While I’m slowly making my way up a gigantic dune I think that it’s almost a shame to walk on these perfect sand formations. Luckily the wind will erase our tracks in a day or so. I‘ve always been fascinated by the desert. Now I‘m finally here, on my first multi-day trek in the greatest of all deserts: the Sahara. Together with my friend and excellent guide Aziz Boullouz we’re guiding a group of guests through the dunes of Erg Chigaga, in southern Morocco. Seven days off the grid, just the sand, the sun and the stars.
I wasn’t sure if I would actually enjoy a week of trekking in the desert. It turned out I’m not so spoiled after all, I didn’t even miss the shower! On the contrary, it’s liberating not having to worry about all the things you don’t even realise you are constantly worrying about in your daily life. Our rhythm is dictated by the sun. We wake up when it rises and go to sleep not too long after it sets. In the morning and afternoon we walk, around noon we have a light meal and sleep, waiting for the sun to lessen it’s strenght and make hiking possible again. In the evening we look for a beautiful spot to set up our tents and take a mint tea on the top of a nearby dune, waiting for the sunset.
Dromedaries are carrying our equipment from one camp to the other, we had eight of them, together with three cameleers: Mohammed, Adi and Hussein. Needless to say that these men and their animals are perfectly adapted to the desert. During the trek the dromedaries will never drink any water, because there is none to be found and because it would be to heavy to bring. But that’s not a problem for an animal who can survive more than two weeks without it. Hunched in their kitchen tent Said and Yassine are making the impossible happen again and again, every evening. They cook us dinner with the most primitive tools. We generally have a soup with freshly baked bread as a starter and then a couscous or tajine. Followed by a dessert with the obligatory mint tea. When I asked them were they had learned to cook so well the answer was: In our mother’s kitchen, of course!
Unfortunately more often than not reality doesn’t meet one’s expectations. This time it‘s the other way round. The desert has firmly taken me in his grip. I know I will return.