A trip to this us of a opens Zalina Mohd Som’s eyes to its extensive beauty. “You are coming with me,” says the person standing simply an arm’s reach from me whilst pulling my hand towards his camel without watching for my solution. I can’t tell whether he’s joking or serious for the tail of his vibrant orange turban covering his face and simplest leaves his deep darkish brown eyes exposed. And those eyes share no clue by any means. Everything took place pretty rapidly. We had got down from our 4×4 automobiles after a 45-minute force from our 4-star inn inside the nearby town of Erfoud when the drivers of our automobiles signaled to the group of Berber men to return nearer.
By the look of it, those guys, the indigenous people of Morocco, were expecting our arrival. With their unswerving camels sitting next to them, they seem like they’re all prepared to take us somewhere. It’s every other hour or so earlier than the sun comes down. But the sun is someplace hiding at the back of the thick clouds. And the sturdy wind brings the temperature much lower than the same old late afternoon weather in the wilderness. As I 1/2-heartedly let the person pull my hand, I go searching, attempting to find assistance, possibly more for approval. But all and sundry is busy with their very own factor. Luckily, my eyes meet a pair of looking eyes. “If I don’t come returned, please look for this man,” I cry for help from Aberrahim Spokane, the coping with a director of Morocco who has been with us since the day we landed in Casablanca 4 days ago. He laughs whilst signaling to me to go searching. I oblige. They all look the same, all in blue deer (a loose traditional Moroccan robe) and turbans that cowl everything except their eyes. And I snort.
AT HER MERCY
When our four-wheel force prompt into Merzouga — a small city in the Moroccan aspect of the Sahara Desert, from the lengthy, immediately tarmac road, I ought to already sense something “amiss”. The convoy of four-wheel drives did now not forestall to reduce the air stress in their tires — a practice I skilled in a wilderness safari tour in Qatar some years in the past. But as a substitute, the vehicles drove straight beforehand, going similarly from the town into the desolate tract earlier than preventing at a cluster of tents. To the waiting group of Berber men and their camels.
I predicted to revel in the thrills as our 4×4 vehicle is going up and down the dunes, and on the perimeters of the dunes, at excessive speed — the very motive I’ve requested to sit down on the co-pilot seat so that I can get top pictures of the complete journey. But they’re simply the transfer among our lodge and Merzouga, and vice versa. The transport to take us to Erg Chebbi, a sizeable expanse of Sahara dunes, are those camels. “We will visit the best dune to see the sundown,” says Muhammad, the Berber man as he enables me to hop on his camel, “and that is Jimmy Hendrix.” Jimmy obliges whilst Muhammad tells him to arise in a language I can hardly ever make out. It’s not Arab, no longer English either. Perhaps, it’s the language best those understand.
When Jimmy nonchalantly straightens his rear legs, my top frame is driven forward, and if not for Muhammad’s short sale, I could possibly fall face-down in the barren region. Soft and pleasant as it can, taking place at the wilderness face-down isn’t the manner I need to begin my wasteland experience. But while Jimmy the camel is all on its 4 legs, I subsequently manage to find my balance and an at ease position. Then whilst everybody in my institution of 21 members is prepared, the journey is going in one long line of a human-and-camel chain. We cheer and have a good time as our rides unhurriedly take us deeper into the Sahara. Up and down, down and up. Not too long after we started to move, I turn back to peer how far we’ve long passed.
I can not see the tents. All around us are golden sands that form the rolling dunes. The wind is getting more potent, blowing great sand on our faces. I can surely hear a tick-tick sound coming from my sun shades! Now, I apprehend why those guys cowl their faces. In the middle of nowhere, with the sunlight fading earlier than predicted, the acute sound of the blowing wind and the hissing sound of the transferring sands do no longer sound interesting to my ears. What if the strong wind adjustments the landscape, and our Berber courses cannot discover the way back to the tents and the expecting vehicles? And if we’re lost, can we have enough water and food to live on until rescue comes? Suddenly, my throat feels so dry!
Just before my mind can wander to some distance, our ride stops in a flat region surrounded using towering dunes. So that is where we climb up the dune to peer the sundown? Muhammad quickly instructs Jimmy to decrease his frame for me to get down on my ft. Jimmy obligingly sits on his stomach and watches Muhammad drag me up the close by the dune. Yes, drag-mountaineering up free sand on such an incline is not easy.
Looking up, I can see excellent sands being blown far from the sharp ridge of the dune at each sweep of the wind. But Muhammad keeps walking. Well, I guess this is nothing to him. When we subsequently attain the top, Muhammad spreads a thick rug for me to sit down, dealing with the alternative side of the dune. Behind me, my tour pals slowly scale the dune with the assist in their Berber courses. “No, no. Sand is not top for the camera. Keep it, preserve it!” instructs Muhammad even as blockading the sandy wind from my digital camera. Just as I zip my bag, a sturdy gust of wind comes with what seems like a bucket of sand thrown at me!
We sit down at the top of the dune-like little kids who have no issues about the sand and the unforgiving climate, expecting a mind-blowing Sahara sundown. But no, magnificent it isn’t. Just a meek solar ball at the back of the thick cloud. Nevertheless, this short three-hour excursion in the Sahara leaves us smiling cheek to cheek in the course of our days in Morocco. An institution of happy camel trekkers.
IN THE BUCKET LIST
The sundown camel trekking in Sahara changed into by no means on my Moroccan bucket listing. But its global-well-known Jamaa Al-fans rectangular and the neighboring Grand Bazaar Marrakesh, its tannery in Fez, and the blue town of Chefchaouen are. I ticked off the old medina of Marrakesh on the second day of the ten-day Discover Morocco Tour, even though the rectangular and the grand bazaar best got here in on the latter part of the day. The day kicked off with a go-to to Menara Gardens — a botanical garden established within the twelfth century, and Bahia Palace — a palace that has a stark similarity with the Alhambra Palace in Granada, Spain, though on a smaller scale and the Mosque of Koutoubia, the united states of America’s biggest mosque.