Written by Eason Wong
Published by Miranda Zhang

The starry sky, beautiful sand dunes, and sunrise and sunset in the Sahara Desert have always been fascinating to me. Even since I was a schoolboy, I knew I would someday go to the Sahara Desert. It came true this March when I was lucky enough to join my Odynovo colleague Candy and Thomas on a tour of inspection to Morocco to check the local hotels, attractions, tour guides, and vehicles. Our visit to the Sahara Desert was a part of our wonderful Morocco tour.

 sahara sand dunes"I have always loved the desert. "One sits on a desert sand dune and sees and hears nothing." – The Little Prince

It was close to the evening when the SUV took us to the desert camp. There was warm afternoon sunshine when we headed deep into the desert. Our vehicle stopped at a flat place where we could enjoy the most beautiful sunset in the desert.

SUV in the desertThe SUV

11-Day Classic Morocco, the Atlas & Sahara Casablanca, Rabat, Fez, Erfoud, Tinerhir, Ouarzazate, Marrakech
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The sun appeared to be larger and redder, lightening the distant deserted hills. It looked as if the hills, which were whitish seconds ago, now were adorned with a soft loop of ribbon. Clouds got more heavily colored when the sun was approaching the horizon. The moment the sun disappeared in the horizon, everything changed: Layers of clouds were dyed, all floating comfortably in the blue sky, like shiny smooth satins with orange-red floral patterns; surrounded in the red, the faraway vegetation on the sand dune also seemed more vibrant.

lovely sunset in the desertLovely sunset in the Sahara Desert

After soaking up the scenery, we proceeded to Merzouga Desert Camp. We arrived before night fell. The camp was small, but the tents were big. We decided to have a glimpse of the tent before we watched the stars. So we entered the tent. There were three beds, a bathroom, a flush toilet, a shower cubicle, an air conditioner, etc. It's incredible! We never expected such luxurious and spacious tents in the desert. It would guarantee a good overnight stay.

Merzouga Desert CampMerzouga Desert Camp

the luxury tentInside the luxury tent

We gave our faces a quick rinse and went outside. Just as we thought the most beautiful part of our Sahara experience was about to begin, a strong wind came without warning. Sand started to blow everywhere. They were like little pervasive devils running towards you, into your ears, nose, and mouth. We couldn't help but smile. We would have to wash our faces again and delay our stargazing plan. So we went back to the tent, waiting for the sandstorm to stop. We ate dinner in the canteen while waiting for the wind to stop blowing and were then entertained by traditional Berber music.

playing the drumOdynovo travel consultant Thomas (right) tried his hand at playing the drum

We learned later that Berber people have great culture and spirit. They were natives of the desert and lived a nomadic life. But don't assume that their simple lifestyle makes them ignorant. They are humble and very talented musicians. They are happy with what they have, and more importantly, they know how to live in the present.

It's almost midnight, and the wind is still howling. It's time that we forgot our stargazing plan and learned to live in the moment. After all, it was an enjoyable and memorable night. We looked forward to the sunrise the next day.

Our camp guide woke us up while it was still dark. Time to watch the sunrise on a camel! I had previously heard that Sahara camels were dromedaries. It was right. All the camels we saw were one-humped. Surprisingly, they were all roped together and following the camel guide. The tourist seat was set on the hump. The guide gave a yell, and the friendly camels lay down to offer us seats. The camel trek was a relaxing experience. Their humps swayed back and forth, and their feet swooshed through the sand.

camel seatsThe camels ready to offer us seats

camel rideCamel ride in the desert

The wind vanished without a trace. The desert was clean like it had just been washed. And the sky was blue. The soft sand dunes stretched as far as our eyes could see. The sky was changing slowly from black to gray, and there was an orange dot in that gray. The dot got larger and then became orange-red. The remote desert was also brightened. It was brighter than ever before. There were more and more orange-red stripes of clouds that spread out and got lighter until they could no longer block the sun. "The sun's come out," we shouted thrillingly. The gentle sun, after breaking through the wisps of cloud, finally showed up.

desert sunriseThe sun rising over the dunes

The morning sunshine awoke the Sahara from a night's deep sleep. It's time to wave goodbye to her at the time when she's most beautiful before the unbearable heat comes. Having not seen the spectacular starry sky in the desert, we were a bit regretful to leave. Yet we were grateful that we were able to see the stunning sunrise and sunset. We long for our next Sahara experience and hopefully see the starry sky.


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