It was once common practice to herd camels hundreds of kilometers through the desert. Now, with only a handful of herders left, the ancient art of desert navigation will soon be lost.
From the south of Morocco, the great Sahara Desert extends more than a thousand kilometers into Mauritania. Hot and dry, the desert is hostile to life. Yet for centuries, camel herders have successfully traveled back and forth across this landscape, between their herd’s winter and summer camps.
Today, only some thousand families remain dedicated to this traditional way of life. They breed dromedaries: domesticated, one-humped camels. Among these guardians of the old ways are the shepherds Moulay and Hadrami, both of the Oulad Ben Sbaa tribe. Their families live in the city, having abandoned the nomadic life. But Moulay and Hadrami are passionate shepherds, closely bonded to their 200 camels. In this rich documentary, the men take us along as they go about their work: arming themselves against sandstorms, preparing their herd for nightly migrations, and searching the desert’s endless expanse for lost newborn animals and their mothers. An invaluable glimpse into the hardscrabble existence of these shepherds, the film shows a way of a life that will soon cease to exist.
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