My Sahara Trek is now over, I have trekked 100km across the Sahara desert and would 100% do it all again. It is the most amazing, breathtaking, out there thing I have ever done. I also met some incredible people along the way.
The full story:
Back in August last year I received an email about raising money for charity, I didn’t think that this particular email would change my life for the next year but believe me it did. The email consisted of an invitation to embark on an adventure of a lifetime. Trekking 100km across the Western Sahara Desert, and raising money for charity. Immediately after reading the email I was up to the challenge, I pressed the button to confirm my interest and that was the day I became a bit Sahara obsessed.
I wanted so badly to be able to do the trek and raise money for a great cause, to do something so out there, so wild, and benefit other people at the same time. I’ve always been a bit selfish in all honesty and I probably still am. The harsh fact is I owe it to my self to give to other people for a change and feel for those less fortunate than my self.
A major factor of me wanting to take part is that a bit of wanderlust sparked inside me, to set me free and go on an adventure to see some of the most breath taking scenery. My sense of adventure has grown over the last year and I now want to experience as many cultures and different things as I can, as they say you only live once. I want to feel that sense of achievement at the end knowing I’ve worked hard and trained for it. The fact that no one else I know has ever done anything of this nature is probably another reason for me doing it, and raising over £1000.00 for charity gives me a warm glow inside. I’m weird I like to doing weird things. I’d say that this is on the weird side. Being in a remote place with basic supplies feeling a bit like Indiana Jones is what I was seeking.
A year went by training,preparing, several conference calls, shopping trips later the day was finally here!! Off I went to the DESERT
After arriving at the airport, two further flights to get to Marrakech and a lengthy wait at passport control in Morocco, I had arrived. The group were quickly transferred to the Golden Tulip hotel in Marrakech and greeting by Charlie the Director of Epic Morocco who had organised the trip. Considering it was around 1am, it gave an excellent impression of his efforts towards the trip.
6 am came and the alarm went off, it was time for the last shower for 6 days and I really did make the most of it. We set off shortly after 8 in a convoy of around 25 4×4 jeeps, the 8 hour journey didn’t get off to a fantastic start our jeep broke down but, on the bright side we got to see some stunning views. After about an hour a new car was sent and we were on the road again. On arriving at our first camp the tents had already been put up we were greeted with tea and biscuits and were off to a great start, after a briefing about the days ahead and mapping out the route and learning to tie the traditional scarves around our heads we were off to spend the first night out in the desert. It was great getting to know the other 14 people in the group that I would be spending the rest of the trip with. From then on we were known as the green team.
Our first day involved a trek over the mountain you can see in the back of the photo, when I arrived at camp the previous day I did not expect to be going over it thats for sure. The day started early with a breakfast of porridge and honey and we were off on the first part of the adventure. We went to the top on the hill along it, then down into the valley. There were so many rocks, stones and god knows what else under our feet. I saw some amazing views on this day. After reaching camp two others and I decided to climb a small mound to see a breath taking view of the camp. After putting up our tents that evening we sang a lot of Berber songs around a camp fire, well we attempted to anyway.
Indiana Jones is what I go on day two and that was just the toilet facilities, I don’t think I need to explain but no one enjoyed these. Anything that was slightly gross was referred to as desert. That is so desert. (#thatissodesert on Instagram to see the green teams photos) We were up by 6.30 packing tents away and sat around small round tables for breakfast, I actually miss the group breakfasts and the red plastic plates. We were all highly impressed with the selection of preserves and drinks on a daily basis. We then set off down the dry river bed that we had walked up the previous day. This was a really hot day Saaid our guide was brilliant at reminding us to put on hats, sun cream and to drink lots of water. He had a constant supply of water from our camel who we named Alan. A lovely chap along with his handler Ali. Prince Ali of course.
We then had to climb up an epic (see what I did there) mountain it was fun on the way up believe it or not. On reaching the top we saw some great views. I had managed to find a walking stick along the way that was soon to be named the Rafiki stick and a lot of lion king related jokes were made. We walked along the top of the mountain for what felt like hours, from here we got our first view of the sand dunes. Honestly it was amazing to think that the next day we would be stepping on the dunes for the first time.
The path of rocks we encountered on the second day I feel were the hardest part of the trek, we could see camp but just couldn’t get there. It was in our view for a good three hours, no matter how many rocks we climbed over there were still so far away. I learnt along the way that The Hills Have Eyes was filmed here that was pretty good to know yet scary at the same time. Eventually we reached camp being cheered on by other teams who had already arrived, I even had the strength to run the last bit. Talking of running two guys and one of the guides went for 10k run, crazy people after a good 8 hours of walking they had more in them. Then from no where we were told that we could have a wash, for the fist time in three days we had water to wash with and it was the best feeling . The girls enjoyed this the most after feeling clean I sprayed Fabreeze just to feel even more clean or at least smell it. That night we laid outside for hours watching the stars and chatting away.
On the Morning of day three I filmed the sunrise i’m in the process of speeding this up and getting it uploaded (so look out for this). I also had kept a bottle of Oasis (that I had purchased at the airport) that had been left outside of the tent and was almost ice cold. I had a glorious sip in the morning, the taste of flavour after days of nothing but warm water was amazing!!! I kept this from the group until we reached the top of the mountain again, it lifted spirits some what and on we went. We went down the other side of the mountain and onto the edges of the dunes. Seeing the dunes was great and I think we were all glad to see the sand and a partially flat route, a lot of the day was spent walking the flat ground. We had two troopers in the one one with severe blisters and another who was being physically sick and still managed to walk on. After putting tents up again we really were pro’s now, we were shocked that Omar had rustled up chicken and chips that nick named Sahara Nandos for dinner, what a hero!!! Another hero was Emily who gad packed ketchup, everyone really enjoyed that nights meal. That night again we spent under the stars and I saw my first shooting star which was amazing, and yes. I did make a wish.
The next morning once my gaiters were on, was spent on the dunes it was great to finally be walking in the dunes, this is the part that everyone thinks the whole desert is like, and it was by far the best! We set off after having a team photo on a dune we also raced to the top. We spent the full day in the dunes this was where I took the most photo I would honestly love to share but i took over 500 during the duration of the trip, 50% possibly selfies. If anyone is due to go trekking in the sand I would recommend gaiters so much, they really do stop the sand from getting in your shoes. Don’t get the cheap ones like I did, they broke and I had to tie them up all sorts of ways.
At lunch which was a long one in the true green team style, we all had a nap and the guide even gave us head massages. The photos below show an incredible view of the dunes along with Alan the Camel who carried our constant supply of water. Not forgetting Ali and his cheeky grin. This was the night we slept out in the main tent as a group, it was such a good night, Sahara slumber party.
The last day of trekking was now here. The most thrilling yet, running up and down the dunes was an amazing experience and the views really were breath taking! A few of the group had a race across the dunes. We trekked for about 5 hours going slightly of course and following the camp Doctor (named Dr Denim after wearing a double denim number on the first day). The last day was hard and the most sweaty of them all. We wore our Prince’s Trust t-shirts with pride all the way to the finnish.
To celebrate finishing the organisers Lucy and Kai had organised along with Charlie from Epic Morocco, ice cold beers and soft drinks for the evening, not just one but two of each for each person that’s 400 cold drinks in the middle of the desert. The thought and prep that went into that must have taken some doing especially as Lucy and Kai had only decided the day before to do this. So Thank you Charlie, Kai, and Lucy. That night we had dinner in our groups, talked and sang around the camp fire and a few of us slept under the stars.
That was our last night n the desert then we were off for another 8 hour jeep ride back to Marrakech and civilisation.
I’d like to thank Charlie at Epic Morocco and would 100% recommend using the services the company provides. Thanks also go out to our guide Saaid, a wonderful guide who was so knowledgable and kept us all going. To Omar who cooked us up some brilliant meals that were way above the groups expectations.
For more information visit http://www.epicmorocco.co.uk