The drive through the desert was pretty crazy. Keep in mind you end up turning off a road and just seamlessly head into the desert without any roads. We starred at our driver in disbelief that he knew where we were going. There were few significant landmarks around and no real paths to follow. As soon as we got into the finer sand our driver decided it was time to have a bit of fun. Ali would speed in between the dunes and drift up and down them. It was quite the drive. I know some of the people staying in the camp did not enjoy this as much but we had a blast.
It was around 5 PM when we finally arrived at Erg Chigaga Luxury Desert Camp. We were greeted by multiple Moroccans to assist us get comfortable. The first night we stayed there was around 9 people and the second night there was around 15 people. It was predominately Canadians and Americans.
This camp area was incredible! We each had our own tent to sleep in that looked like we entered a new world when we walked through the entrance. In addition to the sleeping area, there was a large community tent for social drinking and a large tent next to it for breakfast/dinner. Everything at this Desert Camp is included in the price – food, drinks and activities. We are very isolated. The meals were hearty and there was plenty of wine and liquor to go around.
When we arrived we had enough time to watch the sunset on one of the largest dunes around. We were so lucky because it was perfectly clear out. We were able to hike up the hill with our wine and relax watching this unbelievable sunset. That moment alone, was priceless. The colors in the sky, and the massive amount of sand everywhere. The sand is so fine, that they joke it will be stuck in your luggage forever, unable to escape. Its so fine that your eyes barely get irritated by it. Once the sun was down, we all got a chance to sandboard down the dune… which was awesome!! Having snowboarded and wakeboarded before, this is nothing like it. Its like dropping in on a large skateboard halfpipe. You can’t really turn because the board can’t catch the edges to carve. Basically it is like a dive bomb down the dune. After we had dinner with everyone, we ended up finishing the night by the fire.
The following day we had a lovely breakfast and our first activity was a camel ride. They tie the camels together and they just walk along at a slow pace. It was a fun experience as a bucket list item but was a bit slower and less exciting for my expectations. They took us around the sand dunes for about an hour in half before heading back to go see how the nomads live in the desert.
We hiked for about an hour and then the drivers came to pick us up and take us the rest of the way. They took us to the Nomads camp and we learned how they make sand bread – yes you heard me right. They had a baby goat that we all got to play with while escaping the heat and having some Mint tea. After everyone had their fair share of bread and the baby goat, we headed back to camp for lunch.
As we were eating lunch, a sandstorm came through. The wind was strong and made it incredibly difficult to stay outside since you couldn’t see much. We all ended up in one of the large tents drinking and bonding with everyone at the camp. It was an amazing experience as we heard different stories, experiences and travels from people from different parts of the world. That’s what made this experience even more fun. Different people are coming in and out of the camp you end up interacting with everyone. More people joined our crew that night and we all enjoyed chatting about the day adventures.
It was sad once everything came to an end. We both felt that this was the climax of our trip in Morocco. I knew that we had other places to go to and see, however, it was one of the most enjoyable experiences so far.
We left the desert and continued our drive heading into the direction of Fez. Along the way we made a few more stops to enjoy the sights including the pottery making town, Tamegroute. We got to see how they spin the ceramics, with an underground foot petal! They then let the clay/pottery dry in the sun. They apply the color for glazing and then bake it in an over that it is over 1000 degrees hot.
After we left the Pottery town, we headed towards Todra Gorge, where we would be spending the night. It was within a mountain crevasse, but there were houses built along the road, barely on the edge. As we were driving through, you can see rock climbers setting up and climbing the very tall rocks. Apparently this place is known for it’s rock climbing. We stayed the night at Auberge Le Festival. As we were driving up, you can make out this rock/boulder-like castle along the mountain side. This was our hotel for the night! It was very quaint upon entering the reception area. Once we got to our room, it was a cave!
On the last day of the drive to Fes, we took some bizarre climate change. Driving through the desert mostly, we ended up driving up a mountain. In doing so, we were caught in a snowstorm that came out of nowhere. We got extremely lucky that they let us drive through because of our vehicle. We saw cars sliding off the road because of how heavy and slippery the snow was. It felt like all of this came out of left field and didn’t belong. We drove through Ifrane National Park at Azrou, home to Barbary Macaque monkeys and cedar forests. The monkeys were just hanging on the side of the road waiting for tourists to feed them bananas! It was so crazy! After this, we headed through some of the mountain towns, such as Ifrane, which looked like they were displaced out of Europe! It is the “Switzerland” of Morocco! and made our way through European looking towns. Once we padded through all the snow, and made it back to the desert-like terrain, it was finally time to part ways with Ali. We had arrived to Fes.
Overall, this was one of the best experiences of our life. Everything from the people we met, landscapes and the amenities were just out of this world. I would recommend this trip to everyone. You really need to go and check it out for yourself. It is totally worth it!