Going off the grid isn't something that we get to do often - rarely is there a place to escape to in our modern society of social media and smartphones. Every once in a while an opportunity presents itself and the rewards for taking yourself offline and into the moment are certainly worthwhile! I was lucky enough to spend a night in Sahara desert on my recent trip to Morocco.
I walked the desert and slept under the stars like a true Berber nomad. The Berbers lived in north Africa long before the arrival of the Arabs, and their culture probably dates back more than 4,000 years, today the Berber people live a nomadic life wandering the Sahara desert.
To reach our camp in the Sahara desert we had to cross a large portion of the desert - the best way to get across the sweeping sand dunes is to ride camels. You can ride a camel for around 200 dirhams or you can do what I did and walk. My guide and I walked alongside the camels barefoot in the sand and then left the group to explore the sand dunes. It can be tough to walk in the desert and the sand switches between hard and soft but it can also be a free massage for your feet!
We reached the Berber camp after two hours of travel and stayed at a traditional camp alongside the camel drivers. The sleeping tents at the Berber desert camps are made of the traditional Saharan ‘haimas’ materials and were actually quite comfortable! There were beds with plenty of blankets and pillows for the cold night and there was a toilet facility on site. There was a separate dining-salon tent and outdoor space for relaxation and enjoyment of the camp-fire.
At the camp we enjoyed the sunset before tucking into a traditional Moroccan tagine. Afterwards we gathered around a campfire to enjoy some drumming from Obama and El Med Juba.
Fun In The Sahara
The sahara desert is a giant play area! Let loose - jump, roll and leap! Run up and down the sand dunes until you are too tired! Here is a place to be free.
Sleeping Under The Stars
Nothing can prepare you for the experience of sleeping under the stars in the Sahara desert. The night's are cold and harsh but more than worth it for the view of the night sky. Far from the light pollution of the city, the sky explodes with thousands of tiny stars and the constellations become clear.
We may never know how many stars there are but astronomers estimate there are 100 thousand million in the Milky Way alone and countless galaxies beyond that. They glow with a light as icy cold as the desert at night but they are really on fire. And some are so far away that we are seeing light from a star that's now extinct.
It makes me dizzy to think of all this vastness and I always wonder if there's anything beyond these trillions of miles of galaxies. Are they all swept up into a tiny music box on the coffee table of a grande dame called Eve, who inhabits another cosmos of a trillion stars? It's impossible not to contemplate the universe with a view like this: