Sleeping between the stars
Hola! Second part of our desert trip is now here!
So! After passing by Ouarzazate, “the door of the desert”, the scenery slowly changes. Each step closer to the desert gets us to more and more desolated lands and isolated towns, not slight trace of people on the streets or in the houses, sand taking over the sidewalks and the walls, everything looks abandoned with a creepy movie feeling overall. All of this while barely making it through the heat, so I can only suppose that everyone is hiding in the coolest corners of their houses. Each step closer to the desert meant another Celsius degree more and the car sensor was already showing 50 degrees Celsius.
We were taken to a hotel close to the Erg Chebbi sand dunes that we were going to cross to get to a nomad tent where we were supposed to have dinner and spend the night. But we had to wait until 6 o’clock in the evening, so that the sun was less harsh for us to throw ourselves into neverland, and guess what? Most unexpected and welcome surprise: the hotel has a pool!!! So yeah, swimsuit on and let’s refreshen ourselves (Lesson 1: ALWAYS take your swimsuit with you, no matter where you’re heading to – even if it’s a sand desert!)! Honestly, these were the best 2 hours of the whole road trip, even if the pool water was warm as hell, but relaxing there and enjoying a delicious mint tea from the house was so welcome after spending hours stuck in a boiling car!
And afterwards, hop on the camel and let’s ride these dunes! Camel ride disclosure: it’s all fun and games in the first 15 minutes, then 15 minutes of silence follow, enjoying the apparently never-ending desert (although you could easily just spoil everything by turning your head and admiring the road and the hotel left behind, but let’s not do that for the sake of the story) and finally one hour of “are we there yet?”, while crying inside of how bad your thighs hurt.
Uh, oh! And the sand of Erg Chebbi dunes has a reddish tint! I was really convinced that the desert was going to be more yellowish, but apparently here it was quite red. I just hope those dunes were not some improvisation for touristic purpose, haha. 😀
Well, prepare yourselves for a bunch of sandy photos!
We arrived at the camp after the sun already set. It was already dark, but we guided ourselves by the glittering lights from the tents. The tents were organized around a main center places with tables and rugs, where we all gathered for finally filling our bellies. The food was DELICIOUS & freshly cooked – one of the best tagines I had in Morocco – and the night was fun, singing and dancing randomly with the other people there.
I also tried some sandboarding, which was quite a failure, as the boards were broken and I could just hop on them and struggle to slide down the sand dune without any success.
What was truly, absolutely spectacular was the night sky. One of the clearest skies I’ve seen in my life! You could basically distinguish every little star, even the most distant ones, and the Milky Way was so beautifully visible and it felt you could almost touch it and glide your fingers along it. I remember seeing such wonderful night skies only once or twice in my life before, but from remote villages in the Romanian mountains.
We left early in the morning to catch the sunrise and then off to return to Marrakech… or in our case, off to Fez. We split from the group and took a local bus.. now this was a whole adventure itself! But about that in a future story 😉