The Sahara Desert occupies the vast majority of North Africa stretching from the Red Sea and Mediterranean to the Atlantic Ocean. The Sahara, “The Great Desert”, is the world’s largest hot desert, and second largest desert after Antarctica. At over 9,000,000 square kilometers, it is almost as large as the United States, and is larger than Australia. I had previously seen the Desert in Egypt but my recent trip to Merzouga in Eastern Morocco showed me a Sahara of mythical proportions.
What a site the mighty desert is. Its dunes rise hundreds of feet and as far as the eye can see. The wind roars and shapes the landscape which changes every minute or so. Many lives have been lost and many civilizations have crumbled in the Sahara but the more things change, the more the Sahara remains the same. It is the last real frontier on Earth. Its unforgiving climate of devastating heat during the day and freezing temperatures at night render it virtually unlivable. Bedouins and Touregs somehow do manage to make due in the desert but this has evolved over thousands of years. Trust me, the desert is amazing to see but in no way would you want to live there.
I took a camel caravan from Merzouga to Erg Chebbi, the far edge of the Sahara in Eastern Morocco just near the Algerian border. The dunes and the sand are remarkable. You just can’t take your eyes off of it. It is so hypnotic and simple that it mystifies you. The winds can be brutal but it’s neat to see the wind blow the sand and change the landscape. The guide took us out several kilometers from Merzouga so we were totally surrounded by sand and felt as if they must’ve felt thousands of years ago when they first explored the desert and realized its vastness and power. It was really surreal and very cool.
Sunset in the desert was great and after spending a long time in the Desert it was nice to go back to the Kasbah and have a nice dinner overlooking the desert at night where the quiet is so eerie that it’s almost scary. It really shows you how powerful and ruthless nature can be. Speak softly and carry a big stick is what the desert does because if you ended up stuck in the middle of the Sahara, you’d have no shot. You would just be swallowed up as if you never existed like thousands of others in the sands of time.
The Sands of Time
January 8, 2008 by 2 Comments