While the ten-hour journey to Zagora from Marrakesh was exciting, it was the camel ride that our gang was waiting for. Many of us have not seen or touched a camel before, so the long trip just made us anticipate the experience more.
When we finally arrived, it was already dark since it was already autumn. The days are much shorter. We could then barely see the camels we were to ride nor the road we were to trek. Nevertheless, we rode on our camels, choosing on the basis of whatever is available. I did hear from a friend who had a camel experience before that these creatures happened to be irritable and nasty animals. On the contrary, those in our caravan had a quiet and serene demeanor. They were docile and just followed the Berber guides wherever they were being led.
I think I may have had the worse ride among our caravan. I was not able to properly lodge myself onto the camel, and the pants I wore had a thin material. I could actually feel my fanny scraping against whatever it was I was sitting on. It was difficult to adjust my position while on top of the camel because I could hardly see those around me.
I still did enjoy the ride and just imagined myself to be one of the Arabian nights in the stories, albeit one of those rookie thieves. Our Berber guides led our caravan through the desert. It was less then an hour ride going to our tents. Having been in a van for ten hours, we were more than happy to have had a short trip.
I think most of us were a bit disappointed how the camel ride turned out to be. The next morning, however, was a different story.
The next day, after we had our meal, we immediately set off back to our van so we can set off to Marrakesh. It was a beautiful morning, with wisps of clouds in the sky and a cool air about us. We can finally see our camels! They had this silly grin on their faces, probably thinking "silly tourists!"
I chose a tan camel for my ride this time (I think I had a darker camel during the night trip). I was also able to position myself properly. No chafing of the fanny for me anymore. The ride went smoothly. We saw the dunes spread out on either side of us, glistening pinkish then to goldish in the early morning sun. As we drew nearer and nearer the roads, there were more date trees in our line of sight. Homes made of mud, lime and hay also stood near the dates. Some old houses were already destroyed with just a bit of their foundation as evidence that homes existed on those sites previously. Black and white birds flew by us, landing on the date trees, peering at us curiously.
The caravan was in high spirits. We joked around and talked about what we saw. We took pictures, talked to our camels and patted then on their heads.
The whole trip took less than an hour. We all felt sorry when we saw the highway appear before us and our van arriving so soon. The camels gently knelt down so we could go down. We took some final photos, bid our Berber guides goodbye and gave them a generous tip then proceeded to our van for another long ride back home.
Thinking about it, we realized that the three day camel tour would have been perfect. One entire day spent riding on camel would have been just enough (maybe even too much). Not only do we get to ride the camel longer, we also get to see more of the desert. Nonetheless, we were quite happy to we pushed through with our camel ride. It was definitely a once in a lifetime experience for us.
To get tours for camel rides (as well as other experiences), coordinate with your hostels. Our hostel, Riad Medina Zahara, did a good job planning this trip for us for a good price. We paid 600 dirhams which was definitely worth the experience!