When we think of Morocco, we immediately imagine these epinal images of camel caravans crossing the ocher dunes of the Sahara at sunset. This is exactly the kind of picture that we had in store for our stay in Merzouga Erg Chebbi, at the gates of the only Saharan erg in Morocco. Our coming to an end. The journey turned out to be a compendium of crazy landscapes and rewarding encounters, certainly one of the. We are now in Merzouga, a small, windswept village at the gateway to the Sahara. Travelers who come until all hope to see these regs flooded with light, these wadis flooded sand, and of course the majestic ocher dunes that make us dream so much. I have this special connection with the desert. Maybe I was a Bedouin in another life, which would certainly explain my choice of being a digital nomad today (not stupid). After visiting the, Atacama Desert in Chile, Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia, and, the time has finally come to experience a tiny little part of the world’s largest hot desert: the Sahara.
Discovering Erg Chebbi in Merzouga
Erg Chebbi in the Tafilalet Valley on the outskirts of Merzouga, Chigaga is with the only Saharan erg in Morocco traveled huge dunes of 150 meters of average height. For centuries, the Merzouga region has been a real crossroads between the civilizations of the African desert. From the terrace of our hostel-kasbah, we can already see the first voluptuous sand dunes stretching out towards what seems to be infinity. The desert calls us. Mama Africa is calling us. As soon as the scorching heat fades, we mount our camels for a camel trek in the desert 2 hours to reach our camp at the foot of the Erg Chebbi dunes.
camel caravan in the Merzouga desert
Our camels slowly entered the desert in single file with a slow and swaying step. The play of shadows on the sand dunes hypnotizes me and almost makes me forget the discomfort of my mount. I feel alive again in this virgin wild nature that does not lie. Sand dunes stretch across the horizon regardless of borders. Over there, somewhere is Algeria, but the dunes and the wind pass through the countries. In the middle of this space which seems infinite, we feel infinitely small. We lose all our bearings the better to find them. It’s only the present moment that matters. The past is immediately swept away by the wind like the footprints of our dromedaries on the sand. I think of those nomads who have chosen this simple, decluttered way of life in an environment that seems so inhospitable. What an incredible display of resilience and endurance! Two hours and a few aches in the buttocks later, we are far from Merzouga. Our Berber tent sahara desert camps.
Sunset over the dunes of the Sahara
Not a minute to lose. You absolutely have to climb to the top of this dune so as not to miss any of the sunset. Easier said than done. For every step we take in this quicksand, we take two steps back. You end up getting on all fours to successfully climb to the top. Challenge met. We are out of breath, soaked in sweat, very silted up, but our efforts are rewarded by a magnificent spectacle of light on these mounds permanently sculpted by the wind. The dunes are illuminated by golden shades before igniting in red, fuchsia, light pink, a whole range of shapes and colors designed by the last light of day. With our small group of friends, we suddenly want to sing at the top of our lungs. The sound echoes endlessly, but no one can hear our wrong notes, except perhaps our camel drivers who must now be quite used to the euphoric reactions of visitors to Merzouga.
Overnight camping under the stars in the middle of a dune ocean
Back to the camp, a tagine washed down with mint tea welcomes us. Guests then come out “Guembri” (kind of guitar with three strings), “djembe” (drum) and “Rattlesnakes” (a type of castanets) for a small concert music and traditional songs, the opportunity to try these funny instruments and share some giggles. Before bed, we go back on our dune in the dark to admire the sky studded with stars and shooting stars. Never has the Milky Way been so brilliant, far from the visual pollution of big cities. Lying on the sand in this silence and absolute darkness, I think of this vast desert that surrounds us and everything it contains unknown, as it was once an ocean or perhaps a savannah where prehistoric species still lived. More than a simple absence of noise, the silence that reigns sharpens all our senses and our.0