Review: Erg Chigaga Luxury Tented Camp – Part II, Mhamid, Morocco

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Review: Erg Chigaga Luxury Tented Camp, Mhamid, Morocco – Part II

We slept in as our first activity was not scheduled until 10 AM. We ended up naturally waking up at about 8 AM as the desert heat of the day started warming up the tent.

We had a breakfast of yoghurt, museli and fruit, along with coffee. We were also able to more fully situate ourselves as sunset came pretty quick the day before. The morning light made for some great photographs against the dunes.

A camel ride into the desert:

Our first activity of the day was a camel ride into the desert. All the activities were included with the lodging fee. The camels that the resort had access to were very pleasant and mild tempered. There was no spitting or irritability on their part; they were very mellow.

We trekked about 45 minutes into the desert along with our Brazilian camp mate friends. I’ve been fortunate enough to ride camels on 4 earlier occasions in Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. Most of these rides have been from opportunistic camel minders at the bottom of the pyramids of Giza. All of these have been for short periods of about 15 minutes; you pretty much get what you pay for after you bargain. When you go for a camel ride that is an hour in length, there is a certain muscle group on your body that gets used that you don’t typically get used. Needless to say, I was walking a little funny for the next forty eight hours. Despite this, there were some nice views of the dunes and the desert.

Although not as tall as the sand dunes at the Qsar Al Sarab, Liwa Oasis, United Arab Emirates, the dunes were still a pleasant sight.

After the camel ride, the camels took a break and fed themselves on some shrubs in the nearby dry river field.

A Visit to a Desert Oasis:

We hopped in the SUV’s which had been driven up and drove to a nearby oasis that was about 30 minutes drive away, or about 15 kilometers from the camp. The camp was run and occupied by a nomad that had experience in living in the desert. We are definitely off the grid here, there wasn’t much around for miles.

We had lunch there of Moroccan salad (tomatoes, onion) and brochettes of chicken and beef. We spent a lot of the afternoon at the oasis under tents as it was shady and pleasant. MrsWT73 and I had each brought a book with us which helped pass the time with great comfort. It was recommended by our local hosts that we stay at the oasis as it could get very hot at the camp during the day with no immediate shade trees available.

Sunsets and Sand Dune boarding:

At around 4 PM, we left the oasis. We were one hour back in the car to the desert camp. Once back at the camp, we set up in the full sun to relax. MrsWT73 enjoyed the free flow wine that was available to guests.

Another sunset this time, we headed up top the dunes a little bit late as the sun appeared to disappear quickly. We stocked up on a drink and started the long climb up the dunes to the sunset picnic spot.

We settled into the picnic spot for another sundowner as it got dark. It’s hard to beat a view with a set up like that!

I went and tried sand boarding for the first time. It was pretty neat to try and I managed to only crash down once at the first start. MrsWT73 wanted to get some silly pictures with our hosts so I was more than happy to oblige.

With the sun coming down, we walked down the hill using cell phone flashlights and for the rest of the evening, had some time next to a cracking camp fire. The camp was set up with candles and lights all around, making it comfortable to spend time outside before retiring.

In Summary:

It was a pleasant and interesting day of life in the middle of nowhere. Although the camp was great, it sure took a tremendous amount of time and effort to get there to appreciate those views. For those able to travel, there are similar experiences near paved roads and hotels that are easily accessible near the Liwa Oasis in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. However, it won’t have that historic feel of being near the Berber desert on the spice trail that this region is famous for.

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