The Day The Earth Stood Still: Total Solar Eclipse in Morocco’s Sahara Desert

Editor’s Note: From Genevieve’s Travel Field Dairy. Our founder and Chief Adventurista was leading our March 2015 Majestic Morocco tour and they were lucky to see the Total Solar Eclipse in the Sahara Desert. Below are her notes from that day and stunning photographs.

On our March Majestic Morocco Tour we were lucky to be in Morocco’s Sahara desert for the Total Eclipse. We timed our visit to the Erg Chebbi dunes to be deep in the Sahara for the total solar eclipse. Usually, as the sun crests the horizon, the light very quickly becomes harsh and the sand too bright to take good photos. The shadows are long and the colors are too intense.

We were up well before dawn to climb high up on a dune towering over the vast landscape of the rolling sand sea. By 8:30am the eclipse was well underway, shadows softening, harsh tones lightening. As the totality approached the shadows completely disappeared. The heat from the intense desert sun subsided until no warmth could be felt. The light became what photographers term “white light,” similar to being in a sandstorm. It was like being inside a giant softbox. During the eclipse, everything was absolutely still and silent. Life held its breath in unison. There wasn’t any noise and not even the smallest breeze. It was complete stillness. (Cue creepy Twillight Zone music)

As the eclipse, began to separate at about 9:15am the heat and light from the sun slowly returned. By 9:30am the harsh light and deep shadows had returned and the desert was once again a hot windy place.For a brief hour long window during an the eclipse it was like very existence on Earth stood still.

Along with the Venus Transit of the Sun, this eclipse is one of the most surreal, magical, unique and breathtaking natural phenomenon I’ve experienced. Seeing it in the Moroccan Sahara desert made it even more magical.

~ Genevieve


Explore Morocco: We offer small-group, boutique adventure tours to Morocco with a variety of start dates and destinations. Check out our upcoming Majestic Morocco tour and join us in exploring the Sahara, along with other stunning destinations in Morocco. Learn more here.

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