Erg Chebbi, Marocco

The finiteness of the Sahara

published 12. Feb. 2018 | categories africa - marocco

Send to desert

From above, the area around Merzouga looks rather dark. But a little yellow spot sticks out. This splash of color is a huge pile of sand called Erg Chebbi. And a harbinger of the Sahara itself. A desert taste…

Getting there

The sand dunes of Erg Chebbi can be reached via a long, tarred band through a rocky desert. In the distance you can see the dunes looming. It takes some time to get the necessary kilometers on the bike to make the dunes bigger. Constant wind is the companion on the last kilometers and thus a constant background noise. Only interrupted by four-wheel drive vehicles, which constantly shovels tourists into this part of the Sahara.

But we are lucky, at lunchtime, the desert is rather deserted. And so we ride partly on camelback, partly on foot through the sand to the largest hill in the area.

And how is it … in the desert

I opted for the variant by feet. And with every step through the sand, the shoe runs full. On climbs you go one step ahead and half back. But the freedom not to sit on an animal and move freely is important to me. Because this part of the sand dune is more often committed and so it is difficult to photograph sand sections that contain no traces of civilization. So to speak, some pictures are a faked virginity of the dunes. But beautiful is the natural lines of the breaking dune crests already. Complicated by the constant wind, which produces a steady calf peeling, structures in the sand can only be guessed at. But the wind blurs these structures too fast.

And on the finish?

After ninety minutes the big dune is reached. You climb a little way to let your eyes wander towards Algeria on a kind of balcony. In the distance you can already see more, dark fields of rocky deserts and thus the end of the taste of the Sahara. The ninety minutes have just been enough to make Merzouga disappear behind a sand dune as the last bastion of civilization. In front of us are the camps for overnight stays. And so the spark of the desert does not really want to jump in this part of Erg Chebbi. So to speak Sahara light.

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