Erfound is a small trading village - gateway to the Sahara
Desert, where we changed to 4-wheel drive Land Rovers. It
was almost sunset and still about 50 km to our camp in the
Merzouga area. We stopped on the way to witness a nice
sunset then continued on dirt roads, getting to our camp when it
was almost dark.
The Sahara Desert is as big as the United
States. It is only 15% sand with great ergs, the sand
seas, and are among the most exquisitely beautiful landscapes.
It is growing larger every year as drought turns pasture back to
There was a quick orientation - tent assignments, rules for
using the latrine tent and showers. The land around the
dunes is free from the government. All one has to do is
rope or fence an area and then develop it. Our camp was at
the base of the 800 foot Erg Chebbi dune, the tallest in
Morocco. No other camps were close. After dinner, we
were treated to some local entertainment with music and dancing
around a campfire.
We were advised that sleeping on a cot under the stars was
OK. None of the group did so, we were just to tired to
move cots around. And it a good thing. The wind,
was blowing so hard it kept most of us awake. The friendly
guide came by each tent for a 0500 wake-up call, if we wanted to
hike up the Erg Chebbi sand dune and witness the
Almost the entire group started to hike but only 3 of us made
it to the top. What a great view of the surrounding dunes
and the changing colors as the sun rose. We had the added
benefit of doing the Berber toboggan down the dunes - that was a
lot easier then going up. On the way back to camp there
were camels and riders by the dunes.
After breakfast, and packing our bags, we got to select a
camel for a ride to the nearest kasbah (about one hour
we had a short rest and then it was a race across the desert in
our vehicles. I think each driver wanted to be in the
lead. We hit speeds of almost 100 kph.
The dusty town of
was our next stop. We visited
a local home of Fatima and her 3 children; 20 month old, 3
and 12 year old. We were offered mint tea and peanuts and
chatted for awhile.
The next place we visited was the
mausoleum of Mulay Ali
Cherif, an historic figure that started a ruling dynasty in the
area in the 17th century.
Lunch was at a nice kasbah where
we were allowed a chance to lay down and rest for about an hour.
(Some of us were up at 0500.) We were on the road again by
The next 3 hours was mostly desert driving to our
Sahara camp in the Fezzou area.