Travels

The Sahara Desert makes you feel so small!

on
14th June 2019

Well, the next 3days 2nights was definitely the highlight of the trip as we got to glamping/ experience luxury camping in the middle of Sahara Desert! But of course, it takes us a journey of over 8 hours just to get from Marrakesh to Merzouga!

It started off with a morning drive from Marrakesh and what followed through was not what we (we had a van filled with other tourists too) expected. We got up early and was served with a heavy breakfast. Knowing it was going to be a long journey, we ensure that we had our breakfast before heading out. I recalled those who did not have a proper breakfast, they feel rather nauseous during the journey through the winding road overlooking the Atlas Mountains.

Moroccan Breakfast

I am never a fan of prata, but i love this Moroccan Prata as I get to spread jam/butter on it! Yes, no curry hor!

Along the way, we dropped by one of Morocco’s World Heritage sites, the Ksar of Ait Ben Haddou for lunch! The ksar, a group of earthen buildings surrounded by high walls, is a traditional pre-Saharan habitat. The houses crowd together within the defensive walls, which are reinforced by corner towers. Ait-Ben-Haddou, in Ouarzazate province, is a striking example of the architecture of southern Morocco. Fun fact: This is actually the set for Gladiator and the Game of Thrones series!

Ait Ben Haddou

Ait-Ben-Haddou today looks easily sackable but, in fact, it was built to be defended. The outside walls of mud and clay are the initial protection for the town which is built onto the side of a hill.

Ait Ben Haddou

Speaking of, Ait-Ben-Haddou is a very popular day trip from Marrakech. You can also combine it with the nearby Atlas Studios in Ouarzazate.

Ait Ben Haddou

Irman and Nadzirah at Ait Ben Haddou

There’s something wonderful about Morocco and the way that modern day culture seems so similar to how I imagine it was 400 years ago when the local people started to build this small fortress on a hill far from anyone else.

Here, we bought some scarves and sunglasses for the Camel Ride scheduled on the following day! Of course, it serves nothing much to us cos we hardly put on the scarves and the sunglasses! These days Ait Ben Haddou is still a major trading stop – it’s just that tacky souvenirs are the goods and it’s the tourists (like us who bought the scarves and sunglasses) who need defending.

After a proper lunch, we head out Tizi n’Tichka (called Col du Tichka in French) is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 2.260m (7,410ft) above the sea level, located in the High Atlas mountains, a mountain range in central Morocco in Northern Africa. Tizi n’Tichka means “difficult mountain pasture” in Berber and you’ll see why.  The road has more than 100 turns. And I am amazed at how the drivers are all so experience, especially when they overtake a bigger vehicle!

Tizi n'Tichka

Featured in numerous films (including Lawrence of Arabia, The Sheltering Sky and Gladiator), it is the best-preserved kasbah in Morocco and has 10 families still inhabiting it.

Lucky for my Young Living Peppermint, I managed to survived the winding roads! It was not so bad as compared to the others in our van, but we sure were prepared for the trip with chocs/biscuits and snacks along the way!

On the last pit-stop at the end of the day, we visited the Ouarzazate City! Ouarzazate is the largest city in south east Morocco. Previously, several other cities were its provincial subordinates, now it is known as the Big Ouarzazate. By that time, me and Irman were already set to just head to our accommodation and have a good rest before our actual arrival to the Sahara Desert! 

View from Miguirne Chez Ali

Checked in at Miguirne Chez Ali which has a nice view of the sunrise and overlooking a small village!

Dinner with half of our tour group

It pays to pay a little bit more to get a wonderful stay (although chilly) as compared to the other half of the team. We were served dinner and breakfast when we were at Miguirne Chez Ali!

Irman pouring out mint tea

We are always early and all set to go!

Nadzirah posing outside our hotel at Miguirne Chez Ali

As we wait for our van to fetch us, of course, Irman – the instagram husband out at work!

On our second day, we met our crazy guide where he brought us a morning stroll at Dades Gorges and Todra Gorge. He brought us around to see how the Berber Community lives too. Then, we visited a carpet maker who showed us a couple of carpets made by different tribes in Sahara. He explained that no one carpet is the same. Each carpet is handmade and is unique! We almost wanted to buy a small carpet for our kitchen but the thought of lugging it around kinda discourage us! Glad we did not buy one actually!

Our crazy tour guide

Maybe he was a sign! He kept on shouting “Africa”! A sign for us to come back Africa in 2019! And we are – just towards South!

Our crazy tour guide at the edge of a cliff

Berber carpet seller

After lunch, we head to the desert (like finally!!). Arrived at 630pm and we hop onto a Camel which brought us to the luxury campsite (Bouchedor Luxury Camp at Erg Chebbi) just in the nick of time! Throughout the ride, we managed to enjoy the sunset!

Entrance to the magnificient Sahara Desert

Look at that!

Riding the camel at Sahara Desert during sunset with hot air balloon as the backdrop

How can you not be mesmerized!

Bouchedor Luxury Camp

Finally, we are at the Campsite!

Bouchedor Luxury Camp

Bouchedor Luxury Camp

The one on the left is ours!

Our bedroom at Bouchedor Luxury CampOur bedroom at Bouchedor Luxury Camp

We were served dinner and had a campfire session with the Berber nomads in which they shared abit of their life story and some lame jokes seriously! We made friends with guests from America, Italy, Spain and China! Also, I managed to see my first ever shooting star too (hope it is not tuju-tuju la!). By midnight, we head back to wash up and have a good night sleep! We were so eager to catch the sunrise, so we were up by 6am and wait for the sunrise! Catching the sunrise at Sahara Desert

We can’t go a day without bathing, so as early as 6am, we are up and Irman was making weird noises as he was bathing, causing the neighbours thinking there was a camel right outside their tent. Actually, it was just Irman and his weird noise, trying to tahan the cold water! After witnessing the sunrise, we had our sumptuous breakfast and off we go for another camel ride!

Morning at Bouchedor Luxury Camp

One off our must-do list!

Glamping Tents at Bouchedor Luxury Camp

Camel ride at Sahara Desert

It was just us and the guide as well shits!

Last camel ride at Sahara Desert

This was our third ride on a Camel! Look how delighted Irman is 🙂

That same morning, we head off back to Marrakesh for a full 10hours drive! Only to come back to such a wonderful riad – Palais Sebban!

Gorgeous interior at Palais Sebban

Yes, after 10 hours drive, we sure love this place! so homey!

Gorgeous interior at Palais Sebban

Their so called lobby!

Our bedroom for the night at Palais Sebban

Cosy room!

We got an upgrade for the second night at Palais Sebban

Here is the upgrade!

Our bedroom for the second night

They got our booking mixed up on the first night. And in return, they gave a suite on our 2nd night! Such a huge place and just me and Irman – we wished we had more company! Nonetheless, we truly love Palais Sebban!

Alright adios for now! Next up will be our trip to Essaouria!

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IRMAN & NADZIRAH
Singapore

Hi, we are Irman and Nadzirah. We love to travel around the world, especially together. Needless to say, together we find ourselves in pretty exciting experience as we travel round the world. Well, this blog is not just about travelling but to document every snippets of our life together from being just friends, to lovers to travel partners, to home owners and to many more milestones to come!