Sunday, June 9, 2013

Day 1 on the Sahara Desert Tour from Marrakesh

My alarm went of at 6 this morning, to get me up for the early pick up for the three day Sahara desert tour I booked through my hostel.  I was the first person at breakfast this morning, two German guys showed up later, they were going on a Sahara tour through a different company.  A representative showed up later than expected to meet me for the tour, at almost 7:30 am instead of the scheduled 7 am pick up time. I did not mind, the late pick up gave me time to eat breakfast and be sure I had everything before he arrived. 

There were two groups at the meeting point and two vans, my group, the 3 day 2 night Sahara tour and the 2 day 1 night Sahara tour group.  We split into separate vans and around 8 am, the vans had picked up everyone and we headed out of Marrakesh.  The landscape quickly changed as we drove towards the mountains, most of the day was spent riding in the tour van. Our first stop was a bathroom break and photo op about an hour into the ride. We took these breaks about hourly all day, was nice to get out and see the scenery, take pictures and then resume our journey. 

First stop on our trip to the Sahara Desert 
I was tired, woke up early & went to sleep late last night.  I nodded off during our drive, then I would wake up and look out to see the scenery.  After we got past the mountains, the scenery became more desert like, in many places lots of red rocks, sometimes it looked exactly like the Arizona desert, in other parts it looked completely different.  The weather started off cool this morning, it quickly warmed as the sun rose.

Lynnae at 2nd stop on Sahara Desert Tour

View on way to Sahara Desert
Our long stop of the day was in Ouarzazate,  a Berber Village, considered the door to the Saharan Desert.  We went on a 1 hour and 20 minute walking tour of this village, which is divided into and old town and new town.  Many films have been shot on location in Ouarzazate, the Gladiator and Prince of Persia were two our tour guide mentioned.  In the old part of the village, the homes are made with wood and straw.  Our guide explained this combination keeps them cool in the summer and warm in the winter, but they have to be rebuilt every 2 years, the rains wear them down.  The village was interesting to see, we also had lunch there, before resuming our journey in the van through the desert.

Berber Village in Ouarzazate

Lynnae & tour Guide dueling a sword used in the Gladiator
Berber Village in Ouarzazate
After lunch we continued our drive through the desert, stopping periodically to take what our driver called a panoramic picture.  Our driver spoke very little English, the only tour guide we had was in the Berber village, other than that, we were in the Sahara desert, without much information on where we were.  There was a lot of driving today, we arrived at our hotel around 6pm, all of us exhausted from the day traveling in the desert sun.  We are staying at a hotel in the Dades Gorge, the tomorrow night we stay in a camp at a Berber Village.

Day 1 in the Sahara Photo Album
I will post the photo album when the pictures finish uploading, hopefully by tomorrow

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