Going to the desert. I was thinking about it since the last time I was in Morocco. I finally did it; in a way I would never do it again.
Tahnee, Mo, Kate and the two of us joined an organised trip. We drove endlessly up the Atlas mountains, descending to Dra valley and the vast dry landscape.
The beauty. But there were things untold on the pictures.
Before we even departed we got scammed at Djemaa el-Fna by a man whom we naively gave the second half of the payment for the tour. It made us feel pretty uncomfortable as early as 7am.
It was a massive tourism thing. There were countless vans and many different tourist agencies offering instant ‘hop off – take a picture – hop on again’ sight seeing.
In the second evening our group of 13 people finally reached Merzouga, a village near Algerian border, which is closed and mined. Above the gray dusty village the famous Erg Chebbi dunes looked like an image from Aladdin cartoon. But real.
We rode the camels in the sunset to the tents. Actually, every sand dune had a group of people riding to the tents because there were more camps in the area. Traces of motor vehicles were everywhere in the sand. I got an impression we entered a huge sandbox.
Uroš couldn’t wait to run on the top of a dune to juggle clubs in the surreal landscape. “Freedom of juggling”, he is saying.
Night was full of stars but cold to the bones with the temperatures around 0 °C. Our nomad Berber guides made fire and jammed with drums.
In the morning we woke up early to ride back to the van and catch rising sun on the camels.
We read camels are often not treated well and rested enough, moreover, our camels looked pretty healthy and even excited, drooling and making gurgling sounds.
I wonder how many times a day they walk them to the camps and how many people they carry.
Yes, nevertheless, this is me on a camel in the picture. I don’t know if it is worse to ride a 4-wheel motorbike or a camel to go to the desert.
Walk. I will walk next time.
Three-day trip ended with a long drive to Marrakech. We were feeling unsatisfied with our experience, thinking about our mistakes and weak organisation. Our group dynamics and ignorance made us vulnerable, luckily without any bad consequences.
Me talking to myself: “We should encourage ourselves more for independent adventure! How superficial I am towards myself and the world sometimes.”
Or as you hear Moroccan people on the streets: “No money, no honey.”
Text and photos: Eva & Uroš