A dose of Moroccan magic: a night in the Sahara desert

Sitting under the starry, moonlit African sky with a camp fire casting warmth to those of us nearby was not my most anticipated part of the trip, but it will be one of the most memorable ones.  My friend,V, and I met a group of friendly Berliners at the camp who were almost every bit as entertaining as the Berber drummers (who were also our charges at the camp).  The bottle of rum & gin brought by the Germans were generously distributed to those without – for added warmth, you see – and within a flash it was consumed.  It didn’t matter; the drummers continued drumming in between conversations, the fire still ablaze, the moon glowed brightly above us and I didn’t want to be anywhere else.

Drumming action in the desert

Enjoying African beats in the desert

At 6:45 the next morning, stiff from the bitter cold of the night, V & I found ourselves struggling to climb a small sand dune to watch the sunrise.  We persevered eventually.  Soon enough the sun peeked up and we saw the rust red of the fine Saharan sand blush further.  The nomads, who were a few yards in front of us, started stirring in their tents and before we knew it the welcoming warmth of the sun’s rays reached us.  Give us a cup of coffee and we would have stayed forever.

Sunrise over sand dunes

Sunrise over sand dunes

Sunrise over the Saharan sand dunes

Sunrise over the Saharan sand dunes & silhouettes of our German friends

Fully fed and somewhat warmer we said goodbye to our new friends at the camp and headed back to Merzouga via camel to meet our tour guide, Jaouad, for the last leg of an already splendid adventure.  While I looked forward to experiencing Fez I was reluctant to leave the quiet bliss of the desert.

Erg Chebbi to Merzouga via camels

Erg Chebbi to Merzouga via camels

Photographer’s note: All of the photographs in this post were taken with the Sony Nex 5n save for the camel portrait below.  I must say I’m impressed with what this sleek micro 4/3 camera can do under low light conditions.  In some of the photos ISO was as high as 3200 but the noise level was manageable.  Maybe we photo enthusiasts don’t need to lug a heavy dSLR for travel photography after all?!  Next week I’ll be posting quick tips on photographing sunset pictures, stay tuned.

Jmel (camel)

My sassy jmel (camel)

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