All posts by Shawn Blankinship

I'm a professional backpacker who enjoys meeting new people, exeriencing new places, and blogging about it! Cheers!

Sahara Desert Trek

Into the Moroccan South! From Fez we started a three day trek into the Atlas Mountains and the Sahara Desert! On the first day we made a stop in a monkey reserve, an were able to see a very lively family of monkeys, including some babies. Their moms were quite protective as the babies clung on to their moms very tightly! The scenery along the way was spectacular, as the road winded along with the mountains.

By late afternoon we arrived at a hotel/refuge on the edge of the Sahara Desert. We then jumped on some camels for one and a half hours and ventured into our desert camp. Note that this is legit desert, with massive sand dunes surrounding us. A group of us perched ourselves at the top of the sand dune and waited for the stars to come out. The sky lit up with stars – and we had a fantastic view of the Milky Way. However, none of us brought a flashlight, so we stumbled over dunes and fought our way back to the camp! Many good adventures!

On the second day of our trek, we continued on through the Atlas Mountains, and enjoyed the scenery of gorges, valleys, and even a 400 year old well system. Now the wells are dried up, so we could wander through the underground system in a series of tunnels. Very cool! We stayed overnight in Ouarzazate, and grabbed a bus to Marrakech on the third day. Onward and forward!

Across the Straits into Africa!

The journey continues into Africa! From Seville, Spain, we took a bus to the Straits of Gibralter, and hopped a ferry to Tangier, Morocco. We took one night in Tangier to relax, and then took a bus to Chefchaoun, a beautiful mountain town in northern Morocco. This is called the Blue City – you can see why in the photos below. We checked out some waterfalls near Chefchaouen, which was a good 5 hour hike. While crossing the river, there were cement like pillars to hop accross – good practice for our balance. Surprisingly, there are massive open fields of marijuana being grown. The locals are very proud of their hash – I’ve heard it’s very relaxing!

From Chefchaouen we took off for Fez – one of the best preserve ancient cities in the world. The Medina (old part of the city which is surrounded by the city wall) of Fez was quite amazing, with a labrynth of streets that can be wandered for hours! The mosques, theology schools, and architecture are facinating. Check out the photos.

I must admit that photos cannot capture the full experience. The aromas of the market, the bussle of the streets, and the many promises of “A special price for you my friend,” must be experienced in person. While at times tiring, northern Morocco has been a blast! In my next post I’ll shares our Saharra Desert trek, and the Moroccan south! Until then!



P.S. You’ll notice that I’ve previously posted several photo galleries. As we go along, we will post photo galeries of each area in addition to our regular posts of the journey. I’ve set these up as seperate categories, so you can select just photo galleries or journey post. You can find the categories in the side/bottom menu. Hope you enjoy!