In 1996 I took refuge in the tents of the Toureg people of Timbouktoo,Mali. New Year 2009 was spent in a Berber tent in Northern Sahara.The white sand of Mali had ultimately turned orange in Morocco. A distance of nearly 1800km was covered by caravans in 48 days (10th century till 17th).They consisted of 15000 pack animals and people-replete with jugglers, prostitutes,story tellers, doctors and such. Here in Merzouga the goods were distributed around the Magreb thus enriching the local merchants.The current Alawit Dynasty( 1610-current) which now rules from Rabat is from this area. Remember that these caravans spread Islam to interior Africa resulting in a rich fabric of ethinicity from classical Arabs from Saudi to the Negroid from Mali and Niger. The desert is a place where man meets his maker. Where nature shows her dominance over everything man-made. It is a sobering, peaceful and an inviting place.
© Ramdas Iyer Photography