Desert tour – Cold nights, camels and camping in the desert

 I reached Morocco apprehensive, not knowing this bunch of people that well but everything turned out good or better than imagined :’)

It’s hard to believe I was here. I honestly never thought I’d find myself in Africa, so this was something off my bucket list, stepping into a region that always felt so faraway and foreign to me.

sunrise from the desert, as we rode our camels towards the sun. it was lovely and calming and soothing, much unlike the evening before when we rode in the sunset.

that evening was close to horrible; the wind relently tossed sand into our eyes and i could barely open them to see. i had never been so thankful for shades, and the sky was getting darker and it was cold and we were on the camel for what felt like an infinite amount of time. my hands were freezing and my bag kept slipping and i wondered when we were going to get off. finally we did, stumbled into our tent (no electrical plug, boo) did not manage to take a shower and the night was cold.

nonetheless when you step out of the tent the sky was so so beauitful, the stars. I’ve always heard about how beautiful the starry skies of the desert are and it is, truly, the most beautiful starry skies i’ve ever seen. so bright and glowing and just so many of them, looking up make me feel so insignificant under the grandeur of nature, and i liked feeling that way. except that the wind kept blowing and i couldnt open my eyes for long as the sand relentlessly attacked my eyes.

that evening we gathered in a huge tent where all the travellers had our dinner together. after dinner there was some performance, and then the guide started telling jokes and riddles. it was a hilarious night because of the ‘tibit’ joke where this man insisted that tibet was spelt as tibit HAHAHAHA (okay maybe its really different in different cultural contexts) and then we all started saying random riddles and everyone was laughing and it was his birthday and the guide came back with a makeshift cake – bread with jam sliced into happy pieces and he spread the joy to all of us. Celebrating your 60th birthday in the Sahara desert, how absolutely lovely! I would love, love love to do something like that.

Late night conversations

Morocco – Zagora trip!

A month later I am still gasping at how beautiful this city is. After so many European cities slowly (sadly) gradually blending into a streak of common landscapes Morocco took my breath away.
(photo stolen from jamie) 
When I was first landing I was so excited I could hardly breathe. It was the first time I found myself flying over breathtaking desert dunes and I was so excited I was about to burst in my seat. Half-hyperventilating in my seat I looked around wildly to see if anyone felt the same, but everyone seemed pretty calm although the couple sitting next to me caught my eye and gave me an odd smile (and perhaps a look of twinkling understanding)
But really?!!?! Flying over the Sahara desert?!?! My gosh this was the coolest thing that’s ever happened to me (at that point, but at this point I met 2 astronauts and an actress so randomly these are pretty cool as well) 
Travel companions 🙂
Look so shitty here, but the night before we stayed up the entire night talking, just talking. This means more to me than anyone can understand, except for you, because I know you feel the same. Thank you. 🙂
dusty doors
You could see elements of French and that was interesting in that from the landscape itself I could readily see the remnants of its colonial past, as with the Russian signs I saw in Latvia

Our tour itinerary, if i’m not wrong:
This tour will introduce you to the Sahara desert and the south of Morocco. Not everybody is fit to go on this trip though, it involves about 08 hours drive each day. This is the perfect trip for those short on time but can’t afford missing a trip to the Sahara desert wit a camel trek and a night sleep under the stars in a desert camp.
Day 01:  
Marrakech – Ait Ben Haddou – Draa Valley – Zagora.
Leaving in the morning to Zagora throught the High Atlas mountains by the Tizi n’Tichka pass (2260m.alt) and numerous of Berber villages,then arrive the Kasbah of Ait Ben Haddou for a short visit and continue to Zagora passing by the Anti Atlas mountains, the Berber village of Agdez and Draa Valley with its millions of palm tree plantation which is considerded the largest one in Morocco. Arrive to Zagora late afternoon and get ready for a camel trek towards the dunes to admire the sunset and spend the night in a Sahara desert camp.

Day 02: 
Zagora – Draa Valley-Ouarzazate  – Marrakech.
Wake up early  to enjoy the sunrise over the dunes, ride your camel back to Zagora to reach your vehicule, then drive through the Draa valley and Agdez and continue to Ouarzazate where you visit the Taourirt Kasbah ( lunch on the spot). Afternoon drive back to Marrakech.

An unreliable representation of Marrakech, Morocco

First night in Morocco
Smoke, crowds and Arabic.
We navigated along the chaotic streets, fumes in the air, throngs of people in the crowds. People were constantly walking past me and I was dazed. The traffic was chaotic from my risk-averse point of view. (Refraining from being judgemental)
I sincerely feared for my life as we crossed (crossed? Gosh, squeezing past the cars and pleading with my heart they will slow down) the roads in the evening.
The night square was lively, and filled with people. There was a film Fest going on, and at one point the woman flashed her tits. The crowd cheered.
We got lost on the way back, it was dark and the brown alleys blended into one. The stalls, the hanging lights, the Arabic signs I could not fathom for abit, they melded into one long street. We walked and we walked, ‘this looks familiar’, ‘I think we turned this way’. We turned into a narrow alley, hoping to find number 45- and we did, except we were in the wrong lane. We rung the door bell anyway, and a lady in blue appeared. We showed her the address, and she shook her head and pointed ahead.
She led us out along the alley (Fig. 1), past the group of teenage boys gathered kicking a tin can under the dim light, out to the main streets and turned right. We followed ahead. I followed because I did not know where else and how else to go. We walked and walked and walked, and she asked in a language I could not comprehend, presumably Arabic, some shopkeeper on the way. They called the number on our lodge’s namecard, and we walked on, and then a man waved and we knew we were near. We bid our dear lady goodbye, thanked her, and I blessed humanity for all of its goodness. Navigated through the indistinguishable alleyways and reached the lodge safely, bumping into a group of men gathered at the front of our lodge’s door.
I quietly heaved a sigh of relief as I entered.

Fig. 1

dusty doors with its gracefully curled patterns