Camel Ride at Erg Chebbi

We spent the day relaxing in the sun (24 degrees), flying our kites on the dunes and exploring the area around the camp. Some of our group played a competitive game of bowls. At 4 pm it was time to be introduced to our camels that were to transport us to Berber village for the night. It was a ride of about two hours – quite long enough. We arrived at the village at sunset and were greeted with mint tea and nibbles before dinner was served – soup, chicken tagine (again!) followed by fresh fruit. The food was delicious and we were able to wash it down with wine that we had brought with us. Afterwards we sat around the camp fire singing Berber songs to the accompaniment of drums and castanets. For a time we made quite a noise in the silent desert but we were soon ready for bed.

We slept in tents surrounding the campfire, one room per couple with rugs covering the sandy floor. We had a mattress, sheets and lots of blankets. There was a rug for the door and the tent roof was hessian through which you could watch the bright stars. We were woken at 6 am in time to watch the sunrise. The colour of the sand changed dramatically from dull to bright as the sun’s rays reached the earth. It was a beautiful place, so different from the world we knew. The massive dunes emitted an ancient air of calm and tranquility, we felt privileged to be in such a place.

Eventually we remounted our camels for the return journey and two hours later we were back at the campsite, tired and a little saddle sore. It was a touristy thing to do but we were glad of the experience and were charmed by our hosts who did everything they could to make us welcome.