If the Sahara desert intrigues you, rest assured it’s going to exceed all your expectations when you see it in real life. You might assume there’s not much to do there other than see lots of sand, but let’s just say, you’d be surprised.
The Sahara covers most of northern Africa and gets millions of tourists who visit it for its magic and culture. Morocco, for example, received over 10 million international tourists in 2016 alone. The Sahara makes you shake your head in disbelief. It’s a desert where you can see amazing wildlife, taste some glamour, and even partake in fun adventure activities. Here’s why the Sahara is such an exciting place for both you and your kids.
Meet The Locals
It’s fascinating to think that people survive in this desert and that you can meet them! The Sahara is populated by approximately four million people, with most of them living in areas such as Algeria, Libya, and Egypt. Adventure tours in the desert are a great way to help you meet these interesting and mysterious nomadic families, learn about their lifestyles and enjoy their tasty food, such as delicious tagine chicken and vegetables.
Ride A Camel At Sunset
You can’t go to the Sahara desert and not ride a camel! You’ve seen it in movies and now’s the chance to do it with your kids. Better yet, do it at sunset when the beautiful sky paints the sand in warm, breathtaking colors. It also feels like a spiritual experience because it’s so quiet. There’s no rush of traffic or chaos — just peace.
Gaze At The Stars
Stargazing is always fun with the kids, but there’s no better place to do it than in the Sahara desert. With such clear skies, you’ll be able to see many more stars than you do in polluted cities. This is especially great to do with young children, who’ll be curious about the stars and will love hearing stories you make up about them.
Ride A Quad Bike
Who said sand dunes are only for walking? Make your journey more exciting by riding quad bikes! Morocco is one of the best places for quad biking because it offers such diverse territory. There are desert trails but also mountain terrain and the country’s wild beaches. You get the best of both: sand and sea in one trip.
You might not be able to surf the sea, but you can definitely surf the sand. The Erg Chebbi is a large dune of wind-blown sand that’s found in Morocco, a country with the biggest sand dunes in North Africa. Here you’ll be able to grab a board, climb to the highest point on the dune, and ride down.
Have A BBQ
You might not think of having a fire or BBQ in the Sahara desert, but it’s actually the perfect place. Here you’ll find lots of dry branches and bushes that you can collect with which to start a fire to keep you warm at night when the temperature drops. Grill dinner or roast marshmallows while you enjoy quality time with your family, sharing stories of your wild adventures.
To get a real feeling for the place, enjoy a Bedouin BBQ or zarb. This is when meat, like lamb and chicken, and a variety of vegetables are placed in a square hole in the ground and covered by hot coals and blankets. It’s traditionally a cooking method by the Bedouin people, one of the ethnic groups of Western Sahara.
Stay At A Luxury Camp
The idea of a desert doesn’t really call to mind luxury accommodation, but it is definitely on offer in the Sahara. There are many options for luxury camping — or “glamping” in the Sahara desert. An example is Kerdan in the Egyptian Sahara. Here you’ll be treated to tents that have terraces and private bathroom facilities. It’s found in the White Desert national park where you’ll see amazing rock and geological formations that have been carved by the sand and wind. So, you get comfy accommodation and beautiful landscapes in one.
Watch The Wildlife
Wild life in the desert? Yes, and there’s more to see than camels. The Sahara boasts 70 species of mammals, 100 reptile species, and you’ll find 90-odd species of birds. As for plants, prepare to see a wide variety, with over 12,000 plant species inhabiting the Sahara desert. Prepare to spot sheep, gazelles, jackals, sand foxes, cobras, crocodiles, scorpions, and ostriches! Don’t forget to pack your camera.
Climb The Mountains
They’re not mountains per se, but elevated rock plateaus know as hamadas that can reach up to 11,000 or more feet. You can find them in places like the Atlas Mountain Range that runs for 2400 km across the countries of Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco. Here you will also find remote Arab villages, such as those home to the Amazigh people - nomads who tend to live in clay houses or remote mountain caves, so it’s definitely worth visiting.
Go See “Star Wars”
If you or your kids are “Star Wars” fans, you have to visit Tatooine. It’s an abandoned settlement that’s almost completely swallowed up by the surrounding sand, and where parts of the “Star Wars” series were filmed. Located in the Sahara desert in Tunisia, the settlement has almost completely disappeared into the hot landscape, so it’s worth putting on your holiday itinerary ASAP — and hotel holiday packages offer it as a trip to make reaching it more convenient.
Traveling to the Sahara desert is one of the most magical and memorable trips you and your family can have, sure to give you a range of bucket-list worthy experiences. From sandboarding to sunset-watching, and even gaining a bit of luxurious reprieve in a fancy camp site, there’s lots to see and do for the whole family.