As my fellow travellers and I lay around the campfire, the flames licking and dancing to the Berbers’ hypnotic djembe rhythms, staring up at the big dipper and tracing the patterns of stars in our minds eyes, conversations naturally took on a philosophical tone.
In the Sahara you feel so distant from everyone but also so close to nature and maybe, to yourself. It’s a pleasantly uncomfortable feeling. Somehow you feel that if you could stay out here the universe would reveal its secrets and that these secrets would be too true to fully comprehend.
I took these thoughts to my ‘tent’ as I turned in for the night. Dwellings at the camp are luxurious and reminiscent more of Kingly pavilions than crude bivouacs and, complete with electricity and hot running water, somewhat of an accomplishment out here in the most inhospitable of terrains. My three-course dinner surpassed any reasonable expectations - it wouldn’t have been out of place in an upmarket French restaurant.
I slept well that night, crooned to sleep by the howling Saharan winds.
On the drive back a shimmering surface became visible in the distance.
“Mirage!” I cried out knowingly.
Exasperated, Abdullah groaned: “Non, c’est l’eau!”
Sure enough, there it was - I got out to make sure – a little stream rippling through the sand, rationing out its precious water to a thirsty land.
It was just as well I hadn’t been stuck out here alone, I concluded. I wouldn’t have lasted two minutes.
Conor used the tour company Amazing Journeys Morocco (www.amazing-morocco.com) it cost €180 to stay for one night the Atta Desert Camp including 4x4 transport from Zagora, dinner and a one hour camel ride