We get up quite early to begin our long drive to the desert sand dunes. The first part of our drive is through the mountains. The road is very windy but the roads are in great shape ( compared to what my experiences in Central and South America)
It is HOT. 42 degrees so I am extremely thankful for air conditioning. We stop for lunch in a gorge area that is all palm trees that produce dates, many different kinds. It is such a contrast to see the greenery against the orange rock of the desert. We eat Berber style eggs which is eggs cooked in a tagine with tomatoes. I have had this before at a wonderful restaurant in Vancouver called Cafe Medina. We carry on with our drive.
Finally we reach a point where we have to off road to reach the dunes. The landscape is barren with rock with small tuffs of dried grass poking out. It is about an hour off road and now the dunes are in sight! They are a brilliant orange – exactly like every photograph I have ever seen.
It is quite overcast and we see some lightning in the distance. Dani finds this very amusing since it rains literally EVERYWHERE we go….now including the Sahara Desert. It rains for about ten minutes which we are told is actually good since this will keep the dust down.
Did I mention it is HOT! It is about 530 pm now and still 39 degrees. We wrap out heads to stop the dust and protect us from the sun for our camel trek to our camp.
The camels are in view and look harmless. Dani obviously is very excited about how cute the animals are. Each camel has a saddle like thing and handle bars for riding. They have the most awful looking teeth! My camel has its nose pierced and the longest eyelashes, Dani thinks it is the cutest ever.
Getting on the camel is a bit jarring because of the movement, front legs up then back…and obviously it is quite tall.
We ride for about an hour to our camp. The dunes are amazing!! The photos will not do it justice the dunes are so large. And the color is amazing.
We arrive at our very basic camp. Tarps with plastic mats. It is quite overcast so not a great sunset for viewing. I decide to climb one of the dunes…doesn’t look too high or too hard. The sand is so warm between my toes. The sand slips away like mini avalanches as I climb the edge of the dune. It is so much more difficult than I thought it would be so I don’t quite make it to the top. I slide down remembering my dad’s quarry when we were kids and sliding down the rock. I get back to camp pockets of my pants filled with sand.
We have a chicken tagine for dinner and then our hosts start drumming. It is still quite overcast so stargazing isn’t really possible. It rains a bit more so I decide to sleep in the tent instead of outside.
We wake up in the morning to see the sunrise. It is still quite overcast so we are unable to see the sunrise until it is quite high. It gets light so quickly! And with that shockingly hot for how early it is.
Such a memorable experience that I am so grateful to have had. I have dreamed of it for so long that even as it was happening I was in disbelief that it was. Living the dream.