When in Morocco, you cannot miss out on the chance to take a camel ride in the Sahara Desert! I might even dare to say it was the highlight of my trip to Morocco. In the early morning, a group of us, eager camel riders-to-be, packed into a van and headed out from Marrakech. The excitement in the van had us all buzzing, we couldn’t wait to get to the camel ride! Well, the bus ride is pretty long as it turns out, Merzouga being nearly a full day’s drive away from the hustle and bustle of Marrakech. We each had the option of taking a shorter trip to Ouarzazate, which is closer, but then again it looks much less like the beautiful image we all had of the Sahara Desert. So we settled in for our three day journey, which would take us to the soft sandy picturesque dunes of Merzouga and Erg Chebbi.
Along the way we had a few stops, which allowed us to see more of Morocco than we would’ve otherwise seen. We drove through the Atlas Mountains, which separate the coast and major cities like Marrakech from the harsh desert landscape of the Sahara.
We stopped at Ait Benhaddou, which is an old desert town were The Gladiator and Game of Thrones and other popular movies have been filmed.
We stopped at a Berber village, where we could see indigenous folks farming the land and weaving the rugs that are famously sold all around the country.
And we stopped at Dades Gorge, a massive gorge cutting through cliffsides made by the Dades River.
Finally we made it out to Merzouga. We saddled up onto our camels, which were so sweet and gentle. And we began our camel caravan out through the desert, winding through the dunes of Erg Chebbi, some of the largest in North Africa. We rode into the sunset, all the way out to our camp in the desert. After dinner and some dancing to tribal music, we settled in for a night of sleep under the stars. There were more stars in the sky than I have ever seen, shining bright and scattered all across the sky. It was incredible. We left camp while it was still dark, so that we could ride our camels into the sunrise. What a beautiful morning, one I will never forget! We spent the ride back that day going over all the great moments of our camel ride in the Sahara Desert.
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