On Flashback Fridays I reflect back on some of my past travels and travel mishaps before I started this blog: Follow at #FlashbackFri Camel riding in Morocco – it sounded like such a romantic experience. Sitting on the back of a camel and riding into the Saharan sunset, camping in a faraway Bedouin camp, and watching the stars in the middle of the desert. What more could a repressed explorer like me wish for?
When I first saw the camel with its lovely long eyelashes I was in love instantly. Most other camels were quite grumpy, but mine was such a gentle animal. We seemed to click instantly (maybe my bribe of dried dates did the trick). Our camel guide was a real Bedouin, a nomad who doesn’t stay in one place more than a week. He was a man of few words, but showed us how to dress appropriately for our Sahara adventure. Initially I thought that our face cover was a bit over the top, but it turned out that this was exactly the type of protection we needed in the desert.
The first half an hour of our camel ride was awesome and my camel was behaving very well too. However, camel riding in Morocco didn’t turn out to be as romantic as I had hoped. After two hours on a wonky camel I started getting quite uncomfortable and I couldn’t feel my bum anymore. My legs were in a constant state of tingling and I was starting to wonder when we would ever reach our romantic Bedouin camp? Why was this taking so long? We were only supposed to be on the camel for 1.5 hours. It was getting darker and darker and a sandstorm was slowly but surely making its way toward us. I pulled the scarf that was wrapped around my head over my face to protect myself from the piercing sand. Have we got lost – or worse – kidnapped by desert traders?
After 2.5 hours we finally reached our camp. We were covered in sand and shattered. Camel riding in Morocco definitely wasn’t comfortable. For anyone who has ever ridden a horse you probably know that your butt and thigh muscles get quite sore after riding for just an hour. So imagine how sore I was after two hours on a camel. I wasn’t the only one who converted to the “squat-walk” for the rest of the night. Anyway, the Bedouins we were staying with served us some delicious mint tea and a hearty Moroccan stew and so our uncomfortable ride was soon forgotten. They then invited us around a big bonfire and sang traditional songs to us. We all got involved and soon started to dance along some traditional folk music. No wifi or smartphones, just sheer natural beauty and human companionship. It was a lovely night.
Then it was time to go to bed and I was a bit confused when I only saw one big tent. There were at least 15 tourists; surely we wouldn’t all sleep in one tent, would we? Turned out we would and it was one of the most uncomfortable nights of my life. Not only were my legs and bum pretty sore from the camel ride, I also couldn’t sleep amongst all the snoring that was going on. Since a bunch of Australian guys decided to get absolutely wasted around the fire, they just passed out and then started snoring like particularly noisy pigs. I gently tried to whisper to them that they were snoring and ask if they could please turn over. Nothing happened. I spoke a bit more loudly, trying not to wake everybody else up. Nothing happened. I poked them and I even tried throwing a shoe at one of them, but even that didn’t work. Chris couldn’t sleep either so we decided to call it a night and head out of the tent to watch the sun rise. The soft light turned the dunes into a vast ocean of bright orange waves. At last we had the romantic experience we hoped for. Or had we? As it got lighter we noticed that the dune we were sitting on was used as a toilet by our fellow travelers during the night…and romance killed!
We were quite glad when it was time to return to Marrakesh again after breakfast. But then it hit me: to reach our 4×4 I would have to go back on my camel. Because of the sandstorm it was impossible to send the 4×4 all the way to our camp, so we had to bite the bullet and go back onto the camels. The movements of the camel ride from the previous day caused a lot of friction and a nasty rash (too much information?). Some poor souls even had blisters, but I won’t go into any more detail here. Let’s just say I was in so much pain that I had trouble standing up, walking and sitting down. And for reasons you can probably guess, then men in the group were complaining even more loudly, though by now in slightly high-pitched voices. So, camel riding in Morocco wasn’t exactly what I hoped it would be, but we made it in the end. I gave the camel my remaining dates and it rewarded my with a big sloppy lick on my face – at least I found a friend for life during our little adventure. 🙂
So that was the time my bum went numb. Have you ever been camel riding in Morocco, or anything similar?