The road to Merzouga, the gateway to the desert, is long and desolate, but with really interesting scenarios. One thing that I do not understand is how Moroccans manage to be everywhere, in the sense that every time we stopped to take a picture or change driver, usually in the middle of nowhere, with just some small dunes here and there, magically someone trying to sell us something turned up out of nowhere. One wonders how they know that you will stop there, because there's nothing around, yet I wonder.
Arrived in Merzouga, the guy who we had booked the camel ride in the desert told us we couldn’t go because it would rain. One doesn’t expect rain in the desert but it surely did rain! Stubborn, we found someone else who would take us, and so we went. We arrived after a two-hour camel ride to the oasis where there was the Berber camp where we were staying. The fact that it had rained was not a problem, except that the tents are blankets made of camel and goat's hair and having got wet, they were pretty stinky.
During the evening, a friend of mine mentioned “the lion of the desert”, I was not listening to the conversation, but I remembered the words "the lion of the desert". During the night, next to my tent I heard a horrible noise that made me jump off the carpet I was sleeping on. I had never heard this noise before so I remained silent throughout the rest of the night thinking it was "the lion of the desert". In fact, it was a camel that had decided to sleep next to our tent.
The next day, after another four hours of camel ride in the desert, towards Algeria, we came to a Touareg camp. The Touaregs don’t live in the oases, but in the proximity of wells, where there is a bit of vegetation for the animals to graze, but where there are absolutely no palm trees. Although the Touaregs sleep in tents, some of them build houses of mud and straw. Unlike the Berbers who live all close to each other, the Touaregs live more isolated; other families are nearby but not next to each other.
Being nomads, they move according to their needs, with their camels and donkeys. Their peculiarity is that among them, there are people with fair skin and light hair and blue eyes, an interesting contrast with the other local ethnic groups.
Except strange sounds coming from camels, the desert is a wonderful and quiet place and for me, as an astronomy lover, looking at that sky was very special, it is so difficult to find total darkness.
I deeply loved my camel, they are very docile and calm animals and I love the way their feet spread when touching the ground, and the way they get down to let people on them. The desert experience was really fantastic, highly recommend!