Lancashire Times
A Voice of the Free Press
Sharon Cain
Time for Life Correspondent
3:00 AM 26th March 2022

Take The Hump Or Make The Jump?

Sizzling Sahara Sunset. 

Images courtesy of Steve Hare
Sizzling Sahara Sunset. Images courtesy of Steve Hare
How often do you take yourself out of your comfort zone – and, having done so, feel a wonderful sense of achievement and zest for life?

The latest quest to inspire new experiences has taken the intrepid Time for Life duo Sharon and Steve into the steamy Sahara Desert in Morocco where they embarked on a camel trek across the dramatic dunes into the sunset.

Overcoming her fear of heights, Sharon shares her elation, and admiration for their majestic travelling companions who can withstand the harshest of desert conditions. Never in a million years did she expect one of them to reciprocate with a kiss - from which she is still recovering!

It started with a kiss…transformational experience.

Our trek in the Sahara, near the Algerian border, was part of an incredible trip of eclectic contrasts. The tranquillity and solitude of the desert – a far cry from the mayhem of Marrakesh and its sprawling medina - was indescribable as we watched the sun slowly descend behind the dunes, some of which tower above the landscape at 180 metres high.

Desert delights: Ultimate solitude.
Desert delights: Ultimate solitude.
We wound our way across the dunes in Merzouga, the gateway to the desert, learning the art of how to hold on tight when our camels, Bob Marley, and Charlie, negotiated the steep downward slopes.

A series of disconcerting bellowing noises emanating from Charlie, Steve’s companion, started when we set off. We were concerned that all was not well with him until we learnt he was missing the camel train he usually travelled with.

Thankfully, the strident sounds abated after an hour, and we later heard Charlie and Bob Marley snorting contentedly outside our tent during the night.

Our experience in a Berber camp with local tribes was nothing short of sensational. Arriving with low expectations, we were bowled over by the sophistication of the set up with Wi-Fi plug ins, showers, and electricity.

Dinner and breakfast were just the job and sleeping under the stars wrapped in copious blankets as temperatures plummeted was deliciously decadent. The Berbers also serenade guests with local music to further enhance the authentic experience.

Camping with a difference.
Camping with a difference.
Our genial and most hospitable hosts were local Berbers, indigenous people of North Africa who call themselves ‘free people’.

Believed to have arrived in Morocco in the second or third millennium BCE, they comprise around 65% of the country’s thirty million population and have since played an instrumental role in shaping its culture and infrastructure.

During our explorations through the snow-capped Atlas Mountains, we saw dozens of Berber villages where people live without electricity and make their living in agriculture and cattle farming. Most of the men are shepherds and can be away for weeks or even months seeking new grazing or where their animals can feed.

Berber villages are found in remote areas.
Berber villages are found in remote areas.
The Berber’s desire to preserve their own culture also sees them inhabit outlying areas including the Sahara and, whatever little they have, their hospitality always extends to offering visitors tea which they devour constantly.

If you can visit Morocco, don’t miss a sojourn to the Sahara, a spiritual oasis which covers one third of the African continent and stretches almost four million square miles.

The feeling of being so close to nature and basking in the beauty of the sunrise and sunsets stimulates the senses and these magical memories will remain in our hearts and minds forever.

As for the captivating camels, not a day goes by without remembering that special kiss…

Moroccan magic to remember forever
Moroccan magic to remember forever