If you’ve got a bucket list, then listen to me now: you must add to it visiting the Sahara desert if it’s not already on there. Why? Because you cannot call yourself an adventurer unless you’ve experienced something as majestic as this place.
Since I was doing a tour of Morocco, which is one of the eleven countries that are covered by one of the harshest environments in the world, it was only natural for me to continue the trip and venture into the Moroccan part of the Sahara.
Let me tell you why I think you should visit the Sahara desert.
1 The largest desert in the world
The Sahara is the largest hot desert in the world- as opposed to Antarctica which is a cold desert.
In this magic place that’s out-of-this world, they have filmed iconic movies such as Star Wars, passing the sumptuous lunar landscapes as alien planets.
2 The camel ride
Let’s get real: if we’re going anywhere in the desert, we can’t exactly take the bus! We are riding camels for sure. There’s nothing as exciting as the reflection of the whole caravan on the hot sands while our shadows crossed the dunes. Dancing along this historical and mysterious place, it was mesmerizing.
At night, we sat around the bonfire and saw the sky light up with thousands of stars. It seemed that the stars out here were brighter than anywhere else in the world.
While we settled in our tents that were very clean and neat, the campers were playing drums and singing a loud hymn to the night.
The next day we woke up before the sunrise to watch the sun come up behind the sand dunes.
4 The food
Tajine, yes please! We were served tajine for lunch and dinner. The delicious stews we made with meat, vegetables, couscous and the most exquisite dates and dried fruits.
We were also offered fresh bread made on top of wood fire stoves, and it was delicious.
Let me be very honest, cleanliness will not be your priority out here, and you will be eating with your hands a lot. So don’t get fussy! Just get a large stash of wet wipes for the journey.
5 Jeep safari
This will feel very fast after you have been riding the camel! The jeep safari across the desert might even make you sick from going up and down the dunes, but it is totally worth it to get you to the next adventure on your calendar.
6 The Atlas mountain
The Atlas is a range of mountains that stretches over many countries, and in Morocco they are a trekking destination.
Easy to reach by a Jeep ride or a hike, the green valleys and snowy tops are inhabited by the ancient Berber tribes who are very hospitable to strangers.
7 Red Mountains of Tessaout
A notable place in the heart of the central Atlas, the red mountains of Tessaout are an adventure destination. They are called the Red mountains because of the pink granite that shines red in the sunlight, and they are home to many secrets like the famous Argan trees, hidden oasis, and trekking paths know to but a few.
8 Ksar Aït Ben Haddou
Classified a Unesco world heritage site, Ait Ben Haddou is a striking example of Moroccan architecture. The Ksar is a group of buildings built from earth, surrounded by high walls, and the primary dwelling of Saharan people. Located in the foothills of the High Atlas, there are to this day people living in these ancient dwellings. From afar they look like a castle made of mud, while in ancient times they were trading posts on the caravan routes through the desert.
You have to see this, because it was also one of the filming locations for a very famous series. Can you guess which one?
9 The Bedouins
A proud and secretive population, the Bedouin keep the desert alive. These nomadic Arab people have inhabited the desert for millennia, and they can navigate the desert without a compass, like their ancestors did by reading the stars. Everything about them is so mesmerizing, and it’s fascinating to see how they are still living now like they lived hundreds of years ago without any modern comforts or running water. But of course, they all have cell phones!
10 Game of Thrones
Filming locations for the iconic series took place in some of the world’s most magical places, one of them being none other than the Moroccan desert.
Aït Ben Haddou and Quarzazate are but two of the Game of Thrones locations set in Morocco. Many more are spread around the country’s iconic cities and memorable landmarks.
I feel lucky to have visited such a mysterious place that made me feel so small. We always hear the saying “We are all grains of sand in the wind” and now I literally know how that feels. After visiting the largest desert in the world, it’s time to continue exploring the rest of the world.