Be honest – have you ever thought about going on a trip to the Sahara Desert? It might be on the bucket list of a few adventurous souls, but hardly in the minds of your average holidaymaker. But, you miss out at your risk. The sprawling desert is an incredible place, and there is a lot more to it than endless sand dunes and mirages. And, it is so big it is spread across twelve countries – each with their unique personality. Here are five essential experiences that you should check out if you get the chance.
Egypt’s River Nile is pretty much the lifeline for the many towns and cities that inhabit the Sahara. And, of course, it goes close to the Sahara’s most ancient buildings – the temples of Luxor and Karnak. But, don’t stop there. Moving out, you will hit the world famous Timbuktu, and even follow the river down to the Red Sea. In Africa, the Nile is known as the giver of life – and it’s easy to see why.
When you think of a desert, you don’t think of somewhere teeming with life. But, the Sahara has some incredible creatures that call it home. They are tough little things, too, capable of surviving some of the harshest conditions on the planet. It’s well worth taking a wildlife trip one night with an expert to see if you can catch a glimpse of the locals. You might see a monitor lizard or the cute looking Fennec Fox. There are plenty of other, too. Conservationinstitute.org have a good insight on what to expect.
The bustling cities
Cities in the Sahara are a lot more advanced and comfortable than you might think. El Aaiun, for example, is a beautiful place with plenty of luxury to retreat from the harsh, dry, atmosphere of the desert surrounding it. The likes of tripadvisor.com have rundowns of the fantastic hotels available – and they might just surprise you.
The amazing oasis towns
The Sahara is so big; it shouldn’t be surprising there are so many amazing little towns there. Of course, you can’t go there expecting a raging nightlife and all mod cons, but they are well worth a visit. They are the perfect place to stay when you are planning trips out to the dunes, too. Oasis towns tend to be in the major countries, such as Morocco and Egypt. Some are quaint little places full of a sleepy atmosphere while others are far more colorful affairs. Check out Ksar Ghilane in Tunisia or Tamanrasset in Algeria.
It’s easy to write off the sheer volume of sand in the Sahara – but it needs to be seen to be believed. The size of the dunes can be mountainous, and many of them will look completely different the next day. If you get the chance, head out with an experienced guide and see it for yourself. It is a little eerie seeing a landscape change before your eyes – and it’s very much alive. You may even find yourself a meteorite if you are lucky.
Have you been to the Sahara? Let us know about your experiences in the comments section below!