Sahara Sunrise to Fes

It was just like a dream that we rode on the camel into the Sahara Desert, slept in the nomad camp, climbed up a sand dune to see the magical Milky Way! And the dream did not end there, we ran up the sand dune again to see the beautiful sunrise, woah! I see the sun rises almost every single day on my drive to work but the sunrise in Sahara was special….when the golden sand slowly lit up by the sun! So far two sun rises took my breath away; up at 10,000 feet at Haleakala and this one in the Sahara Desert!

A look back at the nomad camp that we stayed over the night:

It wasn’t just us who woke up to witness the incredible sunrise!

I was amazed by the curvy edges of the sand dunes created by the blowing wind!

Our camels again…

Milky was fully awake and ready to take us back to the village 🙂 It was impossible to avoid stepping on camel poops, see those “rock” like on the sand, yes those are camel poops!

Am I in an Arabian dream?

We were all packed fast so we were the first ones there even our guide was still getting and tying the camels together. The tour guide/camel walker barely speak English but he was very nice to know that we wanted to take photos with the camels that he brought a few camels over for us yay 🙂

This time, we were the first group of camels to leave so we were leading the way…….however, the ride was so uncomfortable OMG! Especially when the camels were walking down the sand dune, it was so bumpy and scary that I had to have both my hands on the handle!!! The ride into the desert yesterday was so much comfortable, this one was a pain in the ass, literally!!! Later, we found out from Mohamed that the camels were well fed before the ride into the desert so they were taking their time, nice and slow. Whereas over the night, they were eager to get back home for breakfast so they tend to walk faster, ahhhh! We didn’t enjoy the ride at all but the rising sun lighting was incredible for photos, much better than the late afternoon light!!!

The sky was cloudless and so blue that it made such a huge contrast between the deep blue sky and the golden orange sand dunes!!! It was so pretty!

I didn’t look like I was in pain at all right? Don’t be fooled by the look 😛

My camel wasn’t Tally this time, a smaller one but he was cute as well! I can confirm that for the 2 hours with the camels, I did not see any of them spit hahaha! I had a friend asking me that question.

Our painful ride finally over, although I missed the sand dunes already, and we were picked up by Mohamed to get back to our hotel. We were rushed back so we could be the first into the shower room and totally forgot to tip the tour guide….we felt so bad, he was such a nice guy and hard worker 🙁

We were the first ones to get back to the hotel and took the shower, brush our teeth, and then had breakfast. After breakfast, we were on the road again, this time, much longer ride to Fes with just a few stops. Our journey to Fes passed through the Tafilalet palm grove, the largest in the world!

Mohamed brought us to this local restaurant in Midelt? I think and it was very local. The chief there showed us the tagine he has been cooking:

He looked very proud of his creations!

And right in this restaurant, they were selling fresh lamb :O We ordered some lamb racks and half a kilo of grounded beef and they barbequed for us – talking about freshness!

It turned out to be our best and most memorable meal in Morocco! And it was only 55 dirhams per person, what a bargain!!! They grilled the lamb racks perfectly with the right amount of spice! Both Sokunna and I are not lamb person; we hate the lamb taste of the meat but this one was mouth-watering without much of the lamb taste!!! The tagine was pretty good too as well as the beef meatballs. YUMMMMM!!! From now on, every time we were trying lamb, Sokunna would ask “is it as good as the ones we had in Morocco?”. The only time I could think the lamb was better was in New Zealand but too bad she didn’t had a chance to try out New Zealand lamb when she went to New Zealand last year.

After the delicious and filling lunch, we continued on our long ride…..through the Middle Atlas….this reminded me of New Zealand:

We made a brief stop at the Cedar Woods to see monkeys. Mohamed told us to have the crackers ready to feed the monkeys; there were also local boys there trying to sell us monkey food which we don’t need. The monkeys were very fast and smart to take the food in our hands and jumped away.

We passed through a modern town with houses that looked like in Europe also known as “Moroccan Switzerland” but we didn’t make any stop there as we had no interest in seeing modern architecture in Morocco. We continued our ride to Fes and arrived just before 6 pm! The first impression of Fes – crazily busy and chaotic! There’s no car allowed inside the medina which our riad located in so Mohamed could only drop us off at the square. Mohamed called the hotel to send someone to pick us up at the square and he was nice enough to stay with us until the hotel person came. It was scary as we were obviously the target for scammers!

After 10 minutes or so of wait, the hotel manager finally came with a guy who helped our luggage. We stayed at the Riad Rcif & Spa (Mohamed commented that he heard from others that the hotel only care about money urg!) but the reason I booked this was due to its architecture; it was a former Pasha’s Palace. The hotel manager pointed us the signs with the hotel’s name which will lead us to the hotel so we don’t need to worry about getting lost; it was actually very easy! As we were walking in the Medina, Fes looked even more like a maze than Marrakesh with very narrow and dark streets which looked dirty! During check in, the hotel manager handed us the CTM bus tickets from Fes to Chefchaouen which I had contacted the hotel to help us buy in advance because I heard they can sell out. So I was very thankful for the hotel to do that for us! A couple who was checking out the day we arrived did not do their homework; the bus tickets were sold out! They had no choice but to book a private driver to drive them to Chefchaouen which is costly!

The hotel did not disappoint with its architecture! I booked the Radia Suite that could fit up to 3 people, the bathroom was located up the stairs interestingly.

The bathroom smelled like copper pipes and sewage though…I guess the old plumbing in the ancient city! The woodwork and mosaic craftsmanship in this riad were  magnificent, it really deserved its name of being a palace! I like their purple cushions matching the mosaic tiles!

Our suite was located on the second floor, the suite only cost us $ 222.70 for two nights included the city tax! Accommodations are so cheap in Morocco and the number of riads are so much that it was a headache to choose where to stay! The hotel itself offered many stunning backdops for photos!

The hotel’s restaurant also ranked #1 in TripAdvisor so we booked the dinner with the hotel and also the fact that we didn’t feel comfortable walking around the maze medina by ourselves in the dark. On our way up to the rooftop for our dinner, we passed by a laundry room. We asked if we could use the washer to wash our clothes, the hotel manager said just drop our clothes in a bag and the staff would wash our clothes for free (for a tip). It was a good service to offer that even for a tip. But we do agree that the staff wasn’t genuinely friendly.

There was a little sitting room in the rooftop covered with stained glass windows and mosaic tiles.

The rooftop, not much of a good view!

Our dinner and most dishes were almost tasteless OMG it was unbelievably bad! The only “good” dish was the omlete like eggs. It was so hard to believe how could this be highly ranked in TripAdvior? 

Our main courses…tagines…..and either overcooked, dried out, or tasteless.

The so-call desert.

And the worst part of it…it was the most expensive meal we had in Morocco at 325 dirhams per person!!! We were so disappointed especially after the cheap and tasty meal we had at lunch. The hotel was unargueably beautiful for photos though!

Fes at night from our riad rooftop, look at how many satellite dishes!

2 thoughts on “Sahara Sunrise to Fes

    1. Avoid the summer months as it’s very hot and more chances of sandstorms. I went end of April and the temperature was fine but I heard there was a sandstorm the week before we arrived so really can’t predict.

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