Take a look at our portfolio of FREE Teaching Resources!

Morocco: A Night in the Sahara Desert

Last updated: Jan 10th, 2024


When Ian Geddes, one of our incredible geography Field Study Tutors, asked us what comes to mind when we think of a desert, our answers followed the lines of tumbleweeds rolling across barren land and Aladdin’s desert race (a classic)!

But Ian was quick to change our outlook! Having travelled to Morocco (more times than he can count), Ian has experienced it all, and he puts a night in the Sahara Desert down as THE trip highlight of a geography trip to Morocco.

Let’s find out why!

But First… What is the Sahara?

The Sahara desert is the hottest desert in the world, and the third largest. It’s located in North Africa, and stretches across a whopping 11 countries, including Algeria, Chad, Egypt, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Western Sahara, Sudan and Tunisia.

The Sahara’s landscape is surreal. Picture a sea of endless golden sand whipped into magnificent ripples and peaks and valleys, contrasted with the bright blue clear sky…

 

Excitement and Anticipation

Ian started off by talking us through the incredible climate of the Sahara, once a luscious landscape and now, due to a change in the Earth’s orbit years and year ago, a vast orange-hued desert. He described the ways in which people equip themselves for the unique climate, and how students start their journey doing this very thing!

Students are kitted out with custom scarfs to protect their faces from possible swirling sands and the heat. They’re laughing and posing, and this kind of prep really sets the scene for the exciting experience that awaits.

Camel Riding – Gentle Giants

And of course, no trip to the Sahara would be complete without a camel ride!
Students have the opportunity to travel desert style on the back of these desert-dwelling creatures. They climb on the sturdy hump of the gentle giants, and off they go to explore the natural wonders of the Sahara! You can even see the crisp silhouette of the camels and their riders in the sand!

They head for the sand dunes and the hills, just as generations and generations have before…

 

Camel Ride

The Campsite

 


“The local Berbers will come down before dinner, sing their songs and perform their dances – I’ve never not had a group of kids join in!”

 


Students are also welcomed to a traditional desert camp and have the opportunity to engage in lively conversations with locals, traditional music and dances, and heartfelt cuisine. Aside from being a load of fun, the experience allows students to consider differences between their own lifestyle and those of others.

The Sunset

Imagine a spectacle of colours – the sky painted in strokes of orange, pink and purple.

Ian described moments with his groups that were truly magical. Students sit on the sand dunes and atmosphere.

 


“As the sun sets, we walk up the sand dune and settle. We sit down and quickly settle, taking in our spectacular setting… mountains and sand. The sinking golden sun. The cooling of the air. Often, our senses become attuned to the changing environment. We may be aware of the wind gently moving across our face and our hair.”

 


The Stars

And the stars!

According to Ian, in the Sahara, time seems to stop. “Our ears become sensitive to silence, but we may be aware of the sand ‘whispering’ as it settles for the night. We may be a group of twenty or so. We are together, but sit peacefully and calmly in our own space. It is truly magical. The sun sets, darkness slowly embraces us, and we wait for a wonderful display in the skies as the ‘milky way’ and the stars emerge.”

When darkness transcends, you just have to look up to see the spectacle in the sky! In the Sahara, you escape all light pollution, so you’re left an infinity of stars and constellations. We were blown away by Ian’s description of the Milky Way – a once in a lifetime kind of thing! The experience makes you feel almost comfortably small in the universe.

 


“Now that is a night students will always remember. Their first night in the desert…”

 


 

A Night to Remember

It’s safe to say, next time we’re asked, “What do you picture when you think of a desert?”, we won’t think of barren wasteland. Instead, we’ll think of the golden sand dunes, the singing and the dancing and the reflecting amongst millions and billions of stars.

To have your students experience something as magical as the Sahara, talk to our team!

Talk to our team

Related Articles

Meet Morocco… Africa’s Golden-Hued Gateway to Geographical Discovery!

Delve into the beauty of Morocco and discover the incredible hotspots this geography trip has to offer!

The extra member of your teaching team you didn’t know you needed!

It’s no great secret, but one of our most frequently heard top tips from other teachers is that getting your on-tour teaching team right is…

Students on tour

How can a school trip help your students to think like a Geographer?

Geographical issues are wide ranging, important and complex. Geography should promote an awareness, interest and understanding of the world’s people and places, helping students understand…