Day 9 (cont'd): Merzouga Sand Dunes, Sahara Desert
sahara Travel Blog› entry 15 of 25 › view all entries
That afternoon, we finally arrived to the hotel at the edge of the desert where we met our guides, the Blue Men of the Desert (the Berbers) who would guide us through the Merzouga Sand Dunes in the Sahara. This was it, the moment I had been waiting for throughout my whole trip, to ride a camel through the Sahara. We took only what we needed in our daypacks (which I had packed the night before) and off we went to find our camels. Well, we smelled them before we saw them. They were awesome. They had those cute faces with those beautiful long eyelashes which protect their eyes from the sand. We were each led to a camel. Our guides helped us mount them and tied our camels together in groups of about three. We waved goodbye to Mustafa and Achraf (they stayed back at the hotel) then off we went into the Sahara.
The vastness and beauty of the Sahara is beyond words. You really have to see and experience it to understand what I mean. The color of the sand is so vibrant, it is just amazing. After a bit, we made our first stop. We stopped by a Sand Dune so that we could climb and see the sun set over the desert. Well, I'll admit it, I am very out of shape and was only able to make it two-thirds of the way up the Dune. Only a very few of us made it almost to the top. So we just sat down and took pictures as we saw the sun start the set. It was beautiful. Then came the fun part of going down the dune. The Berbers fondly call it "Beber ski". What they do is have you sit down on the sand and then grab you by your feet and basically drag you down the dune on your ass.
We climbed back on our camels and headed off to our Berber campsite for the night. Before we arrived one of the girls, Helen, who was on an opposite Dune from ours, took a picture of a few us as we were sillhoutted against the sunset. I have included that picture below. We finally arrived at our campsite where we were led to our respective Berber tents.
Outside in the center of all the tents, they had a dinner table already set up for us. Before sitting down to eat, though, the Berbers served us the customary hot mint tea which we drank as we sat around the warm fire they had going.
There we were after dinner, just hanging out in the Sahara with the Blue Men of the Desert. Then came the entertaintment. They brought out their drums and tambourine/castinet-like instruments and started playing for us. The singing and dancing came soon afterwards. Then, one by one, we were all pulled up to join in on the dancing. We even had belly dancing lessons from of the members of our tour, Margaret, who at one time was a belly dancer. It was blast. A night that I will always remember and treasure.