A night in the Sahara desert

I wanted to share a few pictures from my night in the Sahara desert when I visited Morocco last month. I did the 11-day Essential Morocco tour with Geckos Adventures. This is the same company I did Peru and Europe with. Seeing the desert landscape for the first time was incredible. Per usual, words and pictures don’t do it justice. One of the highlights of the trip, and honestly what I was most looking forward to, was spending a night in the Sahara desert. We rode camels into the desert, watched the sunset, slept under a blanket of stars, and then got up early to watch the sunrise. We spent less than 24 hours in the desert, but the experience exceeded my expectations.

We began our day by driving to a hotel in the small village of Merzouga. There, we would store our backpacks/luggage for the night. We were told to bring a daypack specifically for this activity because you can’t bring larger luggage on the camel.

So I packed my daypack with the essentials I would need for one night in the desert. Here are a few items I would definitely recommend bringing…

  • Sunscreen, hat, sunglasses
  • Camera gear
  • A warm pair of thermals for sleeping – even though it’s warm during the day, it gets very cold when the sun goes down
  • Wool socks
  • Basic toiletries – toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush, wet wipes, make-up, contacts/prescription glasses
  • Mirror
  • Flashlight – for walking around at night
  • Snacks and a water bottle

Here’s an obligatory picture of me on a camel! Getting on and off a camel is surprisingly tricky. Just remember to lean backward, otherwise, there’s a very high probability you’ll get thrown off.

There were several tour groups departing from the same hotel in Merzouga, and I was a little worried about how many people would be at our camp. Luckily it was just us and one other group, so it was still pretty small and intimate. The camel ride took about an hour, and when I got off my thighs were so sore from trying to stay on!

I completely forgot to take a picture of our camp, so I’m including the picture below of a different camp we passed along the way. Ours was definitely not as nice, but the concept was similar. There were several tents set up for sleeping. Inside each tent were several mattresses on the floor with a wool blanket and pillow. Then there were two larger tents, one served as the kitchen/dining room and the other as the restroom. A pleasant surprise was the running water in the sink and toilet! I was not expecting that in the desert.

Once we got to the camp we started climbing one of the sand dunes to prepare for the sunset. It took about 30+ minutes to hike to the top, and it was pretty difficult. As you can imagine, sand is hard to climb because you sink in with every step.

We eventually made it to the top and the sunset was so epic! You can even see another group riding camels in the distance.

The picture below is probably one of my favorites from the entire trip. This is why I came to Africa and specifically to Morocco. If you would have told me 5 years ago I’d be sitting in that spot I wouldn’t have believed you. I was overwhelmed with a sense of gratitude for my life and the endless amount of beauty this world has to offer. I’d never felt so removed and disconnected from reality, and I felt surprisingly at peace. I loved that feeling and wish I could have bottled it up.

The next morning we woke up early to watch the sunrise. Then we rode the camels back to the hotel in Merzouga where we had the chance to shower and eat breakfast. I had sand everywhere!

I hope you enjoyed this post from my night in the Sahara desert! The stars were absolutely incredible, something I will never forget. I definitely plan to visit Morocco again for this experience alone.

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