This is not a hotel tip as such, although there are rooms to be had, plus a restaurant, but this is the place for filling up your tank with de-taxed petrol or diesel before crossing into Mauritania. Roughly half the price of European diesel and petrol. Also the last chance of un-leaded before Nouakchott.
Please avoid the toilets in the restaurant. Even the rats keep away.....
On my second trip through here, knowing what was waiting for me in places like Boulanoir and Kiffa, in Mauritania, prompted us to splash out on this 4* hotel. Nothing really special, just hot water for showers and a small swimming pool on the roof.
Cost was 820 DH (around 75 euros) for a double room and half pension for 2. Reasonable considering the meals thrown in.
A pleasant surprise to find this campground in what is virtually, the "middle of nowhere".
Luc and Martine, a Belgian couple have been running this place for almost 10 years and provide a very warm welcome. A tent "khaima" costs 125 DH for 2 people and another 45 DH per person extra. A mattress is provided p.p. and blankets can be rented. In January very necessary, as puddles of water outside the tent had ice on them the following morning. Dinner and breakfast can be taken in a huge Berber tent. We had local "foie gras" at 25 DH and camel on dates at 125 Dh for dinner. Luc is a bloody good cook, suffice it to say!!!
On the road from Tarfaya to Laayoune, you'll find some high antennae a few kms after the sign for Dawra. Shortly after there is a sign on your right for the camping. The track is easily negociable and is 4.5 kms to the campsite. I did it with my Renault 5 !!! The antennae on the main road are some 40 kms from Laayoune.
Lovely welcome and lovely food.
Hotel Smara was the first place we checked out when we arrived in Laayoune. It is located in the middle of the Spanish town of Laayoune, in a ramshackle street, in a ramshackle building. It was only a visit of 2 minutes, because by then we decided already not to stay in this shed.
When we arrived we had to call for somebody to come for us: he was sleeping in one of the bedrooms. Clearly not woken up completely he showed us one of the bedrooms: very dark, very humid and very smelly. The beds looked like they could collapse every minute and the sheets on the beds looked like they were last washed when the Spanish were still ruling here.
The price for a double bedroom with shared facilities (I didn't have to guts to check these out) was only 75 dirham, about 6,50 euro's, but I am very happy that we decided to spend a few more euro's per night to end up in the much, much better Hotel Jodesa.
Hotel Jodesa is a very good option if you are looking for a hotel in Laayoune: it is very centrally located, the rooms are very good and the proces are not too high.
The hotel is located at the Boulevard de Mekka: the biggest and most important one in the city. From here, the Place Mechouar is only 600 metres away and the Place Dchira is even closer: about 250 metres. For the whole modern centre of Laayoune you don't need a taxi if you're staying here: restaurants, monuments and tourist offices are all very close.
Jodesa has its reception at the second floor, above a café with the same name. The personnel is very helpful and they speak a little bit of English as well: which is pretty rare in the area. The rooms are very spacious: in a double bedroom you have two big beds and a lot of space to put your bags. In the private bathroom you have hot water from the shower and a toilet with a nice view over the boulevard :)
For a double bedroom you pay 155 dirhams per night: about 14 euro's per night. This makes Jodesa to one of the cheapest optons here and definitely not one of the worst ones.
This is not to be confused with the 4* Sahara Rgency which is priced way out of most of our pockets, especially for people on this sort of trip. Here the vast majority of Western Sahara travellers, overlanders, backpackers and such meet up, or can leave messages for others. Very nice and friendly atmosphere. Rooms are clean and not over-noisy. Showers and w.c's are shared but the men's and women's are separated.
Between the Mauritanian border and Dakhla is only one hotel, as far we now. After passing the border around 6 pm and the formalities at the Moroccan police station and the douana office with one hour delay, because we didn´t have all the right papers, we drove for one hour in the dark. The only living creature we saw en route, were crossing mice. No cars, no people.
And then all of the sudden light in the darkness, a fuel station, a bar, a restaurant and .. a hotel. For 15 euro we hired a room at a wide gallery. At the gallery was running water and even hot showers. For 4 euro we had a nice dinner, chicken and pommes frites , sofdrink included.
It was a nice looking building in pastel colours with a huge terrace, covered with an immense parasol. At the terrace were sitting lots of people, drinking and eating. There was also a shop for buying biscuits and drinks.
The next day we liked to leave early. The guard was so kind to wake up the man of the fuel station and at 6.30 am we were on the road again.
There are many hotels in Laayoune and you'll find no problemn on getting a room either you want t cheap one, like i did, for 4 euros a room, in a nice hotel.
You will find many hotels in the capital of moroccan western sahara.
This was a very strange stay. We stoped over in the middle of the night so we just needed a bed. The next day we found out that what the guy said about hot water wasnt true, actually no water at all!
after a small discussion with the young guy in the hotel he said, "Its Morocco", i said, well my friend this didnt happen to me very often in morocco, its not normal here, if Mauritania ok, i would not be surprised, but here come one...! he answered me quikly: Im from Mauritania, i said "its solved...now i kwon why this doesnt work, bye bye!"
no water at all, i hope it was just a small problem like the guy said.
its a cheap place though. i mean, i guess the water problem was just temporary and we had bad luck. but after driving for 2 days and 2500km non stop we really needed a shower.
If you're heading Mauritania you have to make sure the border is not about to close on the Moroccan/Western Sahara side.
If you come here you have to make sure you dont pass these times. the border in north morocco never closes but this one here has this special schedule. if you get here after these times you'll have to sleep in the 5 start hotel which will be or a tent (your tenet if you have one) or inside your car.
the border from the other side never closes also, in mauritania the border doesnt close.
when i was coming from mauritania to morocco (western sahara) for the first time i had to sleep on the mauritnian side cos the border here was closed. and it didnt make any sense of leaving the police protection area durgin night time in a very dangerous are where we could be killed.
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