A trip to Morocco is a great chance to get a glimpse into the expansive Sahara Desert. Covering most of northern Africa and 10% of the entire continent, the Sahara is the largest hot desert in the world.
It’s easy to arrange a tour in major centres via travel agencies or your accommodation may even be able to arrange it for you. Before you know it, you’ll be setting out through the dunes by camel-back all Laurence of Arabia style and preparing to spend the night with Mother Nature.
While the setting is picture perfect, keep in mind that riding a camel for extensive periods of time is nothing short of painful. You’ll probably be sitting on a blanket but it’s best to wear pants on the thicker side, if you can, to protect yourself from chaffing. If you’ll be camping out, the camels are also likely to be loaded with supplies in two baskets, one on either side. You’ll have your legs propped on the baskets, which in a way makes it more comfortable but yet is also just another thing for your legs to be rubbing against. This is also why long pants should be worn over shorts.
To get a sense of how uncomfortable it is, one person in our group actually got down off the camel and walked half the way by foot. If you’ve ever tried walking through sand dunes before, you’ll know how difficult this is, sinking down and sand breaking away with every step. But yet she continued on to avoid the pain and also walked the entire way back the next day, a one and a half hour journey!
While temperatures can be scorching during the day, remember the desert can be freezing at night so bring appropriate clothing for overnight stays.
Despite the uncomfortable ride to our camping spot, what I’ll always remember from that trip is getting down off my camel, heading straight to the top of the biggest sand dune I could find and sipping tea with local Berber people while watching the sunset. Seems worth the effort to me.