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The Sahara Desert

I love road trips! So I woke with anticipation even though we’d be in the car around 8 hours. Because this is the first G Adventures tour in Morocco since the country opened up, there are just 4 of us. And we have our stellar tour guide and driver, Mohammed and Mohammed, respectively, all to ourselves.

We traveled through diverse terrain. For a time we passed through green landscape with houses sporting pitched roofs. These are necessary in the Atlas Mountains because of the snowfall. I was surprised at how quickly I’d become accustomed to the flat roofs.

We spotted numerous encampments of nomadic people. It’s hard to believe they still pull up and move their livestock and family according to the weather.

We saw several mountains bearing writing that states “God, King, Country.”

We saw families washing rugs in streams. Mohammed explained that the rugs are usually cleaned cooperatively with another family because it’s such a big task.

The landscape gradually changed until we were viewing green swathes of date trees growing beneath dramatic red rock. And the homes were made of Adobe.

When we arrived at our “auberge” we were greeted by a blast of air like a furnace. But our accommodation was a welcome sight with a crystal blue pool. It has been such a joy to watch Mohammed greet associates that he worked with regularly before the pandemic–they have truly missed each other! We were in that pool within minutes.

The meals we enjoyed during our stay featured local food that the Berbers eat. The fresh salad they serve is reminiscent of bruschetta or salsa, and we greedily scooped it up with the homemade bread. One of our meals was a Berber omelette, which hid savory tomatoes and onions beneath the eggs. We enjoyed a Turkey dish that had eggs on top. Eggs seem to be an important part of the diet. Dessert is always fruit, and the ambrosial watermelon reminds me of seeded watermelon of my youth. The flavor seems superior to seedless melons.

We spent the 4th of July in the pool, to tolerate the heat. But the highlight of the day was a magical camel ride through the enchanting desert. Mohammed taught us how to arrange our scarves into turbans and then introduced us to our camels. Abraham, who owns the camels, helped us up. The camels are wonky as they stand up and it’s unsettling to try to balance as they heave up and down!

Our ride was restorative! Surrounded by golden sand and vast expanses of undulating hills, we adapted the slow rhythm of these friendly beasts. Atop a high, lonely dune, we watched the sun set.

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