In Photos: Why You Must Visit the Sahara Desert

In Photos: Why You Must Visit the Sahara Desert

The Sahara Desert is worthy of your bucket list.

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” – Michael Proust

The Sahara, a name filled with mystic awe and Arabian wonders. It is the largest hot desert, spanning much of North Africa. Conditions are harsh: sand temperatures reach up to 80 degrees with no water in sight. So why would anyone want to go there?

This is why. The first thing you notice about the Sahara is how quiet it is. Silence.

Just complete and utter silence.

In the vastness of the desert, there is nothing but sand. No network, no internet, no distractions. It is where you can be fully present in the moment and alone with your thoughts.

Also read: Desert Getaways Around The World For The Tough Traveller

The landscape that greeted us was alien, nearly ethereal. Having lived in Singapore all my life, it is so odd when there is space. Vast, uninterrupted space. What do you do with it? It’s an amazing feeling to just sit and watch the ebb and flow of the dunes.

An added bonus: camels. These one-humped friendly faces are called Dromedaries, a type of camel that inhabits Middle East and Northern Africa. Two-humped camels are found only in Central Asia.

These gentle creatures are just too adorable.

Most expeditions include camel trekking in their tour packages so you can ride off into the sunset with your prince charming.

sahara desert

Well, I didn’t though, I went with a friend and we rode off soon after breakfast. It looks easy but camel riding is actually very difficult! Not to mention painful. I had stupidly decided that it would be a good idea to take OOTDs with the stunning Sahara backdrop and wore a maxi dress. Because sitting on the camel is so bumpy, you have to use your thighs to “kiap” the camels to hold on and not fall off. Imagine doing that clumsily in a maxi dress. I literally walked away (jumped off the camel and walked back to the camp) with a friction burn on my thighs.

Many of the guides at the camp were indigenous Berber people who were more than happy to share about their culture and traditions with us. The shisha, which was recently banned in Singapore, is a part of their everyday life.

We also caught a glimpse of how the nomadic Berber lives today. While we were having lunch under the cool, cool shade of some trees, a local “camel-man” (not pictured, and that was really how our guide described him) came to join us for lunch. Through badly coordinated body language and a lot of help from our guide for translation, we traded stories of how Singapore is a city with 60-storey buildings, which was unfathomable to him; and of how he had been born in the desert and living in the Sahara his whole life, which was unfathomable to us.

“I have always loved the desert. One sits down on a desert sand dune, sees nothing, hears nothing. Yet through the silence something throbs, and gleams…” – The Little Prince

The sunsets are not to be missed – the red glow of the sand is unbelievably therapeutic. Maybe smoke some shisha with the locals and talk about the happenings of today and just watch as a day ends.

For a place with a scarcity of water, there is an irony in the way the sand mimics the flow of water. You cannot quite hold it in your hands; you feel it slipping.

Have some fun climbing up the sand dunes – it’s way harder than it looks.

sahara desert

sahara desert

Just as you thought the most beautiful part of your experience is over, night falls. The air becomes cool (almost too cold actually, so do bring a sweater), the heat of the day disperses and slowly but surely, some stars start to appear.

Due to the remoteness of the Sahara, the walkways are lit by candlelight, I’m not complaining.

Sing songs by the campfire with the locals.

Last but not least, the starry night sky of the Sahara. Because of its low humidity, there are hardly ever any clouds. This makes the Sahara a prime spot for night sky photography. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a tripod with me so I had to improvise and take this whilst balancing the camera precariously on a chair. Bring your tripod!

So why should you go to one of the most remote, harsh and (relatively) uninhabited places in the world?

Also read: 7 Off The Beaten Track Destinations in Morocco

How to visit the Sahara

There are a gazillion different ways and options to visit the Sahara. I would personally recommend spending a minimum of two nights in the desert as the journey there is rather tedious (scenic, but still tedious). I stayed in Erg Chigaga Luxury Camp where prices start from €650 for two nights in the desert. Prices also include transport and two nights in a local hotel for an en-route stopover (one night there and one night back). The camp itself is quite comfortable, there is an en-suite bathroom equipped with hot water for showers and even a flushing toilet! So much for camping! Fair warning though: the water is a little briny as it comes from a nearby well.

For the budget conscious, there is an option of more basic camps. There is still hot water for showering but do take note that toilets are shared.

All images were taken by the author unless stated otherwise. 

About Author

Lynn Yeo
Lynn Yeo

Hi, I’m Lynn and I’m a travel addict. I like shiny things (aka luxury travel), photographing animals and ticking places off my bucket-list even though I hope not to die so soon. If you like this article, do visit my website at Travelynn or follow me on @travelynn.

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