Journeying through Djanet-Tamanrasset. Discover the Sahara desert

Where To Now? Discover the Sahara

Every first experience is special, and crossing the Saharan desert is of course, no exception.

We have expectations and apprehensions upon a trip, and it’s rare that reality surpasses them.

But here in the Sahara, you get the impression of being on another planet. It’s no longer Earth, but a sort of combination between the moon and Mars, to be more precise.

If it weren’t for the occasional human being making an appearance, you would believe you’re  part of a science fiction movie.

The city is now far behind us. No buildings, no vehicles. It’s just us and the awe-inspiring landscape that rises and falls; a silent witness to the forces of Mother Nature.

Between discovery walks, breaks for pictures, meals and Land Rover expeditions, the day quickly comes to an end. We get to experience our first sunset and our first night under the stars.

Sahara Desert

After the evening meal around the camp-fire, our guides invite us to a tea ceremony. We are introduced to a famous Touareg motto that says, “The first tea is bitter, like death. The second one is soft, like life, and the last is sweet, like love.”

The setting is enchanting; the night sky is scattered  with a thousand stars shining like firelight, and seeming so close that we could reach out and steal them from the sky.

To complete the magic of the moment, the Touareg tribe gives us a glimpse of their heritage by singing traditional melodies a cappella.

The pinnacle of the evening arrives just before retiring to our respective tents. We experience complete and utter silence. It is an extraordinary experience that we share with our friends of the desert, as for them: “One who does not know the silence of the desert does not know the meaning of silence.”

Where To Now? Discover the Sahara

“One who does not know the silence of the desert does not know the meaning of silence.”

Savouring each moment, each minute, each second, breathing and hearing one’s breath. Contemplating the sky, counting the stars and meditating has become part of our daily ritual. Humanity has lived alongside the immensity of the desert and cohabited in harmony. However, we are humbly reminded that we are only a small piece of  this great space’s history and our legacy could one day be forgotten.

Waking hour always occurs before dawn, and despite the few hours of rest and the accumulated fatigue towards the end of the trip, we manage to find the strength within to be able to continue the journey.

A large part of the route is covered by Land Rover.

The landscapes that we see, although barren, are beautiful; this wild beauty that has not yet been touched. Here, Nature reigns. Human presence is scarce. Running into people has become a rarity. From time to time, we might catch a glimpse of a few Touareg searching for “blue oil” or perhaps a small Jeep convoy.

Where To Now? Discover the Sahara

The encounter with the thousand-year-old art (between 6000 and 10000 years) and the cave paintings was breathtaking.

Upon seeing them, we come to understand that the desert was not always the place we believe to know so well, but rather a savanna,  teeming with water, where animals and humans coexisted. Contrary to popular belief, there was LIFE.

After the trip, we return to the city to attend SEBIBA, a traditional celebration that has been declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco. This celebration has been the turning point for two Touareg tribes. It has allowed them to put an end to a war between them. It traces it’s roots back to an ancient page in history. This colourful festival takes place in a folk-like ambiance; singing, dancing, and traditional attire from another age are all part of the festivities. Locals from in and around the city have come to enjoy and to step back in time; taking part in a reenactment of how life was once was.

Touareg Traditional CeremonyTouareg Traditional CeremonyTouareg Traditional Ceremony

After this escapade into the city, we leave it to continue on our journey. We walk, we take photos, we eat, discuss and contemplate. We grant ourselves a few moments of rest,  have a smoke and are quickly back to covering hundreds of kilometres… All of these things have become part of our routine, but an enjoyable one to say the least.

Following such a busy day, nightfall arrives like a dear friend; we welcome it with open arms, as it allows us to admire the sunsets and savour unforgettable nights under the stars.

Waking the next morning still proves to be the most challenging part of the day. However, the flood of colours, the brightness of the sunrise, the burst of light, the beauty of the surroundings and  especially the smell of breakfast cooking motivates us to do so without too much trouble.

The adventure lasted a week, but time holds no significance. This experience is unique and cannot be recounted in such few words. It deserves to be lived.

Where To Now? Discover the Sahara
Where To Now? Discover the SaharaSaharan Desert

The adventure lasted a week, but time holds no significance. This experience is unique and cannot be recounted in such few words. It deserves to be lived.

We were a diverse group: women and men, old and young, goofy and grumpy. Even though we had our differences, thanks to the magic of the Sahara, we were more united than ever. We managed to develop a solidarity, and above all, a lovely group spirit. Connections have been forged and friendships for life have been created.

The Touareg tribes, our guides, the drivers and let’s not forget the lovely cooks, they’ve been extremely nice people. Without them, the stay wouldn’t have been as agreeable.

Where To Now? Discover the Sahara

Before my departure, I was apprehensive about spending entire days without a phone, internet or television. Without modern comforts and conveniences.

But once you arrive, you realise that you can easily leave all of those behind and focus on appreciating the experience. Better yet, we learn to detach from what we consider to be indispensable (cars, houses, supermarkets, coffee, clothing, shoes…), in order to turn towards what is essential… Each person finds this in their own way and appreciates it in their own manner.

Where To Now? Discover the Sahara

The adventure is over for now. City life picks up at it’s normal pace, but the achievements of this exceptional adventure will be forever ingrained in us.

Once we have tasted it, we are forever united to the desert… We become addicted. We can’t do without it.

As we depart, nostalgia settles in but it’s surely only a matter of time before we will return.

The peaceful and silent moments of the Sahara are priceless.

