I have been through the desert on a…

1967
You see I've been through the desert on a horse with no name It felt good to be out of the rain In the desert you can't remember your name 'Cause there ain't no one for to give you no pain La la la la la la... Lyrics from the 1971 America hit; A Horse with No Name lyrics © Warner/chappell Music Ltd

 

 

 

Instead of trying to wrap your head around this…try wrapping the fabric around YOUR head.

Many meters of fabric for this fellow, but it was suggested that a minimum of 2m would be sufficient to keep the sand out of our noses, eyes and mouths.

 

 

 

All dressed up with somewhere to go…

Writer of the hit song Horse with no name, Dewey Bunnell, says he remembered his childhood travels through the Arizona and New Mexico deserts when his family lived at Vandenberg Air Force Base. Bunnell has explained that “A Horse with No Name” was “a metaphor for a vehicle to get away from life’s confusion into a quiet, peaceful place”.

This Dromedary camel, also known as an Arabian camel, or one-humped camel, was one of the string of camels that took us to our quiet, peaceful place and the desert camp where we would spend the night.

 

 

 

My wife, Carolyn wrapped up and ready to go…

Although this species of camel have only one hump, but they employ it to great effect. The hump stores up to 42kg of fat, which the animal can break down into water and energy when sustenance is not available. It is this hump that gives camels their legendary ability to travel up to 100 desert miles without water.

 

 

 

I have heard of different saddle types for horses, but THIS is the ‘saddle’ that we had to sit on and the steel structure ended in ‘handlebars’ for us to cling to. Especially when the camel got up or down. (You can see the handlebars clearly in the photo above)

On a flat surface, the animals are relatively easy to ‘ride’, but staying in the saddle while they get up and down is challenging.

The legs of a camel work in mysterious ways. When they get up the rider has to lean back and then forward to accommodate the method in which a camel gets to their feet, as it is a two-stage movement.

However, the physical act that the rider has to perform is counterintuitive. You want to lean forward, but you have to lean back. It is the same when a camel goes up or down a dune. Going up is easy, but when descending, the rider has to lean backwards or fall forward over the bars.

 

 

 

Were we able to tie our tagelmust (head covering)? Not something that either of us were able to do. Luckily our guide was eager to do them for us.

This is how you are meant to do them, and reading the instructions or watching YouTube tutorials makes it look a lot easier than it is:

Tie a knot 30 cm from the edge, then put the tagelmust on your head with the knot at the back and the rest of the fabric in front.

Then firmly wrap the fabric situated at the front of your head around so the tagelmust is held firmly in place on your head. Then twist it round as many times as is necessary with this part of the tagelmust (1 or 2).

Wedge the fabric in the back part of the tagelmust, above the knot.

Release the fabric restrained at the back by the knot so it comes to the front.

It then hides the lower part of your face, to protect it from UV and sand.

Or you can just give up and ask your guide for help!

 

 

 

Did you know?

The camel has a digitigrade stance. It has large feet to support it in soft sand, and its soles have flexible pads that can step onto small stones without losing their footing or breaking stride. The walking stride is long and slow, with the body supported for much of each stride on the two right or two left legs.

These young men accompanied us from the start of the camel trek to the camp to make certain that both the camels and our tour group had a good experience.

 

 

 

Searching for signal.

The Sahara is a desert spanning across North Africa. With an area of 9,200,000 square kilometres, it is the largest hot desert in the world and the third-largest desert overall, smaller only than the deserts of Antarctica and the northern Arctic.

 

 

 

How did the Sahara get its name? In Arabic, the Sahara is called Al-Ṣaḥrāʾ al-Kubrā, or “the Great Desert. The Arabic word ṣaḥrāʾ means “desert,” and its plural form, ṣaḥārāʾ, is where this African desert gets its Anglicized name.

 

 

 

The Sahara Desert is the largest hot desert in the world and is home to some of the largest dunes in the world.

The hottest recorded temperature in the Sahara is 57.7C. I cannot even comprehend a number like that. By comparison, the coldest temperature ever recorded was a chilly -11C.

 

 

 

The first sight of the camp where we would sleep over for the night.

Golden Camp is located in the dunes of Erg Chebbi, in the area of Merzouga in the Sahara desert.

The staff are multilingual in Berber, Moroccan Arabic, English, Spanish, French, Portuguese and Italian.

 

 

 

Aside from the camels and the ubiquitous 4×4 vehicles, visitors can get out into the vastness of the desert in one of these vehicles. Although noisy, the camels were unperturbed by them and the dust clouds that they were kicking up.

 

 

 

The camp was certainly like a set from the Arabian Night movie and quite unexpected.

Unexpected because I very seldom research the places that we are going to stay in while we are on a trip such as this. I would rather be surprised. And in this instance, I was truly surprised!

 

 

 

Just one of the outdoor seating areas where guests can relax and absorb the vastness of the desert and the endlessness of the night sky.

 

 

 

Our accommodation.

Our double tent had a big double bed as well as a toilet basin and a separate shower.

Although the tent had heating, the night was not cold enough to warrant turning it on.

Our tent did not have electrical outlets, but there were USB charging points. If we needed to charge our electrical devices with a conventional plug, we could have done it in the Restaurant Tent.

 

 

 

The camp at night. Most spectacular.

 

 

 

Early morning, waiting for the sunrise that never appeared.

 

 

 

My wife and I had assumed that the table and chairs were for private dining. Turns out we were wrong.

Guests used it to await the sunrise and I can only assume that it was put to use for sunsets as well.

 

 

 

Our transport to get us back to the coach. Time was of the essence to get us on the road to the next destination, hence horsepower rather than camels.

This was a part of our Moroccan adventure that we enjoyed the most, and if we were to do it again, we would opt for two nights to experience some of the other activities on offer.

 

 

This was the company we utilized for our tour.

There were issues along the way, but nothing that could not be resolved on the spot. It did give value for money and if Morocco is a bucket list destination then the tour host, Linda, will give you that in spades.

As I have said many times before, if you go with no expectations then you cannot be disappointed. All my wife and I require is a comfortable bed, reasonable connectivity, hot water(most of the time) and a breakfast that sets us up for the day. On this trip, we almost had a full house of requirements. Those that were lacking, we accommodated and smiled. Making it all part of the overall experience and adventure.

 

 

 

Travel is the proud winner of this prestigious award from the digital British lifestyle magazine Luxlife. The award is in the category Best Travel & Experiences Blog 2024 – South Africa

 

 

 

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