2010 Morocco Tour Group Journal

                                                                                                                                                                                              Click here for Day 07   Merzouga
                                                    Group journal index
MELITOUR home page                                          
Day 06 Erfoud - Sahara 13 November 2010  Saturday  Submitted by Carol Jacobsen

Awoke to a beautiful sunny day in our hotel in the middle of a date orchard.  The crowds were gone by the time we were ready to leave the hotel. Before we left ,we went through the check list: the picnic lunch was packed, the soap and shampoo that we were collecting through out the tour was on the van to be delivered to the nomad family in the Sahara, the water for the day was purchased and loaded and the bank cards were there for us to be used for the last time until the coming holiday was over. The 09:30 departure was delayed until we down loaded the web site for our group journal.
None of us recognized Rachid in his Cowboy outfit. The first stop was the ATM in Erfoud. We all got what we wanted. Jim was out of luck again. We will make another phone call to his bank. This is becoming a routine for our days.
Drove in to the town and the streets were full of early morning activity. Lots of people, donkey carts and traffic. may be they are getting ready for the upcoming holiday. Many ladies in colorful attire mixed in with ladies in black kaftans. We went shopping in the busy market for the dried food items. We will give to the Berber family when we have lunch in their tent.

We were given directions for the market, souk and how to photograph the locals. Then off we all went our way for our little adventures. The shopping was easy. We all actually ended up in the same shop as if there was no other shop but after lentils, beans, flour, spices, garlic ... were purchased for the Berber family that we were hoping to see in the desert , we all went on to our photo expedition. When we met at 11:00 we saw that Cathy and Carolyn actually did some more shopping. None of us was surprised! A great amber necklace, three little jeweled boxes were added to the Morocco shopping load.

The faces of Erfoud !



Transferring to the two land rovers was a chaos. All of what had to be on the Land Rovers, the food, the water, the gifts for the family were left in Ibrahim's Van. Finally we got every thing in where they were suppose to be and off we went. Hamid the driver and Meli lead the small caravan in to the desert.


Our first search was a house with Berber drawings on the door. We saw every door in the village but not the one we were looking for. Well that is life! We did see , though, how the houses in the desert village were all equipped with solar panels. They now had satellite dishes, refrigerators and light for school children. the women were shy. The children were adorable. Not finding the house worked out well because we got to see lots more!!

Our next stop was the marvel of three million years. Once upon a time, 3 million years ago,  Sahara was an ocean. When the water started to evaporate, the creatures of the sea started congregating in the shallow waters of the disappearing ocean. Finally when the water was completely depleted, they were stacked on each other and were fossilized. Unfortunately, environmentally quite irresponsible Moroccan government allows the fossils to be quarried to replace marble blocks. The few natural examples of the fossils survived were still laying on the ground of Sahara.

What seemed like a lake was a mirage but the bird was real. Now there is not much natural fauna in the desert.
We were lucky to catch the sight of a lonely bird enjoying the shade of one of the few trees in the Sahara.

 Then we drove to a tent of a Berber nomad family,  where we ate the lunch that we brought. Which was chicken, tomatoes, cucumbers, eggs bread and potatoes and bananas. The Berber lady served us tea as we sat in her tent and ate our lunch.  We were sitting on colorful hand made carpets. The woman showed us how she was spinning camel  and goat hair  in to yarn. The woman was so gracious and loving. Her 17 year old daughter is getting ready to be married. The tiny goat wandered in to the tent but was restrained by the daughter. Their yellow cat was begging for food asking us in cat voices to feed it.



Our Caravan in the Sahara!
Then we went for a ride in the desert where we saw a group of nearly fifty camels walking. Occasionally nibbling at some weeds.
Then we viewed several desert hotels where people stay and then explore the desert.
As we traversed the desert, we saw more camels. And then the magnificent sand dunes came into view. The dunes were all shades of gold, rust and light tan changing with the sun and shadows were appearing. Our hotel then came in to view. It was like a caravanserai in the desert awaiting us with rest and refreshment.
We stepped into a lovely garden with the trees and the birds singing, isolating us from the harsh desert outside. When I walked in to the garden I felt a silk curtain of peace enveloped me, come upon me. Our rooms makes us feel like we are royalty living in the splendor of  magical world.
Carolyn and Winnie went swimming in the cool water of the swimming pool caught in the middle of a court yard.
Tonight we will have our dinner and celebrate Joan's birthday.

As the sun was getting low, the camels were heading home. The sand dunes were changing their color from beige to orange.

Happy Birth Day Joan  Sahara Desert now knows that it is your birthday!
The birth day celebrations went on the whole night. Rashid had ordered drummers and a wonderful pink cake!

                                                                                                                                                                               Click here for Day 07   Merzouga
                                                    Group journal index
MELITOUR home page