Sunset and Sunrise in the Sahara via Gorge and funfair.
Having arrived late at the hotel we had a brief look around the local town as previously described we were up before the sunrise and fed and marshalled out the door in quick order for an early start which was slightly delayed by the very nice but perpetually delayed and disorganised Sam from Manchester.
We made good time via an Oasis
To the source of the river in a spectacular gorge.
Where we were handed over to a local Berber guide who took us on a meandering walk through the valley as he explained the irrigation system and farming techniques. He was a charismatic young man and it was a beautiful setting.
We were then taken into a rug maker and given a talk and a sales pitch nothing to strong arm. The window was a little more entertaining.
We then trudged back to the bus and along with a convoy of tourists had a reasonable lunch before settling off again.
The land became increasingly arid and flat as we approached our destination. The first sight of the sand dunes rising like mountains will be a sight that I will remember.
Off the bus and straight on to our latest mode of transport the ship of the desert.
When they lurch to get up and then plummet to the ground it's definitely a fear inducing moment. The rocking movement is ok but the saddle stretches bits of you that haven't been stretched before. We met some great people on the trip and greatly enjoyed their company.
I made a beautiful and special friend.
He was my guide and companion during my trip into the desert. He definitely was a character and knew his own mind. Apparently camels have intelligence of an 8 year old child and are more intelligent than a horse or elephant?
So off we lolloped into the desert .
In a long line of slightly nervous passengers aboard ship.
We dismounted and struggled up some sand dunes in preparation for the sunset.
Some brave souls Rae included participated in sand boarding the same principle as the snow version.
Sunset was beautiful as were the surroundings.
It was definitely on my bucket list as a boy as so very glad I was able to realise a boyhood dream.Which I guess goes to prove it's never too late.
Brian and a camel getting their picture taken!
We then headed back to the camp for a meal, Berber music by a campfire and a beautiful full moon which unfortunately made the stars less starrry.
We shared a tent with the 2 English lads from Manchester and all went to bed fully clothed as it was as expected bloody freezing. The beds were surprisingly comfortable but unsurprisingly full of sand.
A reasonable night's sleep then saw us up before dawn and remounting our ships once more to hunt for the sunrise.
The sand is as fine as talcum powder and walking up the soft bit of the dunes is bloody hard work but worth the pain.
Hands were so cold and having to hold on to the metal bar to keep seated on the camel was truly painful.
Some of the gang we traveled with.
A great time a great experience in great company. Worth every minute of the gruelling 20 hour journey to and from. Sometimes felt that a lot was being packed in and when individual tours came together it was a little overwhelming.
Would I do it again probably not, am glad we did it a massive yes, would I recommend it absolutely it's a must do if you're going to visit this beautiful, frustrating, bewildering and chaotic country.
I haven't done any of this justice and can't and haven't included the conversations the laughter that we were privileged to share with so many like minded people from so many nationalities across such a wide age range . They made the experience even more special.
Back onto the bus for the 11-12 journey back to Marekesh stopping only for comfort breaks and lunch. Back once more into the noise confusion and pollution that is Maraquesh. We leave tomorrow on the bus to the coastal town of Essatoura.
We will be there for a week as we kick back and plan the next step of the journey.
Won't be sorry to leave Marekesh and have no plans or desire to return. Probably ok for a weekend shopping trip but even that would not be my first choice.