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  • Writer's pictureMaddalena

A night among the stars of the Sahara

Morocco, November 2022

We are all familiar with that moment in life when you decide to take a trip: you inform yourself, choose your destination, define your itinerary, establish the intermediate stops and book your flight. As you plan, you do not realise that in reality, that journey has already chosen you. It chose you through the emotion you felt while reading a book, it chose you while you had goose bumps watching a documentary on TV, it chose you while you were leafing through that magazine and picturing yourself already there.

These are those journeys I like to call "journeys of the soul". Those trips that are necessary once in a lifetime. Those journeys that are able to reconnect you to your deepest emotional dimension. Those trips in which the contact with nature is so powerful, so alive, so authentic, that it moves you and leaves you speechless.

We arrived at the Erg Chebbi dune in Merzougua in November 2022, after a 10-hours drive from the nearest airport. An endless and exhausting journey through the valley of a hundred gashbas. Groups of fortified towns built with red mud and palm leaves.

The drier the earth becomes, the harder the skin of the nomads, the freer the children play, the more you are in contact with the authentic face of Morocco.

We crossed the land of the nomads, the immense gorges of the todra, and we arrived in the valley of the roses. A journey full of intense flavours, of date markets, of scents of turmeric, curry, ginger, coriander.

It is sunset time and we have arrived in time to witness a crazy spectacle. Erg Chebbi gives us a deep emotion, of contact with the most ancient roots: the golden warm sand, an immense silence that embraces infinity. And we feel so small in comparison to mother nature. But so lucky to live in this wonderful world. So full of gratitude, that we are moved.

I have read several stories of people who decided to cross the Sahara on foot and experienced a real transformation of their identity. In that sand, in those dunes, there is a magic that forces you to stop. To connect with the essence of the desert. To come to terms with life. And there is no more beautiful experience.

We followed the sun as it slowly descended behind the desert dunes and arrived in absolute silence at our tent, led by our guide riding our dromedaries. A blazing fire, hot tajines on the embers, ATAY's welcome mint tea and Berber songs under the stars pierced the dense silence of the evening.

The beating of the drums and the sound of the vibrating qraqueb enter your veins, reach your stomach and remain on your skin.

That is the moment when you realise that this journey had to be made, because it chose you. And to that journey you are grateful: you raise your eyes to the sky and above you, a thousand beautiful stars, one falling. But the wish we made, we cannot tell.

A night among the stars of the Sahara, beyond all expectations.


The desert dunes


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