Hello friends,On Sunday 7th March 2010 we returned from our recent 5 ½ day, 105 km long trek across part of the Sahara desert in South Morocco.
We were part of a 48 strong team of trekkers (20 men & 28 women) whose main aim was to raise valuable funds for Macmillan Cancer Support, together with 3 Discover Adventure leaders, a doctor, 20 local Berbers and 11 camels!!
We had 2 Berber guides who led us through the desert (one at the front of the group and one behind), and we trekked up to 22 km a day for around 6 hours daily. The terrain we covered varied from loose soft sand dunes through boulder strewn ground to a firm salt pan. We generally had several short breaks during the day (to regroup, toilet breaks, snack time) with a 2 hour lunch in shade at the hottest part of the day.
Our accommodation at the end of each day consisted of several 8-man tents, together with a communal mess tent in which we generally ate our evening 3 course meal. We made the choice to sleep outside under the stars as much as we could during the trek and we were lucky enough to do so 3 times during the trek. One of those nights, however, we were woken by a very loud clap of thunder followed by an instantaneous heavy downpour, and had to make a swift dash back to our tent with sleeping bags, bed rolls, etc. We soon found out that the tents weren’t waterproof and spent the rest of the night with drips of rain coming in, fortunately it was a mild night and we did manage to get some sleep.
It was still raining when we awoke in the morning, and although it soon stopped, this was the day we experienced the freakiest variety of weather – we trekked through more rain, thunder and lightning, hail, sun and ended up trekking through a sandstorm!! We reached camp much earlier that day due to not having a lunch stop, and as a result, the men in the group assisted the Berbers in getting all the tents erected – no mean task in a sandstorm!! The women in the group had an easier afternoon – we tidied the mess tent – a bit of a waste of time really because as fast as we cleared the sand, it just blew back in again!
The temperature varied from around 16deg c in the morning up to about 36deg c, we had some cloudy days with at least 1 full day of sun.
We carried our day rucksack in which we had our water supplies, sun lotion, waterproofs, snack bars, camera and anything else we may need whilst trekking and the camels carried our main holdall with our change of clothes, sleeping kit, washing gear etc.
The meals during the trek were excellently cooked and presented beautifully by the Berbers. For breakfast there was porridge, omelettes, pancakes, freshly baked bread with preserves, honey and cheese spreads. Lunch consisted of bean salads, sliced onions, cucumber, tinned tuna/mackerel, cheese, spam,, beetroot, olives, peppers and tomatoes, together with a banana, apple or orange. Our evening meals were much varied – the first couple of days we had goat, with potatoes and vegetables, this was followed by a more vegetarian diet served with pasta, spaghetti or cous cous. The first course was always soup, and our dessert was either tinned peach/pear, or fruit salad, with a piece of birthday cake (again made by the Berbers) on the days when any of the group had a birthday. All meals were accompanied by copious amounts of Moroccan mint tea. The food provided was so amply provided that there was always ‘second helpings’ if desired.
Overall we had an excellent trekking experience which was a challenge, however a number of the group suffered with a few blisters, and 2 people were quarantined with a separate tent and toilet for a couple of days as a precaution.
The total funds raised by the group as a whole, prior to the start of the trek was £100,000 with monies still to be added. Up to date Pete and I have raised, with the help of our supporters, over £6200 with donations still being given to us.
Should you wish to help us raise valuable funds for Macmillan Cancer Support you can donate on this page, so please dig deep and donate now, just click on the 'donate now' button.
Di and Pete