Journey to a masala in the Sahara desert


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Morocco, the mysterious country of the East… Although there are many cities to see, I am planning this trip with a desert focus. Desert tours are usually organized from Marrakech. Some vigilantes who like to play games with tourists take them to Zagora, very close to Marrakech, as a desert tour. The Zagora Desert does not give you what you are looking for. With those yellow sands and endless sand dunes we are looking for, we enter the Sahara from Merzouga on the Algerian border. The distance between Marrakech and Merzouga is not close. If you are not going to rent a car just for the desert tour, it would be logical to take a three-night tour from Marrakech. Because you will visit touristic places on your way. If you rent a car like us, you should definitely take this tour from Merzouga because it is much cheaper. Before I went to Morocco, I received hundreds of invitations for the advertisement I opened on the Couchsurfing (Local people’s home accommodation) site. One of these messages is from Houssan (Hasan)… He will host us for free one night and take us on a desert tour the next day.

In the heart of the Atlas Mountains

Me and three of my friends are going to rent a car from Marrakech and go sightseeing to meet Hasan. We usually pass through the heart of the Atlas Mountains, as we like to go outside of the classical routes. There is neither straight road nor asphalt! We are living unforgettable moments. Hasan is sending us a location. Navigation on roads only shows preview but still works fine. Otherwise, it is very difficult to find the way in the dark. Hasan is from Hassilabied Village, 3 kilometers from Merzouga. It is past midnight when we arrive in Merzouga as we are on a tour.

It turned out that the place we were staying was very close to the desert. When we climb to the roof of the adobe house, we can see the distant sand dunes thanks to the full moon. Awesome… When I wake up the next morning and go out to the street, I am amazed at how we found that house at night. No proper roads, no asphalt, no street names. We will explore Merzouga before the tour which will start at 5 am. There are apartments under the name of the hotel and a village grocery store under the name of the market. Since breakfast and dinner are included in the tour, we only take plenty of water and snacks with us. We put only the things we will need in our small bags in the desert and set off to go to the desert.

First, a Mohammed takes us, takes us to camels, which they call a taxi, and delivers us to another Mohammed. Everyone’s name is Mohammed. Our shadows in the sand and the dunes are beautiful when we swing on camels. In the area where we will stay for the sunset, we dismount the camels and board the sand beforehand. We sit on the board from the highest point of a hill and immerse ourselves in the sand. We roll on the sand until the sun goes down. I don’t know why, but in the desert, the human soul always wants to roll in the sand like a child. And the moment we’ve been waiting for comes. There is a magnificent sunset. Then we get on the camels and set off. Now, navy blue watches… I feel like I’ve traveled through time and been in a trailer.

As the full moon rises…

In my previous desert experiences, I had always coincided with the full moon and never had the feeling of holding the stars. Unfortunately, this time I felt that I would be upset by the full moon, but the universe turned out to have a surprise for me. Have you ever witnessed a moonrise in the desert? As the red, plate-like moon begins to rise through the dunes, we are breathless at the sight we see. It is very difficult to get rid of this view.

After the meal, Berber Tuaregs come and make music. While they sing, we play the rhythm instruments they handed out together. When I watch the videos I shot later, I can’t believe how we had fun with that noise we call music, how we call that noise music. But at that moment, I could have sworn it was the most beautiful music in the world. When I retreat to the tent, I fall asleep with a big smile on my face. We are in a desert in Africa, on the Algerian border, away from technology and in silence…

We get up again at 4 am. This time we’re rolling on the sand for the sunrise. How cold is that! I wear whatever I have with me. However, what dreams did I have? What photos would I take?

I liked that the tour organizers didn’t make us run by saying “Come on” the most. We watched the desert to its fullest; We took photos. On the way back to the village, my body, head, inside of my hair and even my eyelashes were covered with sand, but I was very happy…

Journey to a masala in the Sahara desert

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