Today ‘s trekking is divided into two parts, a strict long hike to the remote dune of Erg Zahar starting from the Walking with Nomads Camp and then an evening climb to catch the sunset from the top of highest dune known as the screaming sands.
After enjoying a delicious breakfast at camp, you and your camels will be ready to walk through a desert valley of scrubland and after crossing it, the hamada landscape will be more open as you cross a long rocky plain to look for the traces of the Sidi Naji shrine. There is a huge old wall that that was mainly built to preserve the nomadic graveyard next to it and this was also an ancient market for trade as it is located next to the economical centre point of M’Hamid. After visiting the shrine with me, your Nomad Storyteller, you will learn the marabout story and get as well to have some ideas concerning nomads’ faith through the story of the master Sidi Naji, making the connection between what was real and what wasn’t in nomad life.
Marabouts played a huge role in nomads system of belief and that can be traced to the continuity of years of dryness nomads faced over the time and their mythology was the only way to survive this.
After visiting the shrine, your camel caravan focus will be to cross a flat land that is full of Tamarisk Trees covered by dunes. Suddenly, and after a long walk, your next destination will be to pass by a place named “The Eye of the Chased Gazelle” where you will find a dilapidated nomadic market. This was once the meeting place of trading nomads. You will discover the fallen ksar of a family that dominated Draa valley nomads and you can trace their old water channels, which they used for farming. Until recently this area was completely covered by a big dune but a few years ago the wind took half of the dune and exposed the site where there is now a chance to collect treasures and pieces of equipment used by nomads in their daily life and wars.
Our Walking with Nomads caravan will move again and getting to the remote Zahar Dune dream will start to come true. The illusionary style of the desert shows us it’s near, but all is trickery, because all the dunes in the desert look close by, when they are actually far. To reach Erg Zahar will require a nomads’ patience until, finally you will be camping by its side.
So, after enjoying a welcome lunch under the shade of the tamarisk trees next to Zahar and resting for a while, the journey to climb Zahar Dune will start. The view witnessed from the top is truly breathtaking especially during the sunset when the sun hides itself on the dunes of Zahar.
Today camping is fabulous as we are the very tiny creatures under the shade of the Zahar dunes, our camping will be made somewhere in one of the sunken spots between the huge dunes. The dunes will circle us from all sides, like one unified big sandy nest and we are the eggs inside of it.
Carpet and candles to lighten the world of the screaming sand will be there on top of the next dune for you to offer you the most romantic of scenes and as well to enjoy the remote beauty of Erg Zahar red dunes.
After a delicious dinner under the bright stars, all the team will sit together like one big family next to the fire and exchange stories of the Sahara Desert.
Today the destination is the famous Erg Chegaga , the highest sand dune in Morocco. It is 60km from M’Hamid and therefore in our second day we will take a longest trek in our planet of desert, which is to trek for the first half day at Erg Smar region and have lunch there and later, at the middle of the day start hiking toward the valley next to Chegaga where we will set camp.
The way to get there from Erg Zahar can not be done in the blink of an eye. More, it is a challenge of patience and long walks within very open terrain before meeting the great dunes of Erg Chegaga
So, we start our hiking today by saying goodbye to the father dune, Zahar and walk together with the camels upon a plateau toward Draa Valley, the longest valley in Morocco and an ideal provider of water to M’Hamid Sahara.
The route is totally mysterious as you never know what to expect to see starting from the Draa Valley that holds much life on its banks including a forest of tamarisk and plants passing by the farming land on its western side by Erg Smar.
A relaxing break for lunch and a rest on the “Two Colours Dunes” of Erg Smar to discover how magical the desert is when you find yourself on top of the red dune watching the white dune while the Draa River pervades the red one.
At this stage you will be collected by the 4WD and driven off road to the highest dunes of Erg Chegaga and this will provide enough time to actually climb Chegaga before the sun sets.
Our camp spot will be next to an infinite horizon of dunes but you must choose if you would like it set at the highest and most spectacular point surrounded by other camps or, in the quiet, private valley next to the dune.
Then on the morning of day 3 the 4WD will return you to M’hamid which will take between 1 and 2 hours depending on some optional stops on the way to visit with nomads.
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