.....send your camels to bed 🎶🐫🐫
04.02.2017 - 04.17.2017
Our day begins with a visit to a small town on the edge of the Sahara. The town is called Rissani. Near this town a huge area of fossils were discovered which has become the main activity in this area. This town also has a 17th century Ksar (Castle) . We wander the souk (they are all quite different) then move on to another desert town named Sijilmasa which was once a bustling Berber city and medieval trade depot. We stop at a local bread shop and see how the popular Moroccan bread is made. We learn that the Tuareg people are a large Berber ethnic group. They inhabit the Sahara dessert. Traditionally, they are nomadic. They have been called the "blue people" for the indigo-dye colored clothes they traditionally wear and which stains their skin blue.
We head back to the hotel for lunch and pack a change of clothes for our adventure into the Sahara. We pile into 4x4 vehicles which take us out to the desert. On the way we stop at a Berber tent for tea and to experience this way of life. Its a simple and hard life. They are on the move constantly....carrying ALL of their belongings with them. They move either from weather conditions, theft, work supply needs...what have you. See for yourself:
We've all been excited about today's adventure...camel trekking and camping in the dessert. Our time has come. We arrive at our "camp" and are immediately invited for tea and cookies. We are paired up with our camels "Bob Marley" and "Jimi Hendrix" and our camel handleor's...Abdul and Imir. We ride out to the dunes with about 100 others excited to watch the sunset in the desert. We walk up to overlook the desert. Imir puts down a blanket on the crest of a large sand dune where we sit and wait for the sunset. There are lots of people who come to have this experience. The view is breathtaking and the excitement in the air is palpable. Everyone is thrilled to be here. Imir is entertaining and speaks a little English...he makes sand drawings, writes our names in Arabic and introduces us to two sand lizards.
The sun sets. I am one with the universe. We all head back to our camels and the "camel train" returns to camp.
We are greeted by the band as we enter our "luxury campsite" for tonight. These are Gnaua musicians and they play traditional instruments, (lots of drumming) and there is even a twirling dervish who spins around with his tray of "Moroccan Whiskey"-filled glasses and doesn't drop any.
Dinner is delicious including the bottle of champagne I brought with especially for this occasion. We eat, drink and laugh for hours. I venture out with a few others for some night shots of the campground and the starry-night sky. We were told if we had an interest in the morning, they would wake us up early with some clapping and those of us who wished to go could walk the dunes and watch the sunrise. You know I opted in!....and Rick....will be sleeping in.
www.Bivouac La Belle Etoile, Merzouga