Since all our guides are coming from Merzouga, we would love to tell you something about our famous nature neighbour: the Sahara desert. The Sahara desert covers about 9 million square kilometer and just a tiny bit lays in Morocco. It is the largest hot desert in the world. And although it is very hot in the summer we think it is a pretty cool neighbour to have. In this blog we will tell you about the 8 things you can see and do in the Sahara desert.
So why do we think our neighbour is so cool. Well first of all because it can be really cool. The temperature drops in the winter. It even can snow. But we selected 8 things that we think are just really nice to see and/or to do when you come to the desert: climb the high dunes, ride a camel, watch the wild life, surf the sand dunes, experience the temperature, take a sand bath, ride a quad and experience the nomad life.
1. Climb the high dunes
When you visit the Sahara with us you will see it immediately. The dunes are really high. The highest dune is about 150m. Ones you are in between the dunes it is easy to get lost when you are not familiar. But our guides know this area very well. Most of them grew up there because they are nomads. They also know the way because the dunes only grow higher but they never move. The wind has no effect on the placement of the dune.
But the sun does. During the day the sand has a golden orange color, while in the evening the sand turns to a more copper color. The changing of the colors is a perfect moment to take pictures. You can make the best pictures when you ride a camel and when you sit down for sunset or sunrise.
The best view is from a really high dune behind one of the tourist nomad camps. The walk to the top is hard and will take about 30 – 45 minutes but the view is amazing. In the evening you can also watch the many stars here. You will be truly amazed by the clarity of the sky, the total darkness and the massive amount of stars. On the top of a dune you will feel like you are amongst the stars. It is truly an amazing experience we cannot get enough of.
If you want to make picture of the stars make sure you camera is up to it. We know that good cameras can do this, but most older phone cameras just make a black picture. Try it out at home, make a picture on a clear night and see if you camera is all set for this great experience in the desert.
(If you really want to see the stars: book a trip when it is not full moon. A full moon is really bright so you’ll see less stars).
2. Ride a camel..or should we say dromedary.
In Morocco we say camels, but actually the animal that is used the most is a dromedary. But since everybody talks about camels we shall do the same and hope the dromedary doesn't mind. The camel ride is an experience on its own. It starts with getting on top of them. Camels are very large animals, so while they are laying on the floor you will be getting on his back. So far that is easy. But when it stands up the rollercoaster effect kicks in. It first gets on his back legs, so your body will fall over when you don’t pay attention. No need to be scared though. Just listen to our camel man. He is a professional and knows what the camel wants and needs. But he also knows what you need: a handle bar. So hold on to that and you will be fine. Now you can enjoy the ride. These animals are called the ships of the desert for a reason. When you sit on the back of this amazing animal you will feel like a captain on your own ship. A ship that can master many storms since it will easily climb the highest dune. But make sure you will hold on to your camera while the camel is moving. Ships do go up and down in this sea of dunes.
3. Watch the wild life
On the back of a camel you will not see so much wild life. But these camels will take you to a nomad camp in the middle of the desert. With any luck you will see the cutest fox we know: the desert fox. But there are also scorpions, snakes and birds. You will get an opportunity to make a perfect photo. What you also can find are cats. Why cats: cats live in many of the camps to scare off the scorpions and to make sure you have scorpion free night. But if you are allergic to our furry helpers please take some anti-allergy medication when you visit the camp.
4. Go sandboarding in the dunes.
In the Sahara desert the sand dunes are so high that it is a perfect opportunity to go sandboarding. This is a very popular activity in Merzouga. Just climb the golden dunes with the sand board and slide down. Just be careful, it is not like snow. If you want to do this: let our guide know and he will arrange this for you.
5. Experience the temperature of the Sahara.
You like warm weather? Well you got it. Because in the summer time the Sahara becomes very hot, about 45 to 55 degrees. Even for our guides this is a bit hot, so if you like a more suitable temperature we advise you to visit the Sahara in spring or autumn. The temperature will be around 30-40 degrees then, but because it is a dry heath you will not sweat so much. Still we advise you to drink plenty of bottled water. Take a shawl with you that you can put over your head and neck. and don't forget your sunscreen. Our guides can help you to make a turbine. Nothing with you: no problem. Just tell our guide, he will show you where you can buy lovely looking turbines that you also can wear at home as a shawl. In our winter time the temperature is still very nice during the day, but the nights can get very cold, even freezing. So if you want to sleep in the nomad camp; make sure you have enough clothes with you to stay warm.
6. Take a sand bath.
We know, it sounds weird. Why would you want to take a bath in the very hot sand? But the high temperature in the summer make the sand very suitable for a sand bath. The sand bath is ancient treatment of nomads. They say it will cure muscle pain, skin diseases, back pain, and it will help with rheumatism, and it is most effective in the heat of summer months of July and August. So it is not a spa bath, but it is an experience that might just help you with some physical problems and defiantly is a Sahara experience.
7. Ride a quad.
You can explore the Sahara not only by camel, but also by a quad. You will have the chance to live another adventure!!! Rent a quad and drive it in dunes of the Erg Chebbi desert (part of the Sahara desert- Merzouga), and you will explore the rough landscape of the desert. Just tell our guides and he will arrange a ride that includes a guide. Remember don’t go alone: the dunes all look the same.
8. Experience nomad life
All our guides grew up in the desert and most of them as nomads. That is why we think we can show you the best from the desert and also show you the nomad way of life. Nomads life in the Sahara desert is a a simple life, and non-sedentary way of life. Nomads move from place to place for work and food. The nomads that life in the Sahara have animals like goats, sheep and dromedaries, and they will follow them in order to get food and fresh water. Wherever there is food for those animals, the nomads family will set up the tents and stay for a while. You can see that although life is simple they are very happy people and very open. The kids grow up with the will to help anyone and they respect nature. Most kids go to school nowadays so they also get educated in that way. It is a hard way of living being away from modern facilities. But you will see that the nomad families have the basic needs, even electricity by solar panels. We would love to show you this way of life, even experience it by having a meal or some tea with a nomad family. But it is easy to start being a nomad in one of the camps in the desert. Although these camps are for tourist, you will sleep in a traditional tent, have a lovely home cooked meal and you can enjoy the life music.
Want to book a desert tour in the Sahara?
We hope you are as enthusiast about the Sahara as we are. Are you curious and want to explore the desert with us. Just look at the different tours we have. We have a 3 day desert tour starting from Marrakech or Fès from 75 euro per person if you drive yourself. This includes 2 nights in a hotel, 1 night in a desert camp, 1 camel ride, all dinners and breakfast.
Just the two of you and want to sit back and take in all there is too see: Then book a tour with a driver. You will be driven by a driver in a luxury 4X4 car. This tour including the hotels, the camp, camel ride, dinners and breakfast is 300 euro per person.
Are you in a group of 6 people; then this tour includes the hotels, a night in a desert camp, a camel ride, dinners and breakfast but also a driver and transport for just 150 euro per person.
Want to go with the whole family or 16 friends…no problem. For 100 euro per person you will get the same deal: the hotels, the night in the camp, the camel ride, dinners and breakfast, plus transport, a driver and also a personal guide.
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