Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Zagora: Camel Rides and Camping Out

Part 1: Excursion

Part 2: Heading Out

Part 3: Kasbah

[I know I was supposed to get this up before I left on vacation. And it almost was, really. Only the Internet crashed before I could click upload and wouldn't come back the rest of the day.]

Camel rides

It's such a touristy thing to do, but because it was part of the excursion and not something I'm likely to do again, I was excited about the camel ride. It ended up being a fantastic way to see the desert landscape and we rode towards camp just before sunset, so the views were incredible! I was in front, so I had an unimpeded view of the mountains surrounding us.

Plus, whenever I was offered a photo op with camels in Marrakesh, I could happily say no.

In a lot of ways, it was similar to a trail ride with horses. The biggest difference? It hurt. And yes, riding a horse for hours upon end will hurt too. But this ride lasted maybe an hour, and the blankets laid over the camel's backs were not enough to lessen the discomfort. A camel's hump is not soft at all. Luckily the journey to the campsite wasn't nearly the 2 hours the description of the excursion said it would be, or I don't think any of us would have been able to move the next day.

Going through a bit of a village.
Just enough sand to not be annoying.
Selfie while riding a camel.
My first camel.
The sun setting behind us.
Another thing - I think everyone's heard about spitting camels. But some of them like to express their orneriness in different ways. One particular camel, on the trip out and the return, complained like crazy when the guides had him sit. He bucked and made his very strange camel noises and finally they were able to get him calm. I was super glad not to be placed on that camel.

Camping out

We were the first group to arrive at our camp. We settled into our tents [big enough to sleep 4] and had some delicious mint tea while the sun set further beneath the mountains. It was pretty dark when a second group arrived, bringing - you guessed it - the other auxiliares.

The tea-drinking tent.
Inside my tent.
Fancy camping - we had plenty of electricity.
And the bathroom tent.
After they got settled and had their tea, the guides called us to the big tent for dinner. It was delicious. We had the very traditional tangine, which is meat, potatoes and vegetables all cooked in this triangle shaped pot...thing. There was fruit for dessert [none that I like, sadly] and then we headed back outside to sit around the campfire. The guides had some drums [and maybe some other instruments as well, I can't remember] and started singing. It really felt magical to lie back, looking at the stars and hearing this beautiful music.

After a while, people started dispersing. We had a sunrise wake-up call, so I imagine the guides all went to bed before we did. I started talking to a couple of the Danish girls, tried to take some pictures of the stars, and then headed to bed myself.

We did indeed get woken up far too early the next morning. After a very uncomfortable night on a lumpy mattress, combined with the camel ride, I really did not want to move. But thank goodness I got out of the tent in time to see the sunrise which again - stunning. Absolutely stunning.

We were served breakfast - more tea [or coffee], delicious bread, and some interesting spreads. They had a jelly-ish one and a honey-ish one. I'll have to look them up one day to figure out what I was actually eating! Then we packed up our gear and met our moaning camels for the journey back.

[I got super lucky on the return trip as well. Myself and my new Danish friends were moved to a bigger van because a smaller group needed our previous one for their extended excursion. So two new fellows joined our group - both of them staying at the same hostel as I would be. Otherwise I'm not sure I would have been able to find it.]

No comments:

Post a Comment