Travel The World

Shadows in the Sahara

Sand dunes in the sands of the Sahara, Morocco (Abigail King)

The Sahara, Morocco

The Sahara

The Sahara Desert has a name that lives up to its reputation. Not simply because it sounds rippled and mysterious, but because the very word Sahara derives from the Arabic for…wait for it…desert. My first encounter with the almighty sands came in the form of particles scattered across the windscreens of windswept Britain in the aftermath of the 1987 hurricane.

My second experience, however, took the more traditional route: along the dunes in Morocco.

Clouds over sand dunes in the Sahara

The Sahara: My Second Encounter

Borne along by a scratchy, lurching, cantankerous camel, I rose and fell with a rhythm more suited to a choppy night on the ocean than a daylight trek across ever-so-dry land.

The Sahara is the largest hot desert in the world (with Antarctica qualifying, rather bizarrely, as the largest desert in the world with its lowest annual levels of precipitation.)

The Sahara spans 3.6 million square miles and scorches across North Africa from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the Red Sea in the east.

There was no way my camel was going to be able to manage that. Nor my pelvis and sandblasted face. Instead, we trekked for a few days, tried our luck at sand-boarding and took photographs that I hope you’ll enjoy.

Line of camels trekking across a sand dune in the Sahara

Travel by Camel: Slow Progress

 

Black and white line of camels in the Sahara

Travel by Camel: Uncomfortable Progress

 

Shadows in the sand of the Sahara

Shadows in the Sand

 

Footsteps in the sand

Sandboarding – A Little More Speed Required

 

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24 Responses to Shadows in the Sahara

  1. Sonja April 22, 2011 at 7:00 pm #

    What an experience. Fabulous pics.

  2. Wanderluster April 22, 2011 at 8:32 pm #

    Your photos are so evocative – nice!

  3. Dominique April 23, 2011 at 4:59 am #

    I love the camel shadow photos. I’m always trying to get good shadow or reflection photos because I like the somewhat abstract images you can get taking shots from an unexpected angle like that. The shadow pix offer a simplified and slightly elongated image that seems to accentuate the lanky grace of the animals.

  4. LB(cruiseshipblogger) April 23, 2011 at 6:00 pm #

    That looks like a lot of fun, though it sounds like you didn’t much like riding the camel.

  5. Arantxa April 24, 2011 at 6:06 pm #

    What a magical experience! i guess the sound of the wind and a permanent dance of shadows and colours made this trip unique and fascinating

  6. Abi April 26, 2011 at 10:48 am #

    It certainly was a moving, beautiful experience. But you’re right – actually riding the camel wasn’t much fun! They’re very uncomfortable!

  7. Ekua May 1, 2011 at 4:11 am #

    Great pictures. I often think that riding animals seems a lot more fun than it actually is! But it looks like the camel riding provided great photo ops. I finally read The Alchemist recently and since then I feel even more inclined to visit the Sahara!

  8. Anja Mutic May 7, 2011 at 10:05 pm #

    I’m loving these photos, Abi! But you’re totally right – riding a camel is not a pleasant experience. I always compare it to the seven-hour ride I did in Vietnam years ago on the back of somebody’s rickety old motorbike. I seriously thought my ass would have to be amputated when I finally got off.

  9. Abi May 11, 2011 at 7:43 am #

    Ekua – You’re so right about reading The Alchemist. I read it after this trip but I kept thinking about the desert again. It’s such a powerful book with beautiful imagery.

    And as for the camel ride – Anja, I think that’s the best phrase I’ve read all year. Ass amputation, indeed!

  10. Jenna May 23, 2011 at 3:20 am #

    I especially love the third photo. This must have been a lot of fun and so beautiful, but a few days? Sounds tiring, too.

  11. Toni May 30, 2011 at 4:41 pm #

    Great photos Abi…they speak a thousand words =)

  12. Faith June 3, 2011 at 7:50 pm #

    Love the photos! The first one with the camels shadows curving on the sand is so exactly what I’d expect when I think of trekking across the Sahara that it seems a little magical. How fun!

  13. Brendan van Son June 15, 2011 at 6:49 pm #

    What great photos and what a great experience. Definitely on my list of things to do. I love the desert, even if its sand sometimes gets in my camera.

  14. puertoricoistheplace June 21, 2011 at 2:43 am #

    Awesome pictures! Thanks for sharing.

  15. Bluegreen Kirk June 21, 2011 at 6:41 pm #

    Its amazing how simple just the photo being in black and white makes the desert look so calm and cool. I never really thought much about visiting the desert before reading other peoples experiences but i have been wanting to go for awhile now.

  16. Leigh July 4, 2011 at 4:29 pm #

    Love the photos!!! but find the watermarking to be a distraction in its present location.

  17. Michael McColl July 5, 2011 at 3:01 am #

    Gorgeous pix, Abi. But I agree with Leigh, the current watermarking is WAY too much….

  18. Abi July 5, 2011 at 3:06 pm #

    Ah, the watermark conundrum. I take your point, though. I’ll try to see if I can scale it down…Thanks for the feedback!

  19. Dalene - Hecktic Travels July 8, 2011 at 8:30 pm #

    Wow! Some really amazing photos. High on my list of things to do!

  20. Angela November 18, 2011 at 11:31 am #

    Wonderful pictures, I always find the desert very captivating, it’s evocative of mystery and a culture that I would love to enter.

  21. Jim O'Donnell November 28, 2011 at 7:35 pm #

    I first encountered the Sahara in Morocco too. I was stunned by it. Understand that I’m from the desert SW in the USA and had previously traveled in the Atacama. But there was something magical and powerful about the Sahara that stunned me. I would love to someday right the old salt caravan route down to Timbuktoo and the pilgirmige route to Mecca. Great shots, BTW!!

    • Abi King July 11, 2013 at 11:18 am #

      So interesting to hear that those deserts have so many differences between them. I haven’t seen the US deserts…although I did trek and sandboard in the desert in Peru. To me, the desert is the Sahara but I will obviously have to broaden my horizons!

  22. Hai March 1, 2012 at 10:07 am #

    In Central Vietnam,we have beautiful sand dunes as well.But these photos are amazingly gorgeous.

    • Abi King July 11, 2013 at 11:15 am #

      I never knew that…That’s something for me to check out!

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