A Night in the Desert

The staff at the AALIM Center can help students plan and organize travel in Morocco. During my summer in Morocco, I made sure to take advantage of most of the weekends by planning excursions to various tourist attractions. While each destination held its own special charm, my personal favorite trip was to Merzouga in the Sahara Desert.

Merzouga is a small town on the edge of the desert inhabited by camels and Berbers. Its orange landscape and clay buildings stand in stark contrast to the beaches in the north and the rocky Atlas mountains between those beaches and the desert.

Sign for our hotel, the Camel House

Sign for our hotel, the Camel House

Prior to our departure we booked accommodations in town. Most of the hotels offer rooms and various camel trek packages. We opted for the package that included the camel trek to a Berber camp in the desert, a night in the desert, a view of the dunes at sunrise, and a camel ride to return to the hotel.

Upon arrival at the Camel's House, we met our guides, Hassan and Mohamed. The accommodations were perfect for a nap and, in true Moroccan style, they offered us plenty of food. We took some time to relax after the long bus ride and the copious food, then headed out to the local gift shop. I highly recommend checking out some Berber wares if you decide to visit the Sahara. The shop was more like a warehouse, with clothes, jewelry, rugs, furniture, and more. This experience will give you a chance to practice your haggling skills!

About an hour before sundown, we set out on our trusty camels for a night under the desert sky. Hassan and Mohamed kindly arrange our blue headscarves so that we could ride in true Berber style.

Hassan leading us through the desert garden to the "camel parking" (a spot by the well)

Hassan leading us through the desert garden to the "camel parking" (a spot by the well)

At the desert camp, we drank tea, ate Berber tagine, and went sand surfing. I don't want to spoil the magic of the trip by providing details, but we ate, sang, and definitely did not sleep all night long. I will never forget the unbeatable stargazing I experienced during my night in the desert.