Day 1: Marrakech – Tizi Ntichka – Kasbah Ait Ben Hadou – Ouarzazate – Dades Valley
So many places I traveled tend to change over time, but none as dramatic as Morocco Sahara Desert! The desert has always been so static so placid…so evasive!
As I am getting older, I find peacefulness in the things that make time stop. Just the simple act of listening to my body breathe, to my heart beats, and to my thoughts speak, becomes significant when I am in the Sahara. That silence that surrounds the dunes, the sight of chilled camels chewing their food, the breeze of air mixed with sand grains and the emptiness and vastness, all of its detoxifies my soul.
Talking about the Sahara is a magical thing for a handful of words, nothing can describe its greatness nor the disarray of feelings you get when you are in its presence.
When the 3 days desert tour kicked off, I was saying my goodbyes to the hectic Marrakech city, longing to end my journey in the Sahara, and have some peace of mind and tranquility as last. I was preparing myself emotionally to my meeting with Morocco Sahara Desert as this had been my life-long awaiting meeting. It was a long drive to Merzouga but the sceneries made it enjoyable.
Driving down the road and witnessing the sceneries changing was the highlight of the trip. The spectacular sights on the road made me ponder and conflict, and at the same time, realize that I had never seen nature at its finest as I was seeing it that day!
First stop was a local café that is built on the edge of a hill. And guess what was its backyard? An actual mountain! When the driver stopped in front of the café, I thought that it was just a normal stop that you would make to stretch your legs and rub your shoulders. When I went inside the café place and followed the crowed of people heading to its balcony, I could not disguise my astonishment upon seeing the view! A whole mountain was in my face and I could not take in the literary breath taking view! No matter how much or long I starred I was still not able to take in the greatness of what I was seeing. I felt as if my brain was trying to take screenshots of the view for future reminiscent moments.
After taking amazing life-lasting pictures, we continued the road again through Tizzi N’Tichka pass, one of the most majestic passes of Morocco separating the east and west parts of the High Atlas Mountains. Then our next stop was Kasbah Ait Ben Haddou, a Berber Village. The village was so ancient that I lost my self in time! With its Kasbbas and tight passages and old houses. As I was walking my way to the village, I stopped for a moment and I gazed at the village. What separated me from it was a river, once I cross it and I am in its premises. The village was put together as if it were one unit and just by taking a look from the distance, I could not help but noticing that it was shaped in the form of a maze, and Oh how much I love mazes! I was already ready to get lost inside the village, and getting lost I did!! I crossed the river and helped myself through the narrow footpaths, the village was nothing but sublime. It definitely was a labyrinth. One cannot help himself without being astonished at the life style of the villagers and the fact that they preserved their heritage and history for centuries. The whole adventure has carried me to a nostalgic remote past where people live a simple and eco-friendly life surrounded by nature in a picturesque village hidden in rural Morocco!
We continued our way down the south for more rocking adventures. We spent the night at Dades Valley and hit the road again in the morning.
Day 2: Dades Valley – Tinghir – Erfoud – Merzouga – Erg Chebbi
The highlight of the second day was another Berber village. What amazed me most about this village is its female entrepreneurs and the business they had established for themselves. They make eco-friendly handmade carpets from scratch, even the colors they used are made from natural substances. Their carpets were unique and did not look like anything I had seen before, and the way they were patterned definitely needed a moment of silence to appreciate their artistic value. These females’ entrepreneurs were not afraid to shake up social norms and be empowered in order to conquer the patriarchal society in which they were living. These women’s ambitions left a deep imprint in my soul and my heart grew at least twofold.
In the afternoon of the second day we finally made it to Merzouga, then to Erg Chebbi. The first thing I did before riding the camel was taking off my sneakers and wore my sandals so that I feel the sand grains in my feet. Seeing the desert was not satisfying enough, I wanted to feel it and hear it.
After I was introduced to my camel I rode it and I was eager for him to take me to the heart of the Sahara. My patience at that moment reached its lowest point and my adrenalin was rushing down my veins. At last, the camel got on his feet and at that moment I wished for the time to slow down. I wanted my ride to the camp site- where we were going to spend the night – to be as long as it could possibly be! I did not want to get enough from the Sahara. One sand hill at a time, we reached our tents located in the middle of nowhere in the Sahara.
Soon afterwards I found myself in a sweet and savory whirl of magical aromas at our Sahara desert camp, as I walked down the huge hall where the dinner feast was being held, entertained by local music. The tajin they served was delightfully tasty and the company of the people who took the trip with me made it even more enjoyable. After dinner, I went with my friends to take a walk under the beautiful dark sky. We rolled down sand dunes over and over until our bodies refused to cooperate and then lied there in the sand looking up in the sky and getting lost with our thoughts!
Day 3: Say goodbye to Morocco Sahara desert & drive back to Marrakech
The desert makes it a great companion when you don’t want to be around people and when you want to be around them! And I chose to experience it with the company of good friends. It sooths and comforts, yet, it does not ask for anything.
This adventure was everything I had longed for and more. A fine mixture of culture, history and good food, all in an amazing 3 days desert desert adventure to Erg Chebbi from Marrakech!