Sahara Desert Trip in Morocco

Sahara Desert Trip in Morocco

A trip to the Sahara Desert in Morocco goes far beyond the picturesque camel ride. It’s a journey into no man’s land in the lands of true travellers, of nomads.

Those who don’t know where they were born, or exactly when, those who speak Berber and not Arabic, those who can’t live far from their sand dunes, and every time they tried they then returned there, to the expanses of sand surrounded by emptiness for us and everything for them.

There is no written tradition of this culture, women are the oral bearers of these thousand-year-old traditions whose life revolves around the needs of dromedaries, a source of life, survival and movement.

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Read also: 15 top tourist attractions in Marrakech

Why travel to the Sahara desert in Morocco

There are the stars. There are percussions and evening songs. Life in the desert slows down time no longer exists, because there, as they say, there is always time and there is no need to be in a hurry even if the timetable according to the pre-established itinerary would have you already ready, if you run, with a placid and calm smile and deep eyes embellished by kajal which men also use, invite you to stop and relax. You’re in the desert, and there’s no rush.

My first time in the Sahara desert it was a Zagora. An epic journey, without a paper guide or an idea of ​​where I was going. I was 25 years old, with little money and it was my first solo backpacking trip.
8 years have passed since that day when I fell asleep for the first time under a sky so starry that it couldn’t be starlier.

This time the desert I was in was that of Merzouga, in the south of Morocco, where the roads on the border with the problematic Algeria end, the border can be seen and is marked by mountains. Morocco ends there and the neighboring country begins, military lookouts and red sand arise.

Scattered nomad camps and groups of dromedaries refresh themselves. A hard life for nomads who travel throughout their lives, stop until the barren and sterile land to feed its animals and then move on.

It is the dromedary that decides whether to stay or go. Water resources are the source of life for a people who we believe are landless and perpetually searching for a place, not knowing that they already have a home, only that it has no walls.

Sahara Desert Trip in Morocco

2, 3 and 4 day Merzouga Desert Excursions from Fes and Marrakech

If you are looking for desert tour con partenza of Marrakech or Fes you can find lots of options desert tour starting from 3 to 5 days, in private and shared mode.
If you want to save some money you can take part in group expeditions.

I have selected some desert tour options considering several variables:

Who are the Tuareg – The eternal wanderers

“The Tuareg despises limitations, destroys and breaks obstacles and barriers. His homeland, which has no borders, is the thousands and thousands of kilometers of fiery sands and rocks, the great sterile treacherous land that everyone fears and tries to avoid. Frontier of this desert homeland is the point where the Sahara and Sahel end and the green fields of the settled communities hostile to the Tuareg begin, with their villages and their homes…The Tuareg are the eternal wanderers. But can they really be defined that way? A wanderer is someone who wanders the world in search of a place, a home, a homeland. The Tuareg, his home, his homeland, where he has lived for thousands of years, has it: the heart of the Sahara”

These words were first published in 1998 by the great travel writer/journalist Ryszard Kapuscinskiwhich tells in a few lines about an encounter that anyone who goes to the Moroccan Sahara desert will have the pleasure of having.

The welcome will be of real nomads, of the real people of the desert, not of people who wear turbans when necessary to take a photo with you and make you feel like you are in an ethnic and colorful photographic set.

Sahara Desert Trip in Morocco

The pace of life in the Sahara desert

Beyond the mountain range of Atlas the desert extends to infinity, the mountains are left behind, the heat begins to be felt. But it’s February and it’s bearable, even pleasant. The doors of the desert open and welcome us into the land of everyone and no one.

The Moroccan I was used to in the cities, the one who follows you to the point of exhaustion and never lets you go until he has what he wants, transforms into a new character, a poetic and almost legendary character.
It embellishes and softens, so even the facial features seem different.

Everyone speaks many languages, they say “thanks to you I now speak all these languages”.
Probably some of them don’t even know how to write in their native language, I don’t know this but it wouldn’t surprise me, after all Berber is a language made official two years ago and it’s hard to learn to use the ideograms that make up the alphabet.

Arriva Mustafa, the camel driver. A hilarious and funny character, he speaks 8 languages, he is 26 years old and until his 20s he traveled with his family’s caravan through the Moroccan desert until, 5 years ago, the family decided to stop in Merzuga.

He doesn’t know where he was born, not exactly, he was born in the desert and that’s enough.

He doesn’t even know what day he came into the world, so, like all the members of his family, he celebrates his birthday on December 1st. This day he and his family celebrate this event that occurred in a now unknown location on a day that has never been determined.

There are 20 years of learning in the life of a nomad before he can become independent, he tells me.

  • 5 years old, mother’s school
  • 5 years old father’s school
  • 10 years the school of life

At 20, any nomad is able to take care of his family and the needs of the caravan knows how to play a role as a woman and a role as a man.
He is complete and ready to face the harsh life of the desert which when the sun goes down offers calm and coolness under the starry sky and the notes of percussion and Berber songs spread who knows how far.

Sahara Desert Trip in Morocco

The Berbers of the desert and the free man

The free man is the sign of the Berbers, including women, who indeed are also figures of great power capable of being able to divorce and then keep the tent and possessions, a profoundly different status from what they identify as the Arab woman, as they are effectively two different ethnic groups * **, is printed on their flag which they display with pride, specifying their belonging to a group that shares a religion with the Arabs which, even in this case, is however different from what we can imagine.

Their religion is made up of stars and naturea tribal people that still exists today and is well preserved.
An intense and strong people, with a thousand stories and gentle and calm ways of doing things.

We are in the Sahara desert. We sang and danced around the fire. We smoked shisha and drank some tea. We lay on our backs looking at the stars, aware of being in the heart of the world, where everything is possible because it is there that the freedom of each of us regains its value and time regains an important role in our lives.

There is time….and freedom to fully enjoy it too.
Welcome to the Sahara Desert!

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Read also: 12 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Morocco

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