Back in May, I wrote about Camila Runo’s homestead region design, A Taste of Africa (see A voyage to Africa in Second Life). Since that time, Camila has redressed the region so whilst it remains rooted in Africa, its foundation lay further to the north and perhaps east than that iteration, as the new title – *NOUR* – Light of the Desert – indicates.
As with the previous iteration of the region, this is a richly evocative setting, incorporating multiple aspects of what might be called – for those of us in the west, at least – “traditional desert settings”.
There’s a domed palace on a rocky plateau, complete with a small garden house with with the most valuable commodity to be found within desert dunes: free-flowing eater. Then there is a Bedouin camp site sitting at the edge of an oasis (or a wadi, depending on your preference). In between these sits a waterside village, crowned by a luxurious bath house, although the dhows sitting on the river suggest this is more of a working village than a resort.
From the landing point, located in the south-west corner, it is possible to visit all of these locations in turn, the region being neatly laid out in such a way so as to suggest a walk through a desert, one surrounded by high dunes (although these are admittedly off-region, so the intervening water does spoil the effect a little), passing from one oasis of life to the next. A path running down from the landing point points to the route to be taken, with the first stop that of the high palace. sitting on its plateau, commanding a view across the rest of the region.
Topped by yellow-painted domes and reached via a stone stairway that sits just within the walls of the village and that leads the way past the lower-lying garden house, the palace has thick walls to help keep the heat out, a tall fountain splashing water within its main hall. Lavish curtains and drapes separate the side rooms from the hall, and latticed windows allow whatever breeze might pass to enter the building, while the upper level offers an ornate bath and chaise lounge on which to recline.
Down below, beyond the garden house with its fountains, water, grass and flowers, sits the village. Flat-topped houses and a souk built of mudstone surround an open market of tented stalls. It is bracketed by water to one side, where wharves for dhows sit, and a long ruler of a wall on the other, clearly designed to keep as much of the wind-blown sand out of the village as possible. Standing as a place of local commerce, the village is dominated, as noted earlier, by the squat bulk of a great bathhouse, within which sits a large square pool and plenty of opportunities to relax.
A single gateway sits within the long village wall, parallel lines of rounded stones marching out into the desert beyond. These wind around and between rippled dunes, showing the way to the oasis / wadi. Whether you follow them past the old desert fort or simply set out over the banked dunes to reach the greenery that lies beyond them is up to you, but once you’ve passed through the ring of palm trees you’ll find a spacious Bedouin camp set out around a body of water unusually – for a desert – fed by a rocky peak from which water tumbles in multiple falls.
Throughout all of this are many details that add depth to the region. There are a lot of places both within the grander buildings and in the large tents to sit, with more outside around camp fires or shaded by the likes of blankets draped over simple wooden frames. Dromedary camels add to the felling of the north African / Arbian setting, whilst a rich (if a little intrusive in places) sound scape brings life to the village with the noise of people going about their daily business filling the air. Adding their own conversation to the mix are the camels, given as they are to the occasional grunt and snort as they wander.
Following on from A Taste of Africa, Camila’s latest build continues in the same vein of offering an immersive, engaging setting, one particularly rip for avatar photography, although the region offers more than this for those willing to dress the part and / or explore it from end to end. All-in-all, an excellent build and engaging visit.
- *NOUR* Light of the Desert (Coral Cape, rated Moderate)