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Trekking in the Sahara, Douz

5.0 stars


Booking a Trip to the Sahara

If you’re interested in a trip like this one, it helps to have someone in your group who speaks at least a little Arabic. You’ll find it much easier to communicate with the Bedouin. However, if that’s not possible, you can get along just fine without speaking Arabic. You can book your trip at the travel agency, where the staff speaks English, French and German, and the Bedouin who take in tourists are quite accustomed to communicating with non-Arabic speakers. Alternatively, the travel agency can provide you with a translator for a fee if you so desire. It’s also important to be prepared. Pack light and bring layers! The desert sun is warm, but the wind is harsh and the nights are cold. If you are sensitive to the sun, bring a hat or a scarf to wrap around your head. Be sure to bring water as well, and be prepared to get dirty! The whole experience is a wonderful adventure! [more ]

Staying with the Bedouin in the Sahara Part 3

The tents themselves were very comfortable, basically consisting of a blanket spread over a single pole, surrounded at ground level with a fence made of sticks collected from the scrub around the camp to keep the wind out. We shared our tent with the other travellers, while the Bedouin family had 3 other tents of their own. We fell asleep only to be awakened by what we assumed was the sun rising; it was actually the moon coming up around midnight, but it was so bright that the stars were almost obscured and the sand glowed with white light. Eventually we fell asleep again but were awakened throughout the night by a rogue goat which managed to get into our tent and a demented rooster who started crowing around 3am. We got up at (real) sunrise and had a breakfast of bread (which was cooked by being buried in the sand under the hot embers of the fire) and goat’s butter (made by hours and hours of sloshing goat’s milk around inside a dried goat skin until it eventually solidified into butter and then, at a later date, cheese) as well as fresh goat’s milk (still warm) and undrinkable coffee (sugar helped). Everything was a bit sandy, but delicious. Then we climbed back onto our camels (my butt was really sore by this point!) and headed back to Douz for a complimentary shower at the travel agency where we had booked our trip. [more ]

Staying with the Bedouin in the Sahara Part 2

As the sun set, we helped herd the sheep and goats into the pens for the night. They also had some very cute puppies, a few hens and roosters, and even a small group of very confused ducks who seemed to be missing their purpose in life, out there in the middle of the desert with no water for miles. The family fed us couscous out of a huge common bowl, which we shared with the French women and two German travellers who had arrived at the camp by Jeep before we had. Then we were treated to a few hours of music (flute, drums, and singing) and dancing courtesy of one of the neighbours’ young daughters. By that time the stars were out, and we went out into the desert to admire them. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many at one time! Even high up in the mountains in Colorado, they don’t seem as bright or as close. There’s something about being able to see the whole bowl of the sky at once that makes it even better. While we were out there, one of my travelling companions received an offer of a night in the desert with one of the Bedouin guys. Apparently the French women had already taken off into the desert for their jaunt. My friend was mildly horrified, and the poor Bedouin man was disappointed. So he accompanied us back to the tent and tucked us in for the night (literally; we giggled so much after he had finished piling us under 3 blankets each and then tucking in the edges that he demanded to know what was so funny). [more ]

Staying with the Bedouin in the Sahara Part 1

We began our desert trek around 4 in the afternoon, with a taxi ride out through the oasis to the camel stadium where the yearly camel races are held in December. Our guides, two young Bedouin men, insisted that two of the five camels in our group were racing champions, one having won first prize and the other second. We weren’t sure whether to believe that; they weren’t exactly fleet-footed. We ended up travelling with two French women as well, and it was a 3-hour journey through the dunes of the Sahara to the Bedouin camp where we were to spend the night. During the trip, I asked the guides to teach me to count in Arabic, which they thought was a huge joke. Periodically throughout the night they’d point to me and prompt me with the first number, wahid, and wait for me to recite the rest (thneen, thletha, arbat, hamsa, seeta, sebat, ithmaniya, thesa, asherah) before applauding. We arrived at the camp around sunset, with our guides teasing me about camel racing. They asked if I wanted to try it, and I said I definitely did, at which point they got a bit nervous. They put me up on the camel, with their mother all the time warning that if I tried it, I’d fall off. Before starting, they made it very clear that if I fell off, it was my problem, not theirs. So we took off across the scrub brush with one of the guides leading my camel from the back of his camel. We never really got above a moderately fast, extremely bouncy camel trot, and my butt was incredibly sore! When I’d had my fill, I asked to see them race the two (supposedly) champion camels, so we witnessed a display of camel speed (not much) and some trick riding, with interference from one of the hobbled camels who was determined to join in the action. [more ]

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Top Photos Trekking in the Sahara

Trekking in the Sahara Douz Camel Trekking Camels at Sunset The Guest Tent in the Bedouin Camp Herding Goats and Sheep in the Desert
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