I Survived One Night in the Sahara Desert
Spending a night in the Sahara desert was my major travel bucket list when I was in Morocco. I was not a camping person, and I even did not want to think how I was going to survive there. Nonetheless, sleeping in the desert is also on my list of things that I should do before I die. So, I should do it now or never.
Once I arrived in Marrakesh, finding the tour operator that could take me to Sahara was my first priority. Wherever I went in Marrakesh, I found like hundreds of tour agencies offering desert tours. Despite traveling with the tour agency was not really my thing, yet that was the only option I had. I’ve never heard if there’s any traveler went to the desert by themselves without accompanied by the locals. Therefore, I asked Abdul from Riad Maud if he could assist me to find reliable tour agency. Not more than ten minutes, Abdul called me with a man offering several packages to Sahara. Each package was distinguished by how many nights to be spent in the desert. I chose one night only that costed me 50 Euros for the whole entire tour. I was not alone. Two girls from Netherlands were also joined me that later became my travel mates.
On the determined date, the tour guide picked us up and brought us to a van where we shared with other passengers. Our group had some different kind of nationalities, such as: Indonesian, Brazilian, Pakistani, Dutch, German, and Swiss. We left Marrakech and arrived in Zagora at 5 o’clock in the afternoon. Our guide told us that there will be no shops in the desert. Therefore, he advised us to buy whatever we needed before starting adventure in the dessert. I bought two big bottles of water and some biscuits, just in case if I could not survive with the food in the desert. Afterwards, our guide led us to the camel stop. I could not believe my eyes when I saw those camels. They were so huge and tall. I was tempted to cancel this trip, thought about finding a hotel nearby. But I even had no time to think when a Berber man rushed me to get onto the camel. He chose the big one, only God knows how tall it was. I climbed hardly to sit onto its back, even when the camel sat and bended on his lowest position.
“Are you ready?” the Berber man asked.
“Yeah,” I answered hesitantly.
He softly hit the camel with a small stick.
“OMG. I’m gonna fall down,” I screamed out loud when the camel stood up within a split second. I felt like I could throw everything from my stomach.
“Don’t worry. He’s a good camel. His name is Yusuf. You may rub his skin. He won’t mind” the Berber man tried to call me down “Look, put your hand here,”
“I am fine sitting here,” I said. The last thing I want to do is messing with this camel. I would not take a risk to touch him. Who knows whether he’s gonna like my rub or not.
The caravan started to move. We had memorable two hours to ourselves to enjoy the view. As we walked further, we left the civilization behind. The sound of vehicles passing the main road had gone since the last thirty minutes, replaced by the sound of night animals. I looked up the sky. The sun had gone, replaced by the moon and sparkling stars. All of a sudden, somebody screamed out. That was Joanna, one of Dutch girls I met at the riad. Her camel had separated himself with the group of caravan. As he did not care with his scary passenger, the camel just stopped, turn left and left the path.
“Oh my God.. Oh my God… My camel split up ,” Joana kept screaming. Lucky her, one of the Berber heard and run after her to get her camel back. Afterwards, Joanna could not stop laughing when she thought about it.
After struggling sitting on camel’s back and astonishing the sky at the same time, we finally arrived at our camp. The camp was consisted of 7-8 tents, where each tent was occupied by four persons. I shared the tents with Joanna and Renata, the other Dutch girl. The bathrooms were located few steps from sleeping tents. Running water was available with not really strong water pressure. In the dinner time, we met other guests from other groups and sat down for dinner in the dinning tent. The dinner was okay. It could be better if I did not eat couscous for the last consecutive five days. The meal included couscous (of course), bread and olives, vegetable soups and lamb tagines. Once everyone finished the meal, our guide asked us to follow him outside to the fire pit. The air was filled with Berber’s drum and never-end Moroccan tea. Some people danced following the rhythm of the drum, while Joanna, Renata and I prefer to lay down on the sand for the stargazing.
I did not remember what time we got into our tent. The next day, I was woken by the cold weather and the sound of donkeys attached next by our tent. I left the tent when Joanna and Renata were still in the deep sleep. I was not a morning person. Nonetheless, the fact that it was probably once in a life time experience to witness Sahara’s sunrise had forced me to left my bed earlier. Moreover, that would be a perfect moment to catch the sunrise reflecting its light on the golden sand. Unfortunately, it was a bit cloudy and I could not catch the perfect circle sun when it started rising. But I still could capture with golden sky in the background.
Two hours later, I returned to our camp and joined Joanna and Renata to have our breakfast. Due to the low temperature, none of us felt that it was necessary to have shower before leaving the camp. An hour later, we left the camps as huge caravan since the other groups were joining us. I finally survived one night in the Sahara. It was an incredible once in a lifetime experience. The second one? I haven’t thought about it yet.