Nic Freeman

Sharing the wonders of travel & everyday adventures

Escaping into the Sahara Desert of Morocco

Leaving Marrakech is quick. As if the city were contained within an invisible wall, buildings suddenly give way to clay huts and large fanning palms. Mountains spring like over-sized ant mounts on the horizon, all soil and rocks and earthy bluntness. The road ribbons into the distance; the only curve among angular peaks and graveled slopes.

 Sahara Desert, Morocco

Every few corners the soil flashes a hint of purple and blue before resuming its hard bleak face. Tufts of burnt grass polka-dot distant slopes. Sometimes a glimpse of olive groves and cereal fields flicks between ridges. Black goats shelter under rocky edges in the midday heat while white goats bask like beach-goers.

Sahara Desert, Morocco

Hairpin turns and steep road-side drops have the bus of tourists gripping handles and belts. Along the road I see Berber women bent forward, baring stacks of grass on their backs, slowly treading along the near-molten bitumen. Despite sitting in a pool of perspiration from the 40+ degree heat, my comfort far exceeds theirs.

 Heat brittle postcards on sale in Sahara Desert, Morocco

The villages are welcome hives of activity, providing more visual reassurance that we are not the only people who dare to venture into this vast, hot place. Through the window I see hot plates smoking with tagines on the coals, bartering exchanges punctuated with hand gestures and sealed with a shake. The streets are scattered with hoof-heavy cattle, rickety carts and brightly dressed celebrations.

My view for hours of driving to the Sahara Desert, MoroccoOn the way to the Sahara Desert, Morocco

After a few hours of driving, we have climbed into the tablelands and reached the world where brick villages blend with the sand and palms dominate the horizon. The communities look crispy, baked by the sun, and soothed with the odd palm that grants a spot of shade. Grand kazbahs pop up along distant ridges and disappear as quick as a desert mirage. Somewhere out there is a river, although shallow and still, its blue-green tone is like a drink for the eyes.

An oasis on the way to the Sahara Desert, MoroccoAn oasis and Kazbar on the way to the Sahara Desert, Morocco

The sweltering eight hour drive ends at the edge of the Sahara Desert, where deep tan sands stretch as far as I can see. A train of spitting, groaning camels takes our group into the heat, where the air strips all remaining moisture from our skin.

My camel for a day in  the Sahara Desert, Morocco Sahara Desert, Morocco

It is a stunning world out there. Fluffy clouds dance in a wide blue sky, wind-shaped ripples sit still in the sand and a comforting quiet descends upon us. At the camp we are greeted with tea poured by Berbers wearing bright blue scarves. A deluxe dinner of lamb and vegetable tagine is served with fresh salad and fruit before we all retire to a single campfire that sits within a the long darkness.

Berbers pouring tea  Sahara Desert, Morocco

Our Berber hosts are inspiring people, speaking in three or four tongues to explain their love of the desert. Their heat-hardened hands beat their drums with confidence and their honest voices sing Berber lyrics and love and life.

 Berber song, drums and dance around the campfire in the Sahara Desert, Morocco

As I lay on the still-warm sand, looking up to the stars and listening to the Berber songs, I am filled with pure relaxation; a sense of something special and a knowledge this is a moment that I will draw on for years to come.

Sahara Desert, Morocco

About these ads

14 comments on “Escaping into the Sahara Desert of Morocco

  1. Maggie Carlise
    August 10, 2012

    This was such an interesting post! And (though I really enjoyed all of them) your last picture was amazing!! (Truly breathtaking.)

    Thanks so much for sharing this.

    • Nic Freeman
      August 10, 2012

      Thanks Maggie. Glad you liked it. That last photo was the best I could do to capture the pure calm of the desert. It really was an experience I’ll never forget.

      Thanks for reading :)

  2. Elena
    August 10, 2012

    beautiful! Going back to Sahara next month : ) can’t wait..

  3. rohitaneja
    August 10, 2012

    Its nice to read about a wonderful journey with equally captivating pictures, capturing the essence of the sights…

    • Nic Freeman
      August 12, 2012

      Thanks Rohitaneja. Appreciate your comment and taking the time to tune in :)

  4. restlessjo
    August 10, 2012

    Unbelievable experience- I find myself envying you again.

  5. Fran Powell
    August 13, 2012

    Hi Nic, I am thoroughly enjoying the reading and experiences you guys are having. We are still missing you here! Fran

    • Nic Freeman
      August 17, 2012

      Hi Fran, Great to hear from you! Thanks for reading along! I’m having a ball travelling, with just so many wonderful things to see and experience! Hi to all there. Nic

  6. samson davis
    September 8, 2012

    Epic…thank you.
    This was my biggest miss on my trip there. I’m glad to finally see what I missed.

    • Nic Freeman
      September 8, 2012

      Glad I could share it with you. This was one on my best travel nights, for sure!

  7. Pingback: Gratitude for a Wonderful Year of 2012 Travel Adventures « Nic Freeman

  8. 89tatiana
    July 17, 2013

    Great pictures :)

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Information

This entry was posted on August 10, 2012 by in Culture, Travel and tagged , , , , , , .

Say hello!

I love hearing from you, so please share your thoughts! www.facebook.com/nicfreemantravel www.twitter.com/nicfreeman_ www.mail@nicfreeman.com

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

All material on this site is the property of Nic Freeman unless otherwise referenced.

Please email mail@nicfreeman.com to duplicate or purchase content, or to hire me to produce copy to suit your publication.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 9,014 other followers

%d bloggers like this: