From the big empty square, cross the busy road, and in front of you, you'll find the old Spanish Cathedral. I have to say I quite like this style of Spanish desert architecture, all straight lines and curves and domes, and it reminded me of the cathedral in Laayoune. Sadly, this doesn't seem to be in use any more and is locked. Over the road is a...more
Further north, you'll soon come to a new square. Moroccan city planners seem to like these big empty squares, and Dakhla's is exactly that...empty. Nobody bothers going there, preferring the busier, livelier and more fun small square by the budget hotels and souqs. A tent stands in one corner for shade, bizarrely with no bench underneath it to sit...more
Quite tricky to find, what looks like the oldest part of Dakhla is worth seeking out, as it has a very different atmosphere to the rest of the town. Somewhere between the Ensemble Artisanal (a few workshops and jewellery stores, but often closed) and the old souq, look out for one of the narrow backstreets, mostly with sand underfoot instead of...more
A much simpler whitewashed mosque, possibly built by the Spanish, stands at the heart of Dakhla. I think I preferred this one to the new one, as it suits Dakhla more, perhaps more in keeping with the style of other buildings in the centre...low-rise, white, not too complicated. This mosque is the start of the nightly parade of people, who wander...more
A brand new mosque has been built south of the town centre, almost as if the government is trying to move away from the narrower older streets and create a new centre for Dakhla, with the mosque as its focal point. It's an impressive building, with a colourful minaret. Beside it is a park, especially popular with women and children in the evening,...more
Dakhla is a fishing port, so you'd expect it to be big on seafood. The man from Meknes thought so too. Qasim, his name was. He'd travelled down on the bus with me from Laayoune. Having spent 40 years in Belgium, he'd decided it was time to see his home country from top to bottom. So he'd got to Dakhla on a Sunday evening shortly before sunset, and I met him by chance coming out of a bus company office, having booked himself on the first available bus out in the morning. I guess Dakhla wasn't for him.
Anyway, after complaining about the lack of things to do in Dakhla, he invited me to eat with him that evening. He wanted to eat something local, and suggested either camel or fish. we poked around a few restaurants asking if they served camel, but to no avail, so we ended up in one of the snack bars down the road from my hotel, one which specialized in fried fish and seafood. The waiter told us he'd bring the best stuff available, and we got a big plate of battered calamari with some lukewarm chips (Morocco seems to excel itself in lukewarm chips). It was filling, it tasted fine, it plugged a hole. That was about all I can say. Calamari set us back 30 dinars each.
Fine dining is available in Dakhla for those with money to burn. I tend not to eat that much on holiday anyway, and live off snack food when I feel hungry, but had i wanted a splurge, I could have done so at a couple of seafront restaurants by the Bab al Bahar Hotel, or at one of two Spanish restaurants a bit further north. I'm always dubious of going into empty restaurants, and these never seemed to have any customers...maybe it was just out of season. But the fish stalls and snack bars were always doing a roaring trade, which in my book is a good sign.
There is no public transportation from Dakhla to Mauretania, the Hotel Sahara near the Souk offers a shared taxi to Nouadhibou for 300 Dirham and to Nouakchott for 600 (7 am, 10 hours drive and 2 hour waiting at the border).Supratours (close to hotel Sahara, 150 Dirham) would have a bus at midnight to the Moroccan border (returning maybe after 6...more
Dakhla does not have a bus station, which means you have to ask around for offices of the various bus companies around town. Supratours, SATAS and SAT all have offices close to the new mosque, but CTM has an office out of town where the bus will drop you off, and an office in the town centre by the budget hotels where you can pick up the bus....more