The first desert city we reached was Ait Benhaddou.
The same eight families have been living in these ancient mud walls since the 17th century. If you visit this city, resist all urge to be friendly. Everyone who said hi to us expected us to pay them for a tour.
This city was used for the filming of The Mummy, Gladiator, Kingdom of Heaven and Prince of Persia (just to name a few). It’s strange to walk through the exotic city and have it still feel familiar because I’ve seen in so much on the big screen.
The next day we were back on the road for another four hours, heading towards the border of Algeria. The further we drove the more desolate the environment became. I remember seeing some villages with only ten houses and wondering how people survive that way. Then we reached our camel camp!
I didn’t think it was possible to get further from civilization but it felt like we were the only humans left on the planet. We rode these amazingly uncomfortable animals for two hours straight. It was just us and our Berber tour guide. After you get over the discomfort of the camel hump digging into your crotch, the desert becomes an incredibly meditative place. It’s so quiet you can hear the sand blowing off the dunes. With every gust of wind the entire landscape changed.
We spent a lot of time running on the sand dunes before dinner.
- Throughout the year Adventures (bestofmoulayidriss.wordpress.com)
- Sahara Attack Revives A Fear Of Renewed Terrorism In Algeria (npr.org)