Trekking in the desert – a short guide
Trekking in the desert is not as easy as one may think. It requires basic knowledge and in the next few paragraphs, I will try and give you these basics:
In the desert, the temperature can range vastly. During winter months (November-April), there can be 15 degrees Celsius difference between night and day. For example – in December, it can be 15-20 degrees during daytime and 0-5 during night. You should bring hot clothes for night and for daytime you will need a good hat and appropriate clothes for warm weather. A good sleeping bag is required as well as a good tent since it can get windy.
Water in the desert
As a rule – there are no suitable water for drinking in the desert. If you plan on finding water for drinking – you are most probably mistaken. Always plan on taking 3 liters a day in winter and 5 liters a day of water during warm days. Some exceptions and rules are:
a. Spring – most springs in the desert have foul water. Do not try to drink them.
b. Cisterns – after strong rains and floods, there are lots of small pure water ponds that you can drink from. They don’t look so good but you can use them for drinking as a last resort. Use a T-shirt or other cotton made clothes to first clean the water from dirt and insects. The way to do this is by closing the opening of the bottle with the shirt or cotton and pouring the water from the cistern into the bottle through that hole. Now you have water that need to be boiled or purified with other techniques such as coal pump.
c. Secreting water – every trek has contacts for hiding water. People that get paid to hide water for you, can enter the desert and hide large amounts of water.
d. Dew gathering – there are high quantities of water in dew of the morning in the desert. You can collect them and use them for drinking. You will not collect much but it can help to know: Dig a hole – the wider you dig, the more water you collect. The depth of the hole doesn’t matter. Use a plastic bag to put above the hole and make a small hole in the middle of it and an equipment to collect water beneath that hole.
People in the desert
You can encounter locals in the desert. Mostly are Bedouin tribes. They are nomads that live in the desert and herd camels and sheep. They almost never speak in English but are warming and gentle.
Animals in the desert
The most abundant animals in the desert are insects and reptiles. This is the main reason that you should always travel with hiking boots and never sandals. Never leave your shoes open during night and always check for insects and scorpions in your shoes when you wake up in the morning. You can hear coyotes but you will never meet them. Camels can look very friendly but can bite and get mad if you get close.