~ Into the Sahara Desert, South Morocco
After enriching myself in the passionate Moroccan city culture this desert experience is exactly what I need. Driving away from the small city of Merzouga the dust blows away my stress. You somehow realize how big the world is, when you’re standing in the middle of the desert with nothing but vast sand hills around you.
If you don’t die of thirst, there are blessings in the desert. You can be pulled into limitlessness, which we all yearn for, or you can do the beauty of minutiae, the scrimshaw of tiny and precise. The sky is your ocean, and the crystal silence will uplift you like great gospel music, or Neil Young. ~ Anne Lamott
The violence of city life begins to rest and that crystal silence sinks in. No chance to go on Wi-Fi and nothing but the sound of a few birds. We arrive early in the afternoon and the sun is still high up in the pastel painted sky. The warmth of the sun makes your body quiet and suddenly there is time to read a book. Refreshments are served. The taste of limejuice and salty chips awaken my senses after a week of Moroccan herbs and tea. The staff is amazing. They serve you with a gentle and welcoming smile. After my book I take a walk around the camp. The color-changing sunset just started and this large ball of light above the dunes is slowly sinking into place.
Behind the camp the camels slowly walk to their resting spot and this peaceful image evokes emotions. There is nothing here. Just nature. The way the locals have become one with mother earth is inspiring and moving. Chop woods to make a fire. Cook on charcoals outside the camp. Build ways to protect their home against the vicious wind. The desert is home to the Berbers, a harsh but beautiful home.
“ I don’t go to school, the desert is my school ” ~ Local Berber
The next morning we get up at six. The camels are waiting to take us further into the desert to one of the highest ridges; where we can see the sunrise. The attendant is friendly and patient with his animals. It is inevitable to wonder how animals are treated when there are tourists in the game, and I feel a bit uncomfortable the first steps. These animals radiate peace and after a few minutes I feel calm and secure to ride towards the sun. The pace of the animals is a rhythm in itself and with the sounds of the morning it is the perfect song. The sunrise is magical, and sitting on that ridge I understand again; we need to slow down once in a while. Get out there, see something new, go on an adventure. Discover the ways of nature and feel the power of the wind.
This Luxury Camp is all I could ask for when looking for a real desert experience. Erg Chebbi is one of Morocco’s two Saharan ergs – large seas of dunes formed by wind-blown sand. This is one of earth’s most spectacular landscapes. Take a sunset camel ride or watch the sunrise. Try sand boarding and in the evening, enjoy a Moroccan campfire dinner and drum circle before falling asleep under the stars. Walk bare feet in the warm and soft sea of sand. Be vulnerable and feel your place again.
Written by Hannah Sophia