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Published: March 18th 2014
How's that for a campsite!
Week 3 continued
It was difficult to know what to expect but we felt quite excited about the prospect of camping three nights in the desert. We approached the dunes on a very uneven track and pulled into a large level area which happened to be next to a camel station and even more surprisingly a very smart looking Auberge. Our tour leader had omitted to tell us about this hotel which had toilets, showers, a restaurant, live music and even a swimming pool which we were allowed to use! The sun shone on us and we were all delighted to be in such a special place with stunning views of the ever changing sand dunes – our favourite location so far. The second day we were there a group of us decided to picnic in the dunes then later in the day six intrepid explorers set off on camels for an overnight camp in a Berber tent. It had become quite cloudy in the afternoon but we set off on a one and a half hour camel ride to reach the oasis where we were to have a meal and spend the night. After about an hour
the camel jokes and banter had run out and I think we were all looking forward to getting out of the saddle, especially as it started raining for the last 15 minutes of our journey. We arrived wet and saddle sore in a small oasis where there were collections of tents in small groups. The rain had started to gain momentum and we were shown to our dining tent while our bedrooms were prepared. Our Berber host served us a traditional meal of soup, chicken and vegetables and fresh fruit then disappeared very rapidly. I think they knew what was coming next! We stayed in the dining tent until about 9.30 where we were joined by a couple of toads as well as two cats which we tried to keep out of the tent in vain! When Chris and I returned to our sleeping area the bed we had made up earlier was wet through and rain was dripping through the roof of the tent at regular intervals. Needless to say there wasn't a Berber in sight! Anyway we managed to move to find a drier spot to put the foam mattress which we turned over and used the spare
Admiring the view
bedding they had knowingly left for us. Not the best night's sleep I've ever had!
We left at 5.30 the following morning to see the sunrise and return to the hotel for breakfast. It had stopped raining so things were looking up! About half way back our guide stopped the camel train so that we could dismount to take some photos of the sunrise. So far so good! When it was time to resume our journey we each got back onto our camels in turn but unfortunately he allowed Barbara's camel to stand up before she had a chance to get a firm grip on the handle attached to the saddle and she was thrown onto the ground behind the camel. It was a very heavy fall and we suspected straight away that she had possibly broken a bone in her ankle. Barbara remained remarkably calm throughout and knew exactly what to do to immobilise her foot. Malcolm was also able to put his first aid training to good use and we managed to get the guide to call for assistance even though he really wanted her to get back on the camel! The hotel manager eventually
Picnic in the dunes
arrived in a 4x4 to take her back to base and she was then taken to hospital by our tour leader. Unfortunately it has meant the end of the trip for Barbara and John. She returned with her leg in plaster that evening but has got to have her ankle pinned as it was broken in two places!
A very memorable trip for all the wrong reasons. We all wish you well Barbara and hope to hear news of your recovery soon.
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