Venturing the Sahara: Meeting a Desert Nomad

We spent three whole days in the desert, and one of the experiences that made it truly amazing was the evening we spent with a desert nomad. Besides being a great budget destination, we decided to visit Tunisia for one main reason: The Sahara Desert. We were always astonished by the images of beauty that popped to our heads whenever we thought of such environment, and that is only from what we have seen in movies, read online and maybe some travel vlogs on YouTube.

a desert nomad

This wasn’t planned at all. How could it be? We spent one of the nights in a small campsite in an area called Ksar Ghilane. It was set up really cool, with the camp built around a beautiful oasis which served as a swimming pool. It also had a large and simple dining area where all guests could spend time and interact with each other.

The campsite offered various activities, although the one the interested us the most was to rent quad bikes and take them for a spin in the desert. I mean, what’s a better scenario than testing how fast a vehicle can go in an unlimited space made up of huge and soft dunes. We just had to!

Spending the Evening with a Desert Nomad

As we went back to return the rentals, we were welcomed by a guy coolly sitting by the storage area, smoking a cigarette and just hanging around. All the quads were parked inside and it was clear enough that we were the last two he was waiting for to wrap up the day. We turned up a bit late. As we saw that, we immediately apologised! His response was nothing like we expected. He was like “What’s the rush brother, in the desert we have time!”.

We still thought that he was just being polite and helped him sort out the quadbikes as soon as possible. As we were ready, with a mix of Arab and English he pointed out to one of the largest dunes and replied, “Sunset soon, we go?”.  Now that’s what we call living!

We Bombarded Him with Questions

a desert nomad

As we were peacefully observing and appreciating nature, we couldn’t help it but ask questions. He could understand a fair amount of English, but when applying some Maltese, we were communicating perfectly. He couldn’t believe we didn’t speak any Arab!

Meet Firas , a Desert Nomad

The 52-year-old guy was born and raised in the middle of the desert. His only priorities in life are to spend time with his friends and family and making just enough money to be able to provide food and shelter to them. We continued the conversation curiously asking what life was like living full-time in the middle of the desert.

At the time, we kind of pitied him (behaving like an ordinary and spoilt human brought up in a “modern” era with all its commodities). We imagined how boring and repetitive life could be for him, the same thing every day because let’s face it – there’s not much to do out there.

That’s what we thought, at least! However, from his own perspective, life in the desert is the happiest kind of life. It may become repetitive but for him, it’s enjoyable and fun. It’s what a desert nomad lives for – he’s got time, people who he loves, a shelter to sleep under and food to eat! Day and night, it’s always a good time to relax, unwind and to live through what nature has to offer. Now that’s inspiring, don’t you think!


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