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Traveling to Morocco – How to Spend a Night in the Sahara Desert

By Gabriella Alziari

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My winter vacation led my family to Morocco, a gorgeous country located in North Africa. Complete with peaceful mosques, bustling Souqs (markets) and exquisite gardens, many visitors travel to Morocco to explore its intricate architecture and delicious food. While these are certainly “must-sees”, future travelers should also spend a night in the Sahara desert if they want a truly memorable visit. 

Reaching the Sahara requires a drive among rocky hills and plateaus, but it is entirely worth it. Once there, the sand stretches for miles. The dunes are made up of the finest grains, creating organic, rolling shapes. It is one of the most stunning views I have ever seen and I was struck by the assortment of diverse colors. There is a sense of purity about the entire landmass; I almost felt as if humans had never touched it.

A view of the Sahara dunes

For our night in the desert, we stayed at a camp named the Morocco Luxury Desert Camp in Merzouga. Our hosts, two Berber gentlemen, were extremely hospitable during our stay, offering us dinner and drinks and helping tend to the fire. A group of five Berber men later joined us to share their traditional music. We enjoyed it immensely, as it had a strong beat and deep melody. The most amusing thing of all was being invited to get up and dance with them! Our family shared many laughs as we watched one another attempt to master the traditional movements. While we were not very skilled, we were thankful for being so warmly welcomed.

Berbers sharing their traditional music

The tents in the Morocco Luxury Desert Camp were made of thickly stacked carpets that kept the sand and wind outside. The camp was true to its name, as each room offered a sink with running water, a full double bed, and a small shower with wooden floors. Though I did not use the services of the shower (it was too cold), I was appreciative of being able to brush my teeth and wash my face—something I did not expect to do in the desert! The genuine hospitality we were given really added to our experience, and we felt comfortable asking our hosts any questions.

Staying in the Sahara gave me the time to appreciate my surroundings and ‘soak up’ Morocco. That night, I lost all sense of time in the best of ways. With the exception of my camera, there were no distractions or electronics, which allowed me to ponder my experience deeply. I reflected on the magnificence of our natural world and how wonderful it is to be able to explore new places. I enjoyed my family’s company as we sat around the blazing fire, bundled in woven blankets, attempting to solve a crossword puzzle. The whole night was strangely idyllic. I found that I appreciated the brightness of the stars and their amazing array, savored my dinner more so than normal, and listened to the surrounding sounds with awe. In those moments with the people I love most, it did not matter that New York City was thousands of miles away. It felt as if home was right there with me.

To end our journey, we woke up early the next morning and embarked on a camel ride to watch the sunrise. The camels blew me away! They are meditative animals, and seeing them up close offered a new perspective. They have luscious eyelashes and spindly legs, and did not seem to mind us petting them at all. The camel ride was our one “cliché” Moroccan adventure, but it was such a unique experience. I have to say, letting a camel lead me back to our camp was a once-in-a-lifetime kind of thing!

The camel I rode

My night in the Sahara desert allowed me both to appreciate Morocco and our natural world. Future travelers planning on visiting this amazing country cannot miss a night among the rolling dunes of this remarkable place.

A view of our tent as the camels leave

Learn more about the Morocco Luxury Desert Camp before planning your next vacation to Morocco!

 

Published on Apr 08, 2014

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