This was the most exciting part of our journey because we were going to spend three days wild camping in the Sahara Desert. We left Rich early in the morning and travelled to the town of Rissina for last minute supplies before heading for the desert. We took the only road south, driving for an hour or so before we turned off the road onto an area of shale with tyre tracks heading towards distant dunes. It was not an attractive landscape, lunar in appearance; we followed the unsurfaced track creating clouds of dust behind us as we slowly drove on. The tour leaders described this as driving off piste and we had to stick to the track to avoid our vehicles getting stuck in the sand; we drove for an hour before we finally arrived at the foot of the dunes.
We parked in a clear area with the dunes on three sides, we were delighted with our surroundings, it was everything we imagined – and more. It was late afternoon and the temperature was 34 degrees (a huge contrast to six degrees this morning). As the sun set the contours of the dunes took on a beautiful pattern of light and shade. A herd of about twenty camels was tethered close by, their keeper regally swathed in indigo robes. Sunrise and sunset were the busy times for camels as they provided camel rides into the dunes to watch the sun come up or go down. We watched those watching the sunset in the distance on the horizon, silhouetted against the setting sun.
We had our evening meal together and, once it was dark, we were treated to an incredible display of stars, appearing closer and brighter due to the gin clear air and the lack of light pollution. That night we went to sleep watching the night sky through the skylight window of our camper.