Erfoud - Merzouga was a relatively short ride. The road to Merzouga is flanked on both sides by sand, sand and more sand. You can't quite make out any dunes yet but you do feel like you're in the desert.
From what I gather, most of the good accommodation is along the road to Merzouga, not actually in the town, which is not that nice and according to my buddy Geert who went there on a beer run "It's a shithole".
Along the road we saw a sign for "Auberge Dunes D'or" which was recommended by one of the English guides at the Camping Timnay. I remembered this when we passed the sign so we screeched to halt and followed the sign. A small piste ...
... takes you in to the desert ... further in to the desert ...
, where we found this wonderful place
Rooms were a bit steep (25 Euro) but they let us put up our tents behind the hotel for 2 bucks a night and we had access to the pool, restaurant and chill out area. Great deal!
Guy told us to park our bikes round the back where we would be staying. I went to check out what was round the back, to find ... DUNES.
Welcome to the Sahara!
Excited at finally being able to hit some sand, I sped off to dig my rear wheel in, about 10 sec after getting back on the bike
. Lesson learned: take off your luggage and deflate your tires!
Now we had our own little desert camp, with all those dunes to play in! Nice to finally be able to take off all our gear and RELAX
I spent a few hours here in a slumber listening to my iPod
, reflecting on life and realizing how lucky I am to be able to do things like this. To travel around on your motorbike, do things you could never imagine possible, make great friends along the way ... I had a real profound sense of happiness here
and all the stress of the office back home just seems light years away. Priceless. This is why I travel.
I slept here under the stars on my thermarest for a couple nights. During the day it got to 40 Celsius but at night it cooled down to a comfortable 15 - 20, so you didn't even need a tent. Sleeping under the stars becomes very addictive.
Camel poking around in the kitchen
After hydrating and relaxing a bit, time to play! Deflating your tires makes a WORLD of difference. After slipping and sliding all over the place, I could now actually RIDE through this sand. What a great feeling
Jan was the king of the dunes, and on an 1150 I think that's quite a feat.
Riding in the dunes was not that difficult but the strange thing is ... you cross one dune ... you cross another one ... then another one ... you look back and see nothing but dunes and sand and you think "where the f*ck is the hotel?!".
So you realise quite quickly it's very easy to get lost or disoriented. Then a Bedouin pops out of nowhere and goes "You! Want to buy necklace?"
It was impossible to get our lazy asses away from the Dunes D'or, so I stayed here for about 2 days doing ... absolutely ... nothing, apart from the odd dash in to the dunes, laze around at the pool, drink mint tea and chat, chat, chat with my new Slovenian friends
I'm not sure if the rooms are worth the money or if they let anyone just camp out back, but it's certainly worth a shot. Dunes D'or website & GPS coordinates
and a small map showing the location: