The Sahara’s Secrets – Tiziri Camp, Erg Chebbi Morocco
During my stay at Tiziri Camp, and my first experience of the Sahara Desert, I came across a number of things which I was not expecting. This of course inspired the title of my blog; The Secrets of the Sahara is about the secrets hidden within this beautiful land, which first timers like myself may not be aware of.
Camel Trek in Merzouga
My experience started with the camel ride into the camp, and from there the surprise began. This ride into Tiziri was the most peaceful journey I have ever taken. Apart from my companions, no matter where I gazed, all I could see around me was the soft peach coloured sand.
All I could hear were the soft sounds and stern steps of the camels, carefully wandering through the sand. For that journey, it simply felt like the outside world no longer existed, and we were the only people on earth; there was no traffic to listen to, no other people to observe, no buildings could be seen in the distance. Living in a city, I long for that peace and tranquillity again.
The Weather in the Desert
The day soon began turning into night. The warm sun has left us, and the desert became surprisingly cold. I’m still unsure how a place so hot during the day, can so quickly turn into a cold winter night. Of course, we had to take the opportunity of watching the sun gently setting, so we got off the camels, climbed onto a sand dune, and watched as the sky was painted by the sun along its course.
Definitely a moment to remember.
Tiziri – Luxury Eco Camp
The journey continued, with the hard working camels ensuring a safe ride across the sliding sand. Suddenly, when crossing one of the bigger dunes, I noticed a bright light, standing out against the darkness.
As we got closer, I realised this light, in the shape of the moon, was our destination; the beautiful Tiziri camp, another one of the secrets within the Sahara. The welcome was cheerful and warm, despite the cold surrounding us. We drank some mint tea and snacked on a couple of biscuits, before being shown to our tent.
The inside was elegant, with the main themes of black and white, separated out by cheerful and bright Moroccan styled pieces.
The bed was enormous, with thick covers and blankets on top, definitely needed throughout the night in December; I couldn’t wait to snuggle into it. The bathroom was comfortable, and as we were cold and achy from the ride, we took a long, hot shower, until we had the courage to step out and begin getting ready for our dinner.
Vegetarian Meals in the Desert
Being a vegetarian, I have been told there may be times in Morocco where I may struggle with the food, and I have to admit, there were times when I did. So of course, a sense of relief came over me as I was being served, humbled by the way the cooking staff altered the meals for me, replacing anything meat based, with a satisfying substitute and extra veggies.
One of the best secrets – the meals at Tiziri not only tasted delicious, but looked it too.
Traditional Desert Music
Following the dinner, we were invited to join some of the Tiziri team at the outside campfire, and listen to their music. People gathered around, sitting on the big fluffy cushions, wrapped up in thick blankets, enjoying the cosiness of the large fire in front of us.
We were surrounded by the sounds of the drums, guitar, and singing, performed by the team. Although these people worked together, the harmony and joy expressed through their music made it clear they also held valuable friendships. And although we were sat with people we have never met before, all from different countries, in this moment it felt as if we were all united by the music, enjoying the experience together.
The Night Sky
Probably the biggest secret of the Sahara for me was the sky. As we sat and listened, I could only look up. Of course, I have seen many pictures of the night sky within the desert, however seeing this in person was an indescribable experience. It seemed like someone dipped a paintbrush into white paint, and carelessly splattered across a large black canvas, filling every little spot. The sky was covered in stars as bright as the fire in front of us.
I even got to see my first ever shooting star, clenching my partners hand as I wished for our health and happiness.
I decided it would be fun to join in with the music, and began playing on one of the drums along with the others, but quickly changed my mind as I realised my only contribution was ruining the harmony. With happy bellies and the joy from the campfire, we returned to our tent, climbing into bed. With the comfort of the many layers above us, as well as the new camp addition of hot water bottles, we had no trouble with warming up and sleeping like babies.
Driving in the Dunes
The next day we got up late for breakfast, and were glad to notice breakfast foods were still left out in the main eating area, for the lazy bunch. After a refreshing coffee and some Moroccan pancakes and jam, it was time to do some exploring.
The team were lovely, and provided a helping hand when we needed to get out of the desert. And that’s when another surprise began for me. I don’t usually enjoy driving, but speeding up and down the dunes in a 4×4 was the most fun I’ve had in a while. It was amazing to watch the driver, smoothly but carefully make his way up and down the dunes, making our stomachs drop as if we were riding a roller-coaster.
It was also a beautiful moment of realisation. Every part of the desert, although beautiful, looked the same to me. If I had one day lost my way, I would be hopeless. Yet the driver confidently drove on, passing dune after dune, whilst chatting to us excitedly, and still knew his way around. The Sahara is like a home to him, and the other members of the camp, and I thought about how lucky they were to see this harsh yet breathtaking environment day by day.
We stayed at the Tiziri Camp for 2 nights, enjoying the food, the comfort, and the heartwarming vibe of the people there. Although I knew the desert would be an amazing place, I didn’t quite realise how much I will fall in love with it. And of course there is no other place I would have rather stayed during my time there.
Until next time, Tiziri ?
Thanks to our beautiful guest – Weronika Ratajczak, for sending us this blog about the secrets she discovered in the Sahara in Dec 2019.