Where am I? Would you believe in a Bedouin Desert Camp in the Sahara? That!s right. How did we get here and why even go there?
Let’s pick up when the day started. We were staying in a Casbah in the town of Erfoud. I woke up at 7:45 to the sound of Olivia milling around. Had a great nights sleep in a huge bed. We rushed down to breakfast. Breakfast was a kaleidoscope of Moroccan food. I had a Moroccan man make me a huge egg omelette and sat drinking that great Moroccan coffee.
We then boarded the bus to go to a daily market in Erfoud. Outside of a few major cities, there are no supermarkets in Morocco. People go to the market daily and buy everything fresh. Canned goods are almost nonexistent. We walked through the aisles looking in amazement at the food vendors. Many of the vendors were selling dates. This region is the biggest producer of dates in Morocco. The people hand pick the dates. They climb up a large date palm tree and cut the branches down that have the dates. They then collect them from the ground. By the way, you can walk around our Casbah and pick the dates off the palm trees and eat them. No charge. How cool is that? Dates are one of my favorites. A perfect food made by nature. One thing I noticed was that there were much more women wearing burkas in Erfoud. Erfoud is a Berber town. They are the majority. Our guide then took us to a local bakery. A local food is bread pies made stuffed with meat, chicken and vegetables. People on bicycles were loading up baskets to sell the bread. It was then onto a Berber housing complex. Around 75 families lived in this housing complex that was made of adobe with long and winding alleyways. We saw an elderly woman wearing a burka filling large bottles with water at the unlicensed well. How different our lives are. It was then onto a fossil museum. Fossils are found all over the edges of the Sahara. The store was like a stone quarry where big pieces of rock were cut and carved to expose the fossils.
We then traveled back to the hotel for lunch and a short time to relax. Lunch, of course, was spectacular. We all sat around the pool baking in the warm Sahara sun wondering what lies ahead.
We all boarded four by fours for the afternoon ride at 3:30. Our main luggage was kept at the hotel and we only brought what we needed for two days. When we Erfoud we drove over a dried river into the Sahara. Desert as far as the eye could see. At first we traveled on a single lane road that was partially paved. We turned off to visit a Berber family living in their traditional nomadic way. They lived in tents and little huts built out of clay and palm tree shoots. The family were sheep and goat herders. We saw their kitchen and large sleeping area. Everyone slept together in a large tent.
After leaving the Berber family we turned off the road and onto the desert floor. I remember traveling like this in Western Mongolia and the Gobi. No roads. Just our six four by four making a lot of dust as we traveled on the hard and then soft surface. We all met on top of a large hill and facing us were sand dunes. I clicked away at this beautiful sight. We then got back into our vehicles for the long drive towards the sand dunes. We stopped at a desert outpost to use the restroom facilities. Next to the area were men with large herds of camels waiting. I ignored my urges and walked around the back to take some excellent pictures of the dunes and the camel herders. The Gobi is said to have the largest sand dunes in the world and I can say that that is true. These sand dunes seemed more beautiful. It was around 5 PM and the colors were truly astounding. We then got back into our vehicles for a short ride to a group of camel herders with their camels. It was now time to really become Moroccan. We all got on a camel and rode through the dunes. Olivia was in back of me. Seeing her on a camel in the Sahara was a true treat and a memory that will last me for the rest of my life. We rode the camels for about thirty minutes, up and down the dunes, to the base of a large dune. We then got off the camels and were helped up the sand dune to watch the sun set over the Sahara. What a way to end the light of the day. Seeing the sun set over beautiful sand dunes and watching the sun change the colors. Almost indescribable. Hope my pictures do it justice.
Some of us were held by our feet by the camel herders and dragged down the dune. Myself and Olivia went along fir this unique ride. It was then back on our camels for a thirty minute ride to our Camp.
When we arrived at the Camp, local musicians were playing traditional Berber music and warmly greeted us. We then were assigned our tents for the night. Our tents are nice with toilets and a stall shower. Not like the Yerts I used in Mongolia. The band played on and we all sat around a campfire. Olivia asked our tour guide what the password was? What password? Will we survive without the internet? I am sure we will. It was then time for dinner. Vegetable soup, chicken and a large Berber bread pie filled with meat, chicken and vegetables. Need I say more. The band played again for us and one of the musicians danced with a tray of hot tea in six cubs on his head. Try that. Not one drop spilled.
We are getting up for sunrise at 7 AM. That should be something.
A special day and experience in Morocco