CAMEL RIDING AND CAMPING IN THE SAHARA DESERT

I signed up for a tour to the Sahara Desert from MERZOUGA, Morocco’s only genuine saharan erg is ERG CHEBBI. The 3 day tour included camping, hotel, some meals and a 1200 km mini-bus ride for the price of $100. When I worked (hard) for Portland Bicycle tours we had a 5 hour wine tour that was $90. This might be one of the advantages of traveling 3rd world. I define 3rd world as when you see people coming from the grocery store with there goods on a donkey, or is that the future after oil? just an observation. We stopped at AIT BENHADDOU, TODRA GORGE, TINGHIR and a fossil stone factory (that for me was awesome) probably the least favorite of the group. I’ve bought a couple rocks, been taken everytime. I think I’m a good businessman but I’m lousy at bargaining. I paid a fortune for a couple rocks and the hash was expensive too.
There were 3 twenty year old girls from the Southern USA who were studying in the UK and Spain. They were riding the folks ticket. They each bought themselves a rug at the rug shop stop. One called Dad to OK the purchase, kinda cute in a way. Their photo is in the stream of pictures I posted.
No-one says Bonjour (French is spoken here) to me it’s always Hello I’m obviously a target tourist, I should be ready, but their good, very good.
Well after many tourist stops we end up at the desert and within 30 minutes we were on the camels and off we go. 10 minutes later I was done, that was fun. But truly an hour and a half is a long time on a camel. There;s no stirrups like a horse saddle, your legs just hang and my ball were killing me (I wasn’t the only one to complain). We arrived at camp and hiked to the top of a dune, I only went 1/2 way. I told them to photo shop me into one of their pictures so it looked like I hiked to the top. They had a snowboard (sandboard) a couple of Polish girls got on and slide down, they were loving it. We slept in tents (no formal bathroom) pee in the desert and hold that poop in. We were up at 5am and riding back, we saw the sun come up about 1/2 way through the ride. I got the camel that had the supplies, it was super comfortable compared to the ride out. I was the only one to tip the guides that lead (walked) us out and back. At that moment I was proud to be an American and share what We & I’ve worked so hard for and share it with people who showed me a great time. I even tipped the guy that made our free breakfast at the Hotel.
The driver was driving pretty fast, one of the girls got sick (she said it was the flu) but the driving didn’t help. I told him to slow down or no tip. It worked, amazing. I took a few pictures, but let me just say it was one of those roads you see on National Geographic, fucking SCARY. I got a few pictures, but they aren’t of some of the craziest roads we drove. Jesus I was kinda scared, I told the girls that’s the 3rd world travel bargain, guard rail, hit or missing, life still goes on, hopefully! This is where my T-shirt “God Doesn’t Like me” hopefully doesn’t apply.
It was a really fun 3 days, I would do that again if the opportunity showed itself.
So the driver had our lives in his hands, so to speak. When we arrived in Marrakech, I tipped him, again NONE of the other 12 travelers did, WTF really. It was a 3 day $100 tour. How much could they be making? Proud to have the resources to share with others, who could use it. Everyone else was let out of the van to get back to their hotel, the driver took me back to mine. What goes around comes around, remember that.

20130519-090658.jpg
THIS IS WHAT A CAMEL TOE REALLY LOOKS LIKE

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VERY EARLY MORNING CAMEL RIDE, SUN JUST COMING UP
MORE OF MY PHOTOS HERE
GOOGLE PHOTOS OF:
MERZOUGA
AIT BENHADDOU
TODRA GORGE

2 thoughts on “CAMEL RIDING AND CAMPING IN THE SAHARA DESERT

  1. Jill

    Hey, leave the camels alone! Very glad you went to Morocco, though, even if you are getting scammed.

    Reply
  2. Kathryn Reder

    The picture of the goat tree was something else! What a beautiful gorge and as usual, you are meeting lots of people. I can hear you laughing. How lovely to get “scammed” and pass a little wealth around the world – meager to us but significant to others. Where is your bike during your three day jaunt with the camels???

    My bike is in Spain, I regret not bringing it with me. I’ve ridden both north and south of Sidi Ifni. It was a rusty beach bike, just having my bike to ride around locally would have been worth it. If there’s a next time, I’ll be back for sure.
    jeff

    Reply

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