Our of our writers left behind city life to take a shot with the camels in the desert of Morocco, but how did he fair?

Our Japanese-language writer Masanuki needed a change of pace from doing desk work day in and day out, which brought him to Morocco at the edge of the Saharan desert. Unable to communicate any more than a “How are you?” in English, and never even having touched a camel before, Masanuki set out to become an apprentice camel guide.

His adventure began at a gorgeous Moroccan hotel, Aberge Cafe du Sud, complete with a swimming pool overlooking the desert dunes. But as a camel guide, this is not where he would be staying.


Once accepted as an apprentice, he was taken about 50 meters (55 yards) from the hotel to a small, run-down hut. It wasn’t at all what he was expecting, but it was too late to turn back.


The group of camel guides who took him in reminded Masanuki of Japanese yankee (juvenile delinquents who often sport wild hairdos and can be seen squatting around in front of convenience stores), but only in looks. They welcomed him warmly, and despite his minimal communication skills and lack of camel experience they accepted him as their apprentice, giving him the name Ali.

▼ Probably the nicest bunch of “ruffians” you’ll ever meet.


The first step in Masanuki’s, or Ali’s, training was to get a camel to kneel, though he first had to overcome his fear of the giant creature looming over him! He wasn’t sure he would be able to get such a large, powerful animal to kneel at a simple verbal command, but he gathered up his courage and gave the command he was taught…and lo and behold, the camel bent his knees and lowered himself to the ground! Confidence restored, Masanuki went along the line of camels, giving each of them the command, and one-by-one they each knelt down. Perhaps this was something he could do after all.


Masanuki was given more advice before starting out, most of which he didn’t understand, except for what he gathered was the most important point of all, as he was reminded numerous times: No matter how many camels in the caravan, always check the pace of the last camel in line.

Finally, evening set in, and it was time for Masanuki to get to work. He washed his face with the camel’s drinking water and wrapped a turban around his head. He was put in charge of two camels, one of his mentors Muhammad in charge of three, and together they set out to pick up a group of Spanish travelers from the hotel. Masanuki used his newly acquired skill to get the camels to kneel for the guests as Muhammad spoke to them in Spanish.

With the crew all assembled, they set off for a sand dune about five kilometers (just over three miles) in the distance, where they would watch an amazing desert sunset.



And so Masanuki ended his first day as a camel guide’s apprentice, with the vast Sahara spread around him, and nothing but the sound of the camels’ footsteps in the sand to be heard as the sun set silently before them.

Masanuki highly recommends a camel trek to anyone looking for an adventure in Morocco. You can choose anything from a sunrise or sunset tour, to an overnight stay in a traditional desert tent, with traditional Moroccan food and music around the fire under an endless night sky of stars. Be sure to check out more of his photos below!

▼ Taking a break with refreshing Moroccan mint tea.


▼ Masanuki’s mentor, Muhammad.



▼ He fits right in, don’t you think?


Reference: Auberge Cafe du Sud
Images ©RocketNews24
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