Camels Are Not the Best Mode of Transportation

This last weekend my class traveled to the Sahara. It was my favorite experience in Morocco so far. Although, there was a lot of pain involved as well.

Our trip began on Friday right after class with an eight-hour bus ride to our first hotel. Eight hours was a long time, but we managed to entertain ourselves. The hotel was amazing. After three weeks of “roughing it” in Fes it was really nice to have a mini getaway. The hotel had good food, a swimming pool, mini golf, and tennis (unfortunately there was no net on the tennis courts and the racquets had holes in them). The best part was our rooms had air conditioning in our rooms. It was the first time I slept through the night in Morocco because I usually wake up from the heat. With the air conditioning I even got to use the blankets on my bed, a concept I’d almost forgotten.

The next morning we had another hour-long bus ride to Merzouga.  Once there we ate lunch and hung out until evening, then it was time to ride camels!

The plan for that night was to ride out to our camp in the desert, spend the night, then ride back in the morning. The camel ride was two hours, and that was two hours too long in my book. I used to go horseback riding quite a bit, so I thought it wouldn’t be a problem for me, but I’ve never been so uncomfortable than when I was on the back of a camel. My body was pretty sore the next day too. Fortunately my camel was very tame. One of my group mates was thrown by his camel twice!

We stayed with and were guided by Amazigh people, the indigenous people of Northern Africa. That night at camp we ate dinner and listened to Amazigh music. Everyone danced, and laughed, and had a great time. I had never seen the stars so clear in my life. They were beautiful! Some of my classmates and I woke up at 4:30 the next morning to climb a giant sand dune. It was a lot of work and it took a long time to get to the top. I think it took me a little more than an hour to reach the summit. I almost gave up a couple times, but I persevered. We made it in time to see the sunrise, and I don’t think I will ever forget it.

Right after we came back down it was time to get back on the camels again. This ride was worse than the first because my body was already sore, so every step the camel took hurt.

I was grateful to be on the bus again even though it would take nine hours to get back to Fes. On the way back we stopped in a city called Ifrane. I loved it there because it reminded me of home. It was so much cooler (weather-wise) than Fes. It was probably somewhere in the 60s when we were there. The trees even reminded me of Seattle too.

I got back to Fes exhausted and had a pile of homework waiting for me, but I had an amazing time. It’s an experience I’ll never forget.