If you enjoyed this post exploring the Sahara, and you want to discover more of the beauty of Algeria along with other destinations around the world, follow us on Instagram @wheretonow.world

84 Comments
    1. Ça nous fait vraiment plaisir de partager avec vous nos meilleures expériences ! On vous souhaite d’y aller, c’est vraiment incroyable!

  1. Oh my god, such beautiful pictures .. I always wanted to go to the desert, but my travel companion doesn’t really like the idea of sand, heat and desolation.. Maybe someday .. We want to go to Morocco one day, and maybe we could do a small ‘pit-stop’ in the desert while traveling there!

    1. Thank, you! We try to show you trought our lense what we see during our trips…Morroco or Algeria could be an option for the quick stop in the desert but those are not the only options! You can opt for Mui-Ne sanddunes in Vietnam for example or Huacachina in Peru! Both examples are awesome for a sang experience!

    1. We’re glad you enjoyed them 🙂 we use two cameras, a Fuji and a Sony A6000! Well do a post on our equipment soon!

  2. Both the text and the imagines in this post are amazing. I have also found the beauty and silence of the desert to be profound. Thanks for sharing this experience.

    1. We are glad your enjoyed the article! We kindly want to show the world different types of experiences through both, our camera lenses and written words!

  3. Thanks for sharing your experience with all of your readers and fellow travelers. Everything is just incredible and unforgettable about a desert trip. The colors, the culture, the power of nature and… oh those desert nights!

    1. Cheers! We’re glad you liked it! It was a hell of a trip! I can’t wait to go back and experience it again, and again! During the stay, you feel disconnected from the rest of the world, you have time to think, and live the moment to the fullest!

    1. Yes, we’re with you on that. Some experiences need to be lived, and words aren’t quite enough to describe them!

  4. I’d love to do that one day. Last year, we spent 2 nights at the Sahara desert with bedouin guides. I always imagined there are more to see than sand dunes. Inspiring article and great photography. Cheers!

    1. Both experiences are unique in their own way, and there is still so much to discover in the Sahara! We’re glad you enjoyed the read!

  5. I’d love to do that one day. I did an overnight with the Bedouins last year when I went to Morocco. I always thought that there are more to see and experience in the desert than just sand dunes and bright blue cloudless sky. Insipiring post and great photography.

    1. Wow, that sounds like an amazing experience! There are so many things to discover in the desert- different cultures, traditions, ways of living… And of course, the things you learn about yourself while on a trip like this one. Thanks so much for the nice feedback, we really appreciate it!

    1. We can make an article about Algerian / gastronomy in the desert in the future 🙂 well definitely keep it in mind! Thanks for dropping by!

  6. It’ s an experience worth to live !! and as you say it it’s something to live cause even the most beautiful pictures you can make cannot really catch the magic of the moment as it is lived in real time .. I have lived the desert within its silence,its space,its sand winds,its Alpha and its Omega .. and then I become addicted to it for ever,the desert reconciliate man with himself .. it’s a return not oly to the essential but to the human being as a whole !! I appreciate your post for its authenticity and its truthfulness,the pictures are such a beauty !! Thanks a bunch.

    1. Thanks for your comment! We are glad you can relate to this experience, it’s interesting to hear from someone who has been there. It’s true, there is nothing quite like venturing somewhere isolated to really get to know yourself.

    1. We’re glad you enjoyed the content! We encourage you to experience it, it’s really, really worth it! Let us know when you go if you need any tips :), it would be a pleasure!

  7. Oh my goodness, what gorgeous photos, I had no idea it was so beautiful. What an incredible thing to do.

  8. I had no idea it was so beautiful, what gorgeous photos. What an incredible journey, it’s fascinating to see.

    1. There are so many beautiful places to see in this planet , we would need 7 cat lives to see them all at a slow pace!

  9. This post is like poetry. I never thought of the Sahara Desert as a vacation, but with your pictures and your description, I’m definitely interested to see it for myself.

    1. It’s definitely not a stereotypical travel destination, so we’re glad the article has inspired you to think of it! It’s a different kind of trip- one that really challenges a person and pushes them to get to know themselves!

  10. My brother suggested I may like this web site. He was entirely right. This post actually made my day. You cann’t consider simply how a lot time I had spent for this information! Thanks!

    1. First of all, welcome to this blog and sorry for the delay! We’ve been very busy on the road and working on some awesome content that we will release very soon! Stay tuned and don’t hesitate to send us an e-mail or a message on Facebook to chat more and help you with future travel plans! Cheers

  11. This looks like a fantastic adventure and has totally got me thinking about proposing the trip to my husband. Thank you for the wonderful share and ideas!

  12. The peaceful and silent moments of the Sahara are priceless – This is a great feeling to have. I hope to visit one day.

  13. Read about Sahara Dessert in many books, but never had such great insight of it. Amazing pictures and the way you’ve described is superb. Good work!

  14. Pictures are amazing and it does sound so peaceful. I feel like I could get lost out there, in the best way. Hope to make a trip like this one day.

    1. It is a whole different world out there! Once we lose connection with the outside world, we start to enjoy the little things, a sunset,desert music, etc… We stick to the essential!

  15. That looks like an amazing experience. WOW! How did you feel in the heat? Were you ever afraid? How about showering and hygeine? lol But seriously, I am thinking of experiencing this and would love to know.

    1. It truly is amazing- but it takes abandoning your comforts to do it! The heat is very intense, but the food an water was brought with us in the jeeps. Baby wipes are a must, as there is no access to showers. Nobody showers, so nobody notices the smell xD The guides made us feel like we were in good hands. That being said, it was very challenging, mentally and physically. Feel free to send any questions our way if you’re thinking of taking this trip!

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