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.
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.
Street vendors like the one above in Meknes are a common sight in many towns and cities in Morocco. The visitor – and locals – usually do not have far to walk far to find what they need to buy.
And just around the corner was a compact shop selling just threads. The colourful display (see photo below) means that almost any colour was available.
By way of amazing contrast, nearby was a butcher shop, shown in the third photo today (see below). Yes – that is a camel’s head hanging there. Not sure how one would cook that to eat it – perhaps it was merely a ploy to attract customers and wasn’t for sale. I wasn’t game to ask our guide for fear of making an almighty blunder and cause some kind of offence.
It was just one more fascinating sight in this wonderful place called Magical Morocco.