We started off our trip, by taking the advice of a friend and staying at one of the most fabulous riads (guesthouse) in Marrakesh. For the same price as a hostel in Europe, we were treated like queens, with homemade breakfast included. Not only did it ooze luxury, the owner actually took it upon himself to book us a Sahara tour (Mami Tours, if you are ever interested) and make sure we woke up in time to attend it.
After two days, a ridiculously long bus ride, and some couscous stops later, we were in the Sahara Desert. Every moment we were there I kept having an I-can’t-believe-I-am-here moment. It was breathtaking. The sun was setting as we were arriving to our campsite on our camels, but no amount of darkness could have prevented what we saw next.
You see, this is the problem with being spontaneous, booking things and not really researching what you’re going to do. You are completely and sometimes horribly surprised when you get there. The only quick advice we got was to bundle up as the desert cools at night – which by the way it didn’t. No one even mentioned the beetles, lack of washrooms, or the tents made for midgets.
I should have prefaced and said that all four of us aren’t huge complainers. I would like to think we are all seasoned travelers by now. Imagine though, trying to pee whilst sand is blowing up your behind. Not fun. When I was done trying to squat pee in the complete darkness, I was running around trying not to get touched by the huge beetles crawling out of the sand. On the plus side, the food was amazing, the campsite was out of a movie, and the stars were clearer than any day in Toronto’s history.
Right before we laid our mats down to sleep I remember thinking, I truly hate my friend Hannah for suggesting this place. Today though, I am so happy that I did it. It was one of the most scary/beautiful experiences of my life. From the camel ride, to the sand dune climb, to the down right paranoid sleep – I would never take it back.
I would offer some advice, especially to the ladies out there. You will need a desert emergency kit which includes: wet naps, headlight, Kleenex, goggles, glasses (and not contacts), water bottles, bandana, and a beekeeper’s veils. I am only slightly kidding about the last one.
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