Over the years, I have seen some unusual sights while travelling.
For example, only earlier this week here in South Australia we were driving from Peterborough in the mid-north back home in Murray Bridge, near Adelaide. We passed two people travelling north on in-line skates (roller blades) using two skiing poles to propel them and their small trailers.
And very hard work on a hot, humid day.
On our tour of Morocco, I took the photo above. We were stopped at a roadside restaurant for morning tea. Other vehicles had also stopped there. A single sheep was having a grand tour with an excellent view of the countryside. I love the trouble that the owner of the van had gone to in order to keep the animals he needed to transport in safety. It was possible a quite normal thing to do in Morocco, though I didn’t see any more examples of this method. In Australia, we are more used to seeing animals transported in large trucks, trailers of many sizes, or on the backs of utes (utility vehicles).
Less common would be transporting animals inside a vehicle (with the exception of pet dogs, cats and the like), though I have heard of people carrying animals inside the boot (trunk) of a car and even inside a van. I have even seen sheep being transported on a quad bike (4 wheel motorbike) or over the lap of a person riding a two-wheel motorbike which is relatively common on farms here in Australia. But I have never heard of or seen animals carried on TOP of the cabin of a car or van, as in this photo.
I actually think that it is quite innovative.
During our brief visit to the Sahara Desert on a tour of Morocco I took a series of photos of the desert, the plants of the desert and some of the tracks seen in the sand. I guess I expected the sand dunes to be pristine, perhaps a little windswept and certainly not covered in all kinds of tracks. Sure – a few footprints like those in the photo of our tour group shown above.
In some parts of the desert through which we travelled on our camel rides into and out of the Sahara I saw many wheel tracks as well. Some of the tracks were obviously those of people walking, larger ones were certainly camel tracks and yet others were motor bike and four wheel drive vehicles.
But what about those shown immediately below? Are they bicycle tracks? I didn’t see anyone riding a bike, but I guess that with the right tyres and plenty of energy it might be possible.
I have no doubt about the tracks shown in the following photo. I am almost certain that this photo shows the track of a small reptile, though it was obviously out and about before I had climbed the sand dune near our camp site. I have no idea what kind of reptile made this track. It may have been a small lizard or a skink or gecko. If my readers can identify this, please let me know in the comments.
Just as puzzling are the tracks shown in the photo below. Are they from a bird? They appear to be of a hopping bird but I am not totally convinced. The only birds I saw on our brief visit to this part of the desert were some House Sparrows near our camp site, and some blue-grey finch-like birds on the camel ride into the desert. Sadly, the motion of the camel I was riding prevented me getting an identifiable photo.
On our tour of Morocco we spent the last hour or so of daylight on Christmas Eve riding camels into the Sahara Desert. I have already written about this adventure several times here on this site – just look back over recent posts – or check in my archives.
While I felt uncomfortable riding the camel – not my preferred mode of transport – I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of being in the desert. This once-in-a-lifetime adventure was all I hoped it to be. The colours are astounding, especially just before and during sunset which was the time of day we entered the desert. Because it was mid winter the air was crisp and clean; very little pollution out there.
I have called this camel ride a once only experience. I would love to return to Morocco some day but at my age, time is probably against me. Besides, in the limited number of years I still have I would like to experience other countries and cultures. Sadly, ill health has restricted me a little over the last year, but I am still hopeful of travelling in the coming years.
In fact, one of the reasons we went on this particular tour was at the request of our daughter. (She features in earlier posts here.) She had just finished six months of volunteer teaching in Ethiopia. After visiting her there the three of us continued on into Morocco and then Spain (photos of Spain to follow in coming months). Later in 2016 she returns to teach in Ethiopia again, but this time for two years. During that time I hope we can visit again, and visit several more European and African countries. Time will tell.
In recent posts here on this site I have written about our tour of Morocco. The visit to this amazing country was certainly a wonderful experience. One of the highlights of the visit occurred on Christmas Eve. We were taken on a camel ride into the Sahara Desert.
While the experience was unforgettable, I must say that riding a camel is not one of my favourite modes of travel. I find it very uncomfortable. In addition, I also found it hard to take photos while riding a camel and I found that most frustrating. I must say I was quite happy to dismount at our destination, a Berber camp in the desert.
One of the frustrations of trying to take photos while riding a camel relate to my interest in birds. I write about the birds I see and photograph on this site. With a constantly moving platform such as a camel in motion, it is very hard to compose the scene, focus and shoot. I saw some interesting desert birds on this ride but none I could use here, or on my birding site. I couldn’t even use the photos to identify the species. (Sigh)
Still, despite these limitations, I managed a few good photos while riding a camel. I must say that some of the shots I did manage to take – without falling off or otherwise injuring myself – do show the amazing colours of the desert at sunset. I did take more the following morning as we rode out of the desert.
On Christmas Day last year I wrote here about our Christmas in the the Sahara desert a few years ago. We were on a guided tour of Morocco – you can read about our adventures in recent posts (go to the Archives or use the cloud on the side bar). Our tour dates happened to bring us into the Sahara on Christmas Eve.
Once we had left our bus – including our luggage – we saw a group of camels waiting patiently to take us into the desert. I had seen the amazing colours of the Sahara in photos, but until you experience it with your own eyes at sunset, you don’t fully appreciate the depth of the colours. Some of the tour group dressed up for the occasion, including my wife and daughter (see photo below).
As we set off into the desert I realised how difficult it is to take photos while travelling on a camel. I think this was my first ever ride on a camel. The camel constantly lurches forward and then back. It is an animal which does not make a very good platform for photography. I am pleased I managed to get a few reasonable shots during the hour long journey.
In the coming days I will show more photos of this part of our journey, including our camp site in the desert.