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Morocco Travel Diaries: Sahara Desert Experience

My excursion in the desert has been a beautiful one and the most wonderful learning experience I had so far in life. But at the same time, the toughest and very challenging because of the brutal heat and living in a way that I have never experienced before.
I spent the five days with the Nomads of the Sahara Desert. Truly grateful to had the chance to travel with them.  I will treasure all the memories and the stories they’ve shared with me – about their life stories, their dreams in life, and living the desert life. I’ve learned a lot from them. We decided to travel this way rather than going through the usual travel packages.
With Nomads of the Desert
With the Nomads of the Sahara Desert in Morocco
The best part of this experience for me aside from the food (we mostly had vegetable salad which were really good) is sleeping under the moon and stars with the camels. No tent, just our blanket. It’s once in a lifetime experience for me. I would wake up in the middle of the night because the moon is just too bright and I would hide my face under the blanket just so I can sleep again. We’d wake in the morning and see some small footprints. Our tour guides said they’re footprints of desert mice. Looking back, I’m really grateful to have had that kind of experience.
On our second night, Shiek one of our tour guides showed us how to make a bread without using an oven but only using the sand and few woods that we just picked up. I was just amazed on how he was able to do that. It was surprisingly very tasty though!
Sahara Desert Experience
I was just in awe when I saw the beautiful sand dunes for the first time and even up to now, every time I remember it. I just couldn’t believe to see the majestic sand dunes in person. I feel like I was a happy kid that during our first day in the desert, I’d kept on jumping, running, playing and drawing in the sand.
On the other side, this experience in the desert is very challenging — hours of walking under the extreme heat (45°C temperature!) of the sun, dehydration that no matter how much water you drink, you’re still thirsty and all want to do is to dream of iced cold water or any iced cold drinks. I’ve never craved for too much water in my whole life other than in the desert. The nomads would give me warm Moroccan mint tea and they said it helps for quenching thirst, which surprisingly really did help me.
Every wind that touches your skin feels like a heatwave. I experienced not showering for few days which I just washed my face and brushed my teeth with whatever water we have. I experienced having nosebleeds from day 1 until the end of my stay there; getting sunburns (I actually appreciate the weird tan lines I got by the way!) and blisters on my toes.
One of the most unforgettable for me is that I learned how to dig holes in the sand to poop and pee there which is quite an experience! (Ha! Pretend you didn’t read that here!)
Camp in the Sahara Desert
On our last day in the desert, we spent it in a “luxury” camp because of the bad weather where they have a shower/toilet area. It’s “luxury” in the sense that you will stay in a decent tent with bed, mirror, and they will provide you with towels. They have a shared shower and toilet area. But the water is quite hot even in the evening! They also have a dining area and they serve cold drinks, a campfire area. Traveling in the desert during COVID, I’ve only seen two French tourists who stayed with us in the luxury camp.
I also experienced a sandstorm in the desert! Good thing, we were inside the tent when a sandstorm passed by. I just covered my face fully so the sand won’t get into my eyes and nose, and hoping the tent won’t get blown by the wind.
And instead of walking and riding the camels, we just continued our journey with a car because of the brutal heat that we can’t endure.
With Berber People in the Sahara Desert
We were on our way going back M’hamid, when our guide stopped by a group of Berbers who were trying to fix a solar panel so they can help them. While our guides are helping them, I also want to be useful and not just watch so I tried helping the kids fetch some water from the well and fill the water bottles, and put them at the back of the donkeys. I was surprised that the donkeys know the direction that they will go going to their village once the kids signal them to start walking by tapping their backs. We haven’t spoken any words other than just through smiles, nods, and simple Salam and Shukran. This is one of the simple days in my life that I will treasure.
The desert is so much more than the heat and its beautiful sand dunes, it’s full of life and stories.
A mother camel with her 2-day old baby

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