We had always wanted to go to the Sahara and knew it was going to be a memorable experience. It lived up to expectations but not for the reasons we had in mind. While at Dar Ahlam, we were able to make the journey for a one night stay in the desert. It was a five-hour drive along windy roads and scattered Berber villages. In between, we stopped for lunch underneath palm trees in an oasis. After passing the town of Foum Zguid, we proceeded through the gates and entered the desert.
The beginning was rocky and rough but later transformed into soft sand. We do not know how our driver navigated another hour through the roadless desert. He took a detour along the way to visit one of the nomads that call the Sahara their home. As the elder in the family, the nomad stayed at their base while the rest of the members herded goats through the desert. We saw how sparse their camp was and how difficult their way of life is.
When we arrived at the foot of the dunes, our camp was waiting for us. It was decidedly different from the one we just visited. Inside was a large bed, sitting area and bathroom. After escaping from the hot sun for awhile, we went back outside to have an aperitif and watch the sun set behind the dunes. A trail of lanterns led us back to the camp where we found dinner had been set up under the stars. We had a really nice meal and were amazed at how good everything was given we were in the middle of nowhere.
Just as we made it back to our tent, the wind started to pick up and sand was blowing all over. The thunderstorm we had been watching in the distance during dinner had made its way to our camp. Within minutes, the still and quiet night had disappeared. The wind was so strong it felt like our tent was going to blow over. Then it started to rain. We tried to sleep but it was a bit difficult in the middle of a desert storm. To make matters worse, the water started to leak through the canvas in the middle of the night.
In the early hours of the morning, the storm had finally blown over. We woke up to find sand everywhere. Yet to our surprise our tent was still standing. We stepped out to watch the sun rise before having breakfast, which again was laid out nicely for us when we returned to camp. We wanted to stay awhile longer but could already feel the heat and had to start our five-hour journey back to Dar Ahlam.
So while our stay in the desert wasn’t completely calm and peaceful like we thought it would be, we had a really incredible time and enjoyed it nonetheless. The Sahara is such a vast and undisturbed place that the night in the storm made us respect even more the nomads who choose to live their life in this beautiful yet unforgiving environment.