The Sahara Desert Challenge
‘Life Changing’ – It is a term perhaps too often used when referring to Charity Challenge Treks but if you have been inspired by those that have trekked the Sahara with us, this brief blog tells you why and in this case, it may just be true.
First of all, What Is The Challenge?
The trekking element of the trip is 6 days in the Sahara Desert, approx 450km SE from Marrakech. The desert route varies from group to group but the aim is to get the group on top of Erg Zaher (commonly known as ‘Eric’), one of the largest dunes (1900 feet) in the Chigaga region. By the time you finish, you will have covered anywhere between 60 – 100km depending on how the group progressed.
The beauty of this Challenge is that it suits most abilities and therefore very achievable. That’s not to say it’s not challenging! Compared to Everest Base Camp or Kilimanjaro for example, it’s fair to say that it’s not as physically challenging as they are BUT the desert brings its own challenges.
The heat, the sand, the basic living conditions all contribute to a challenging environment over an extended period of time. Sand storms can add a bit of spice!
We experience people who have never camped in a tent before, never slept in a sleeping bag before, never slept in the open under the stars before, never been to the toilet in the open before.
In Nov 2016, we took a lady in a wheelchair (she also used crutches) on this Challenge. The route was adapted and provisions made to cope but suffice to say, it can be done.
So Why Is It Life Changing?
Life in the desert is simple. For 6 days, chances are you will see no-one else, there are no roads, no villages, no TV’s, no sounds, just silence and a sea of sand. Everything you need is right there on the camels supporting you; a bag weighing about 12 kg; that’s it.
You have a tent to sleep in, the food is cooked for you, nothing else to do. You are not busy anymore. You slow down, relax, enjoy your surroundings and all of that allows your mind to wander and to naturally realign your world.
Life in the Desert is a sort of life chiropractor, a life detox, a realisation of what matters, or not. The busy, fast, digitally dependent world we live in has suddenly gone for a few days; bliss.
People come back – changed.
Everyone on these treks has a story. That story invariably unfolds on the trek and the summit of Eric is where most people remember just why they embarked on this adventure. And an adventure it is, every trip is different; the weather, the route, the people, the stories, the experience. What isn’t different is the camaraderie that appears to gel very quickly and yet never disappears.
All of that has a marked impact on those that go. It is indeed often life changing.
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