It’s a few days before Chrismas, I’m in the middle of nowhere and my transport for the next 24 hours has a top speed of about 20km/hour when in a hurry. The tag on his ear identifies him as No. 2588 and I’m grateful for the warmth his body emits after the initial shock of being catapulted back and forth when he gets up and down. Apart from that, the ride is pretty rhythmic and exciting.
I’m camel trekking from Merzouga to a sea of wind-swept dunes call Erg Chebbi, undulating crests and valleys of orange sand, and a camp about 8km from the Algerian border where I will overnight in a simple tent with nothing but blankets to keep warm.
Unbeknown to me, I’ve decided to visit Morocco during the coldest winter in a decade. It is icy outside and the wind whips around the tent all night, flapping at the entrance and keeping me awake, but I have seen more stars in this remote part of Morocco than I have ever seen anywhere else at one time. Think Sossusvlei in Namibia meets Sutherland in South Africa’s Northern Cape. Outside the camels sleep on the open ground, their grunts drowned out by the whistling wind.
Before daybreak I force myself from the pile of blankets to watch the sun rise and am treated to small trains of camels on the dunes in front of me as the sun’s rays tickle the earth – the photographic highlight of my trip so far.
The Sahara is cold but exhilarating and although I’d give anything for a bath right now, I am ever so grateful for this amazing experience which I won’t forget in a hurry.