( SAHARA )

We travelled by 4x4 from our hotel to Auburge Dunes D’Or. The road was good for about 6 KM and then we were off the road for about another 20 km. The Auberge is about 12 KM from the town of Merzouga.

We arrived at about 2:30pm and it was decided that it was too hot to leave right away and we would leave at about 5:30pm.

We basically just rested in the Auberge for 3 hours which was nice and cool.

As the time approached Pam was getting nervous, she did not like the idea of being on a camel.

When the time came we went outside and met our camels and then we were on them. No messing around.  We were very lucky as there was only Pam and I on our trip. So it was like our private journey.

It is quite easy to get on the camel, just sit on the seat, but when it gets up it is another story.

 

The camels front legs move a bit then his back legs go up so you end up facing and leaning down holding on hard, then his front legs come up and you are horizontal and ready for walking.

The Camelier, Mohab (person who leads the camel) walks the whole time; he walked with bare feet and did not worry about anything biting him.

We leisurely strolled over the many dunes, the camelier walk taking the easiest route for the camels so there are not too many rises and falls, but there are still a lot of these, maybe it is for the people on the camels?

The dunes were very beautiful at that time of day and especially as the sun was setting at about 7pm

I was taking a lot of photos so hopefully we will end up with some nice shots. Pam was holding on for grim death and had bruises to show for it.

Just before sunset we got off our camels to watch the sun come down, it was truly a wonderful sight.

Pam was moaning, she wanted to get going before the sun set, but did not want to get back on the camel, did not want to walk, did not want to be out in the dark.  So we waited until the sun set ( I came 1/2 way round the world to see this).

We then got back on our camels, and Pam held on for grim death again.

I was quite relaxed on my camel, just being cautious when going down a dune as you are forced to the front of the camel, and the camel often sinks into the sand a wee bit when doing downhill.

I pulled out my MP3 player and started listening to some low groove music, and just really enjoyed the moment.

After about 25 minutes we came to the site with Tents, the sky was nearly dark now and we got off our camels.

There was a square of small tents, not very high, maybe 3 feet or so with a clearing, the centre about 20 feet x 20 feet.

Mohab bought out mats and placed them around and placed a table in the middle. It was now very dark and a kerosene lamp was bought out. It provided a nice ambient light around us.

About 30 minutes later we were eating bread and a tajine and berber whisky (mint tea) that Mohab had made for us.

There were no knives or forks, we were eating berber style, with our fingers.

You rip some bread off and use it to scoop up the food, there were two rules

  • No visiting your neighbours food
  • No double dipping with your bread

We finished up with slices of melon and oranges.

After dinner we were asked if we wanted to sleep in the tent or under the stars. We choose the stars. They removed the table and placed 4 mattresses 2x2 down and put a sheet down, and 5 large blankets on top.

It was very nice, sleeping under the stars, the only problem was the moon was out so you did not see as many stars as if the moon was not showing.

A very nice ending to a great day looking up at the stars and moon.

Copyright © Chris & Pam - 2020