Helen goes to Morocco Day 11 – Erg Chebbi & Merzouga

We got up early and walked out and up on to the dunes to watch the sunrise. It was a lovely calm morning and it was very nice to be out on the dunes as the sun rose, but the sun rise will not feature on any postcards anytime soon. Still, it was lovely weather and it was interesting to see the different light on the dunes.

The rest of the today was a rest day of sorts, a day that you could spend lazing by the pool if you wished until we went for a camel ride on the dunes close to sunset. This was not what we were going to do though!

At breakfast Brahim let us know that if any of us were interested, we could maybe organise a 4WD drive tour of the local area for a few hours for a small fee. Not one to say no to an experience and not necessarily the most keen for a whole day of rest, a few of us quickly said yes, sign us up.

This few hours driving round the Merzouga/Erg Chebbi area was fantastic and interesting but there was a few parts that were a little bit unsettling mainly in regards to the nomad camp we visited. It is really hard to know where the line is in terms of being proud and championing a way of life vs continuing certain aspects of life for the tourist dollar that it brings in. I did “enjoy” seeing a tent up close as well as the loom and the bread oven however, I also did feel quite intrusive into this family’s life.

We visited a fossil bank that was just mind blowing, so crazy to think about how years and years ago, these fossils were live creatures. Fossils are another part of the unease, due to lack of regulation, there has been quite an exodus of rare fossils from Morocco over the years as well as the tourist fossil trade. Still, it was absolutely mind blowing to see this large bank of fossils.

One of the highlights was watching the Les Pigeons du Sable (The Desert Pigeons) perform. Their music was just enchanting and I am very happy with the CD I purchased of their music. I especially loved their Krakebs playing.

We then came back to the hotel compound for some quiet time, I took the chance to float in the pool for a very long time as well as going round the hotel taking photos of the decorative detail and of course catching up on the travel journal. I made a note in my journal that it was lovely to be in a pool with no kids in it at all ?. I also managed to break my sunglasses by dropping them beside the pool. I would hold the frame together with a strip of strapping tape for the rest of the trip!

Somehow though, even after an afternoon of rest, all of a sudden it was time for us to go camel riding up to the dunes for sunset. Mum had arrived in Morocco with quite a sore back which was still playing up. As such, she did not last very long on the camel before she needed to get off and walk beside the group. The camel ride was an interesting experience and all another part of the adventure that was this grand trip.

After dinner, I picked the comfiest date palm trunk bench in the pergola in the courtyard and enjoyed the cool night air and more of Boy Swallows Universe. I hit 77% this evening. The end was getting a lot closer!

And that was our quiet “rest” day in the dessert.

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