Sunday, July 29, 2012
Riding Camel in The Sahara Desert
A camel ride in Morocco’s Sahara Desert is a truly captivating way to experience one of the country’s most spectacular destinations. In Morocco, there are two great places to experience the real Sahara. The rocky version in located just south of Zagora, near M’hamid, in an area called Erg Chigaga. This area is a bit more rustic and less visited than the rolling, golden sand dunes found in Erg Chebbi, located near Merzouga.
Both areas of Morocco’s Sahara Desert are accessible from Marrakesh. Merzouga is the better choice, however, if you are departing from Fez. The drive from Fez takes a good seven hours to reach the edge of the dunes.
From Marrakesh, any number of Morocco tours will begin in Marrakesh and cross over the riveting Tizi nTichka Pass, which winds over the High Atlas Mountains. It takes five hours to reach Ait Ben Haddou or Quarzazate from Marrakesh, both good stops for a quick bite to eat.
Ait Ben Haddou is perhaps the most famous site in Morocco. It was used in many films like The Mummy and Gladiator. You can even go farther back and learn that Ait Ben Haddou was used for Lawrence of Arabia and Jewel of the Nile. Ait Ben Haddou still resembles its 11th century heritage. Mostly this is from the remodels Hollywood has made over the years to keep it looking the same. The Kasbah offers a brief break for you to look around and then shop at the souvenir locations.
Ouarzazate is home to Atlas studios where tourists like you can enter and take a tour of the movie sets. There is also a Kasbah that was once owned by the Glaouis family. The family ruled Morocco. Ouarzazate is an important junction in Morocco for many reasons. It is where the Atlas, Draa, and Dades valleys converge and a modern, small city.
After passing through the Valley of 1000 Kasbahs, in Skoura, it is another seven hours to Merzouga, so it is good to choose one of these aforementioned locations to spend the night.
Sahara Desert Camel Ride in MoroccoThe camel trek begins at the desert’s edge, whether in Zagora or Merzouga. After choosing a camel fitting to your own personality, it’s time to head out. Most camel tours in Morocco last no more than two hours; the camels are one-humped and not the most comfortable. Additionally, this means that one can depart just before sunset to get the desert in its most astounding light. After a meal, dancing, and a night watching the stars (or sleeping in your Bivouac tent), you can refresh yourself with a shower and breakfast back at the hotel.
Along the way home, the Todra Gorge and Dades Valley should be high on anyone’s list. The Todra Gorge is an impressive canyon. The red rock walls will rise around you, and you will marvel at how time has created the gorge. It is possible to take an afternoon trek before heading on to the Dades Valley for your evening stay.
There are other tours where you can spend more time on a camel if you wish. However, this above venture highlights the most beautiful sections of the Sahara Desert in Morocco