The most iconic desert in the world is the Sahara. I drove for days, rode a camel for hours, and slept under the stars just to see it.
- Stretching from Egypt to Morocco, the Sahara Desert is the largest hot desert in the world, comparable in size to the continental US.
- While there are many ways to visit the Sahara, possibly the most iconic way is to visit Erg Chebbi, one of Morocco's many ergs, or seas of sand dunes. Erg Chebbi is often used for films because of its stunning expanse of iconic fire-orange sand dunes.
- To reach Erg Chebbi, one has to drive for two days from Marrakech through mountains and desert, before switching to a camel for the final stretch.
- I recently visited and, while the sunset and sunrise were unforgettable, the dunes were far from the immaculate waves you see in photos, thanks to the hundreds of ATVs and 4X4s that ride through.
Growing up, my first ambition was to be an archaeologist. No one told me at the time that the job had little to do with what happens in "Indiana Jones," but you try telling that to a precocious seven-year-old.
To kid-me, being an archaeologist meant emerging from the whorls of a sandstorm with a scarf wrapped around my face as I rode a camel through the golden-orange dunes of the Sahara Desert, the largest hot desert in the world.Lacking the patience to dust pottery shards in the sweltering heat, I've long since outgrown my archaeological dreams. But that image of the Sahara - gentle waves of pristine sand, like a golden snowfall - has stuck with me.
I'm sure the word Sahara conjures a similar image for you too, thanks to hundreds of movies, books, and photos. But the reality is that there all different parts of Sahara, from the rocky black desert in western Egypt to an immense salt lake in Tunisia.
But the one place that is definitely the Sahara of your dreams lies at Erg Chebbi, one of Morocco's many ergs, or seas of sand dunes. Lying on the edge of the Sahara, Erg Chebbi is often used for films because of its stunning expanse of iconic fire-orange sand dunes.
About a two-day drive from Marrakech, Erg Chebbi feels like the start of many an adventure. On a recent trip to Morocco, I decided to take a road trip to see it.
Here's what it was like: