Desert of dreams
A journey into the Sahara can be as varied as the desert itself, but there are some quintessential Saharan experiences. Most begin in the gateway towns where expeditions out into the desert are organised. Often oases, these towns are centres of Saharan culture, places where the architecture emerges naturally from the earth and the slow pace of life has changed little in centuries.
For exploring beyond town or village limits, there are two major means of getting around. A slow march across the sands astride a camel re-enacts the great camel caravans of Saharan lore – on a camel safari, travellers slow down to a pace well suited to the Sahara’s unforgiving climate, allowing you to appreciate details and pass through this spectacular terrain at one with your surroundings. In a 4WD expedition, travellers can range further, stirring up the sand as you tick off a list of iconic Saharan landscapes.
Sleeping between four walls is an experience that ends in the towns. Out amid the sands or remote Saharan mountains, evenings are spent around a campfire and a soft bed of sand is the night-time mattress of choice. Most Saharan excursions carry tents but many travellers prefer to sleep outdoors beneath the clearest show of stars on earth.