The booking with Camp Moda comes with camel rides. In fact, that is the only way to reach the camp, which is deep within the sand dunes of Erg Chebbi. There, you sleep in a tent, with heavy blankets provided to ward off the night-time cold.
The camel rides were fun. The sunsets and sunrises in the desert were glorious. Climbing the dunes again after dinner to see the concert of stars, that's a rare, awesome experience since most of us live in towns and cities with too much light pollution.
How it works is like this, and you should communicate with Mohammed, the owner, before arrival to get the details right: You cannot get to Moda Camp by yourself since it is in the desert, so Mohammed will designate an alternative location as a sort of 'base camp'. In my case, he designated Auberge La Chance, located near Hassi Labied hamlet. I was told to get to La Chance before 3 pm. There, I was given a room where I could store my main luggage. Packing only my camera and warm clothes in a backpack, I joined the camel caravan which left La Chance at 3pm for the hour-long trek to Moda Camp. It was really fun.
I reached Moda Camp in time to enjoy the sunset. This was followed by dinner served in their dining tent, and a campfire around which one could chat and sing. When it was dark enough, I climbed the dunes again for some solitude with the Milky Way and other galaxies. Superb!
Woke up early to catch the sunrise over the dunes. After breakfast at the camp, I took the camel caravan back to La Chance to use their toilet and showers.
This is the daily routine: camel to La Chance (or whichever base camp Mohammed designates) after breakfast; camel to Moda in the afternoon.
Between breakfast and the afternoon return to Moda, you are free to book your own excursions. These are separate from Moda.
Mohammed and his two assistants were great hosts. You can see that despite logistical difficulties -- how did they manage to transport a portaloo into the desert? How do they maintain it? -- they work hard to give their guests the most comfortable, yet authentic experience they can. And since I enjoyed my stay thoroughly, they have clearly succeeded.
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