Early on in my trip planning process, I knew I wanted to ride a camel into the desert. The idea of riding camels and camping under the stars just sounded so romantic. I was really looking forward to this evening. Jalil had arranged our camel trek through Hotel Nomad Palace for €35 per person. We arrived at the hotel around 4:30, checked in and dropped off our luggage in our room (that we would not sleep in), changed, and went to the camel “parking” area behind the hotel. There was a large group of Brazilian travelers also riding camels that evening but they had gotten a head start over us.
Even though there were 40+ camels at the camp where we spent the night, the trek was private: just our camel guide, Henry, me, and our two camels. I’m sure our camels had names already but we decided to give them nicknames anyway. Mine was Poopybutt because he was great at multitasking and had many bowel movements during our one hour trek. Henry got to watch all of it come out as his camel was tied behind mine. Since Henry’s camel always tried to cut in front, we named him Speedy. Speedy and Poopybutt were very sweet camels (as far as my animal loving self can tell).
I do have to say that the whole idea of riding a camel was more exciting than actually riding one. African camels have one hump while Asian camels have two so we were essentially sitting very high, on top of the hump (there were homemade saddles). When camels walk, they shift their weight greatly from left to right so with each step, my body also shifted back and forth.
We had hoped to see the sunset but the sun was hiding behind many clouds that day. When we arrived at the camp, we were shown to our accommodations. Surprisingly, we had our own private tent with a bed and use of communal toilets (actual toilets, not port-a-potties).
Although the group that evening was mainly comprised of Brazilians, we did meet two other American couples. Since Americans tend to eat earlier than many other cultures, all the American couples were the first ones to arrive in the dining hall. We chatted about each of our travels in Morocco. One of the couples was completing a North-to-South itinerary similar to ours while the other couple’s trip was in the opposite direction. That couple had hired a private driver as well but their driver was constantly taking them to shops where he could earn commission and he kept pressuring this poor newlywed couple, on their honeymoon, to buy buy buy. We felt very lucky that we could trust our driver and he did not try to sell us overpriced trinkets.
Dinner was served buffet style and it featured several tagines and couscous. After a filling dinner, the staff of the camp played drums while the Brazilians danced late into the night. By midnight, I was sleepy and we headed back to our tent. There was a sandstorm that evening and even though Henry tried his best to seal the edges our tent’s door, some sand did get in. There’s nothing better than waking up with some sand in your mouth.
I don’t even know what time we were awakened but we brushed our teeth and got on Poopybutt and Speedy to head back to the hotel. The moon was still out and the sun had just come up. The soft morning breeze coupled with the warm sunlight felt amazing.
I’m really glad we did this camel trek and it was also very nice to have a hotel room to relax in when we got back. We showered, got ready and ate breakfast at the hotel before heading out for another full day. I wondered if Poopybutt and Speedy would get the next day off or if they had to carry other tourists back into the desert that evening.