Travel | Morocco, A journey to the desert

The temperature was easily 90 degrees as Mohamed wrapped my head with a long blue chech, the sun protection worn by Moroccan desert nomads. Nearby, camels snorted and moaned while handlers outfitted them with saddles for the imminent journey. Behind us loomed a long two-story dune and an ocean of sand, undulating toward the vanishing point. After a weeklong voyage across southern Morocco, I was about to venture at last into the Sahara, the culmination of a personal two-decade dream.

A fount of solitude and the desert of childhood imaginings, the Sahara Desert is like nowhere else on earth. It is the world’s largest desert, at once continental in its scale and exquisite in its detail, from a sand sea the size of a small European country to an orange sand dune sculpted to perfection by the wind.

From the desert city of Ouarzazate, through the beautiful Oases along the lush Draa Valley to M’hamid, across the baren Hamada desert to Merzouga and back along the stunning Dades Valley (valley of a thousand Kasbahs) to Skoura, I traveled from the Marrakech to the desert. And it was beyond what I could have imagined!