The Sahara desert is the world’s second biggest, with an extension of 9 million km2.

It’s the largest of all the hot deserts. It’s located in the north of Africa and its extension is just a bit shorter than Europe. It covers some countries such as Algeria, Chad, Egypt, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Sudan or Tunisia.

The weather is extreme. The rain is rare, the relative humidity is low and wide temperature amplitudes can take place between day and night. Even though living in the desert it’s not easy, some settlements inhabit it. In the area of Morocco, the Berber must be highlighted. They are the country’s original people and one of Africa’s oldest.

The Berber are desert nomads, who use camels as a mean of transportation, having once dominated the commercial routes which crossed the Sahara, for several centuries.

Within the Berber, there are the Tuareg, among others. They cover their heads and almost the whole face with a blue indigo veil and turban, being known as the “blue men”. The veil and the turban are symbols of their masculinity and they are a protection against the sun and the sandstorms. Sahara means desert in the Tuareg language.

However, the region occupied by the Sahara was not always a desert. It was once an area full of vegetation, where a tropical forest existed. This was the place of the Lake Chad, one of the world’s biggest freshwater lakes.

Nowadays the Sahara has mountain ranges, but most of its area is sand. There are also oases, sites with water and vegetation.

The sandy dunes are called Erg.

In the southwest of Morocco, close to the Algerian border, one can find the Erg Chebbi dunes, the country’s largest. Visiting this place is absolutely mandatory.

The Erg Chebbi has a maximum width of 5 km and a length of 22 km, and the dunes can reach a height of 250 meters. The Berber village of Merzouga is located right at the dunes’ foot. This is the best place to set sail for an adventure through the Sahara.

Visiting the desert, the Erg Chebbi dunes, was one of my life’s best experiences. I played djembe with the Tuareg, had a really interesting conversation about religion with one of them under a vast starry sky. I climbed a dune very high, in order to be a little bit closer to the stars, watched the sunrise on a dune and listened to the silence. I had never truly heard the silence before.

It was memorable.