Camels are the only way to travel…well, maybe not the only way, but they sure are fun to ride in the desert.
After a three and a half hour drive from Marrakesh over the beautiful Atlas mountains through the Tizi n’Tichka pass we arrived in the desert town of Quarzazate.
We ate a beautifully simple lunch of roasted chicken with a side of lentils and Moroccan flat bread ($5 total for the two of us).
After lunch we continued another three hours to the town of Zagora and arrived in the late afternoon.
Children kicked a soccer ball amongst themselves nearby as our guides (the nomadic men of the area) dressed in traditional garments, saddled the camels (actually dromedaries) and helped us onto them.
Our guides walked along side of our camel caravan as we were swayed this way and that by the animals’ unusual gate.
Our shadows grew long as the sun began to set behind the mountains before our hour long camel ride to the camp was over.
When we arrived at the camp we were shown to our rooms for the night. Our rooms were cozy and brightly colored. The soft mattresses were laid on the floor and covered with warm blankets. Inside the tent there is electricity, no outlets, just a small light bright enough to illuminate the tent.
The semi-permanent camp was made of a steel framework completely covered inside and out by persian style rugs and draperies.
Later in the evening we lounged on pillows and rugs and sipped hot tea while waiting for dinner.
Dinner was served in an adjacent tent to our sleeping quarters. Inside we were treated to delicious tanjine chicken with vegetables and flat bread–the meal was substantial and very hearty.
After dinner the other guests, ourselves and the guides sat around a large fire outside of the campsite and they sang some more.
We were entertained by our guides’ playing instruments and singing. The secluded location of the camp in the desert, far from light pollution allowed for a magnificent, cloudless starry night–complete with a bright Milky Way.
Jamin snuck away from the glow of the fire to try some make-shift night sky photography, but my lack of a tripod made me regret my packing choices.
Our comfortable night’s sleep was interrupted the next morning by grumpy camel snorts. We got dressed, freshened up and threw our overnight bags back together as the guides saddled and prepared our seemingly grouchy transportation.
Once we were on our way, our camel friends’ disposition seemed to have improved.
It was an enjoyable ride back to where we began where we met our friendly driver, thanked (and tipped) our camel trek guides and drove back to Marrakesh.
Book your trip today by visiting Authentic Tours Marrakech. This trip is the Marrakech to Zagora (2 days/1 night) Camel trek with an overnight in the Sahara Desert. Authentic Tours Marrakech provides pick-up and drop-off from your hotel or riad in Marrakech.
Make sure to bring some extra cash for the opportunity to shop at the souks in the local villages!