Desert Adventures to Wadi Rum and Petra
Modern technology has allowed us to visit many places that were once off limits, but technology still hasn’t totally beaten the excursion vers merzouga départ de marrakech. The desert traps cars and trucks in its ever moving sands and travellers can easily lose their way with no roads or landmarks, so the best way to embark on desert adventures is on the ‘ships of the desert’ -camels – guided across the expanses of sand by both a GPS and the stars. That’s what makes the desert one of the few places to embark on a journey with the gung ho attitude of explorer heroes like Lawrence of Arabia.
Like Lawrence, some mad men are drawn to desert adventures as they can be an unforgiving challenge. The desert’s ability to both fry and chill – yet breathtakingly sensuous dune lines are often compared, by the poetically inclined, to a lover, usually female, and usually difficult. The endless, shapely and ever changing sand dunes radiate the romance of the desert adventure and the sun beating against them creates enigmatic and confusing shapes to beguile those who dream of conquering her.
Some desert adventures are quests; Wadi Rum is one of the most spectacular desert locations in Jordan, hire a local Bedouin guide and go on a two or three day trek by camel and sleep under the stars. But if your interest is more for the archaeological, then the ancient city of Petra, an abandoned necropolis of temples and tombs cut into towering cliffs of red sandstone will delight you.
The desert festivals and historic journeys of the Tuareg Salt Caravans promise quiet evenings of ancient stories told under the stars sipping mint tea, and days travelling the same un-marked routes as a thousand years worth of forebears. Your saddled camel could take you to Ksar Ghilane, every desert adventurer’s ideal oasis, a cluster of green palms surrounding a still pool. Or to the Oases of Zagora, travelling between deep rocky gorges and the huge dunes, Cheggaga and Djebel Saghro; the settlements you pass between here are like ornate red boxes and lives tick by as they have done for thousands of years – for the old ways of life and ancient cultures are another of the deserts temptations.
Camels are an acquired taste; they have a reputation for being docile work horses, but their gait rolls like the ocean, which may be how they got their nautical moniker, and if they don’t like you or another camel they’re not beyond biting. Some guides will lead you into the desert on foot, where you’ll have the feeling of wandering aimlessly into oblivion, your feet crushing nothing but sand and your vista repetitive. A desert adventure through the Moroccan Sahara is very different to a walk up a mountain, you have to be open to some serious self reflection; the vista’s stimulus is unchanging but relentless.