GoNomad.com has posted a very cool article about a Desert Adventure in Qatar. The story offers some details about a harrowing ride through the desert to visit to a bedouin camp and the opportunity to spend some time with those nomadic people, who still live life in much the same way that they have done for hundreds of years. (Thanks Gadling!)
This article was quite a flashback for me, as I did nearly the same trip while in Egypt a few years back. I went on a desert safari that was remarkably similar to the experience that this author had. It started with a nice drive, by Land Rover no less, out into the desert on lightly traveled roads. But the real adventure began once we turned off those roads and out into the Sahara itself. What followed was some crazy dune running that left you holding on for dear life, while your heart lept up in your throat. It was both scary and fun at the same time.
Along the way we stopped to get out of the vehicle at several points. Once to look across a stretch of the desert to catch a glimpse at a mirage. It was amazing, as it really did look like there was a great pool of water just ahead. After that, we scrambled up a tall sand dune that offered a great view of the surrounding area. You could see for miles in all directions, and the desert was both desolate and beautiful at the same time.
We climbed back into the vehicle and made our way to our real destination after that, which was a bedouin village. Over the course of the rest of the day, we got to see how these nomadic people lived. We watched them make a very simple bread that was part of their daily meals, we learned how they dug a well, and how they set-up camp. We even got to take their camels for a ride in the desert, which was an amazing experience in and of itself. (Yep! That’s me in the picture!)
Later, after the sunset, we joined them for a traditional meal with a few viggies, that flat bread we saw them make, and some cooked lamb. And once the meal was over, they sang, and danced, and we joined it around the fire. They struck me as a simple, but very happy people.
On the way back to the city, we stopped one more time, to get out in the cool desert air, and look up at the night sky. Here, away from from any light sources, and with no pollution, the sky was filled with stars. There were a million points of light on a dark black background, and it was difficult to not feel incredibly humbled and small while you looked up into the night sky and the vast expanse of the Sahara spread out around you. It was the perfect end to an amazing day, and if you ever get the chance to do something similar, I highly recommend it.