I went glamping in the Sahara Desert. I thought I'd hate it, but even the freezing temperatures didn't get me down.

Posted

I signed up for a trip that included glamping the Sahara Desert even though I thought I hated camping. Jamie Davis SmithI went glamping for the first time in the Sahara Desert with two kids and had an amazing time.Not even the sub-zero temperatures and minimal amenities ruined the beautiful views.After this experience, I'd go glamping again and I might even try camping. I don't require five-star accommodations to be comfortable, but I have spent most of my adult life avoiding camping, convinced I would hate it.When I travel, I like having hot showers, reliable electricity, and a warm place to sleep at night. Those basics aren't a guarantee with camping, but they do often come with glamping.Glamping varies widely but generally consists of accommodations and facilities more luxurious than a basic tent. Sometimes, it also involves sleeping in a yurt, cabin, or unique structure — after all, the glamping industry is booming in the US amid the rising demand for unique travel experiences.So when I booked a group tour to Morocco with my two kids that included overnight camping in the Sahara Desert, I was down to give it a try.I paid $4,256 for the three of us for the entire group tour, which included accommodations, a sunset camel ride into the dunes, dinner, and breakfast during the two days in the Sahara Desert.At first, I didn't realize what I was in forThe Sahara Desert can get cold at night. Jamie Davis SmithWhen I signed up for the trip, I naively assumed a desert in North Africa would be comfortable in December.Only later while frantically searching what I would need to camp in the Sahara did I learn its temperatures in the winter could fall to 25 degrees Fahrenheit or lower.I started to panic. The tent I was staying in did not have heat. I rush-ordered a merino wool base layer and hoped for the best.I read reviews past travelers left saying that even though the camp I was staying in had showers, I could forget about using them because it would be far too cold.At the last minute, I packed a few baby wipes so I could give myself a sponge bath in the desert if needed. I was no longer convinced this would be a very glam experience, but it was too late to change my plans.Fortunately, the desert camp was much nicer than I expectedThe Sahara Desert camp felt surprisingly cozy. Jamie Davis SmithMy camp in the Sahara — El Borj, located in Erg Chebbi — was anything but basic. Improbably, it had a cozy, home-like feel. Throughout the campsite, beautiful Moroccan rugs were carefully arranged over the sand. Each structure had pops of color on its exterior, too.I can live without WiFi, but I like having reliable electricity.Jamie Davis SmithThe camp had a welcoming walkway lined with solar-powered lights, which was great at night.My tent was huge. Much to my relief, it was also insulated.The tent had electricity, but I wasn't sure if I could rely on it. Jamie Davis SmithThe camp had electricity, although I had been warned that the power source was unreliable and could fail at any moment.Daytime in the desert was magical, and nighttime was cold but lovelyRiding camels in the desert was unreal. Jamie Davis SmithA day in the desert was just as magical as I had hoped.I vowed that riding a camel into the sunset, watching the sun disappear over the vast desert, and sliding down enormous sand dunes would not be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.At night, I bundled up and enjoyed a feast with roasted olives, traditional Moroccan tagine, couscous, and fresh fruit sprinkled with cinnamon.As the temperature dropped, I huddled by the fire and stared in awe at the desert sky, which was filled with more stars than I'd ever seen at one time. The moon was so full and bright it didn't look real.Plenty of food was available at the glamping site. Jamie Davis SmithI thought about how I would have missed all of this if I had let my fear of camping — and even glamping — stand in my way.If being cold and going without a hot shower for a day was the trade-off for such an amazing experience, it was well worth the inconvenience.The campsite looked cool at night, too. Jamie Davis SmithWhen it was time to go to bed, the blankets were heavy, but I was so tired I barely noticed their weight as I drifted off to sleep.I woke once, briefly, and considered getting up to use the bathroom in our tent. I felt the bitter cold nipping my face and decided I could wait until the morning.I would gladly go glamping again — and I might even try campingOur trip in the desert changed my mind about glamping. Jamie Davis SmithI woke up early, in time to catch the golden sunrise over the dunes. I sat by the fire with a hot cup of coffee mixed with warm milk and sugar.As I watched the sunrise, I decided that I was a glamping person after all. Later that afternoon, driving away from the desert, I wondered if I should give old-fashioned camping a try, too.Read the original article on Business Insider

Travel, freelancer-le, aspirational-luxury, glamping, morocco, sahara-desert, freelancer