Part 3: Sahara – 10 Dos and Don’ts
- Do make the drive from Marrakech. We hired a driver who picked us up at our riad and drove us to the Sahara (it’s about a 7-8 hour trek). During the course of the drive, the Atlas Mountains that surround Marrakech give way to sand dunes and limestone cliffs of the Todra Gorge. We stayed the night in Ouarzazate, a new Saharan city where films from Gladiator to Lawrence of Arabia were filmed. Next, you enter Merzouga and the Moroccan desert.
- Don’t pick the cheapest tour you can find. Even the nicest tours aren’t that expensive. Going cheap will probably mean you’ll end up at all the driver’s “best friend’s” perfume shops, knick-knack stands, etc. The countryside between Marrakech and the Sahara are filled with interesting geography, history and culture. Coincidently, a cheaper driver won’t share any of that information.
- Do pack light. Bring layers (it gets cold in the desert at night), but only bring the essentials. Everything you you bring to your Berber camp has to fit on your camel (trust me, you want a happy camel). There will be lots of extra blankets available at the campsite.
- Speaking of camels, two hours on a camel (there and back) is all you need. Trust me, whether you’re male or female, you will end your trek with more than just camel toe.
- Do arrive in the desert before sunset. The Sahara is one of the seven wonders of the world for a reason – it’s spectacular. The sunrises and sunsets are spectacular to the umpteenth degree.
- Don’t leave your camera in the hotel. Remember #4? You’re gonna want to document your adventure!
- Do be nice to the cats. I hate cats. But I hate snakes and scorpions more. Berbers keep them at their campsites for pest control
- Do come thirsty to drink lots of mint tea and eat more tangine (a berber dish of beef or chicken named for the earthenware pot it is prepared in).
- Once sun goes down, and you’ve had all the tea and tangine you could ever want, it’s time to circle up around the bonfire for traditional Berber sing a longs. Do partake. You will most likely be asked to share a song from your “home country.” Don’t sing Miley Cyrus.
- Don’t sleep in. The sunrise may arguably be more magical than the sunset.
Not convinced to book Sahara 2016? These photos may change your mind.