One of the things we wanted to do while in Morocco was to really see the desert. After some consideration we elected to do a camel trek out of Merzouga with a locally based company, Merzouga Excursions.
We wanted to go by camel, as four wheel driving didn’t seem at all appropriate – camels are after all evolved for the desert and do minimal damage to the dunes. We also wanted a more traditional camp rather than a sterile air-conditioned tent and Merzouga Excursions offered this for a very reasonable price.
Once in Mezouga, south of Errachidia, we were met by our tour guide Hassan, who introduced us to our camel leader, Ali Baba, and our trusty steeds, Bob Marley and Jimi Hendrix. The entire setup was small but very professionally run. We set off around 3.30 with Ali leading the way on foot. Apparently you need to actually lead the camels as it is the only way they will go where you want.
We spent an amazing hour and a half slowly making our way through the rolling dunes taking in the wild beauty of the area and desperately trying to capture some of it in photos. We eventually arrived at the traditional bedouin campsite in time to rest our tender nether-regions and to take even more photos as the sun descended.
Ali, our guide, transformed himself into Ali, our chef, and we dined on traditional bedouin food sitting around the campfire under a ceiling of brilliant stars.
In the morning we rose early to watch the sun come up over the dunes, a truly magical sight watching the changing colours on the gently rippling sands.
Then it was time to contemplate the necessity of mounting and sitting on those *!*#&*! uncomfortable camels for another hour and a half. We fleetingly contemplated walking back but eventually summoned the courage and mounted up.
The ride back through the dunes with the sun slowly rising and the colours changing around us luckily took our minds (largely) off our backsides. For several weeks however we bore the scars and it was some time before I could sit comfortably and without thinking horrible thoughts about our camel friends.
It was a truly wonderful experience, made more so by our guides, and one I would not have missed. However, if I never get anywhere near a camel again it will be way too soon.