Western Sahara Things to Do

  • Place Oum Saad, Laayoune
    Place Oum Saad, Laayoune
    by maykal
  • Dunes, Laayoune
    Dunes, Laayoune
    by maykal
  • Near Dakhla
    Near Dakhla
    by lotharscheer

Western Sahara Things to Do

  • Tarfaya: the Beach

    Like all places in Tarfaya, its beach is a very special place as well. Just to the north of the town you'll find a large sandy area that is definitely worth a visit. The area around Tarfaya is known as a very rough place for ships: many of them stranded throughout the years, and many of these shipwrecks were never taken away. I saw some pictures of...

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  • Tarfaya: the Seaside

    Walking along the "boulevard" of Tarfaya is a real treat for your imagination. Just like the boulevards in touristic places there is a blue sky above you, a blue sea in front of you and a beach between the sea and the boulevard. But in Tarfaya it still is slightly different.The first difference: here in Tarfaya the boulevard is almost completely...

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  • Tarfaya: Downtown

    Tarfaya is a strange town. Strange for its surroundings, for its seaside, for its atmosphere, but also for simple things like the things you see in the town centre. In Tarfaya there are probably about 4 roads that are paved, right in the centre there still are some roads that are only sand, but the worst parts are the roads that used to be paved:...

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  • Tarfaya: Antoine de St-Exupéry

    In the first decades of the 20th century, France had a lot of colonies in especially West-Africa. Since good connections and good communication became more important by the day, the French decided to establish a mail-service by airmail in 1927. An important hub on this line was positioned in Tarfaya. The service was called the "Aéropostale" and the...

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  • Tarfaya

    Officially the small town of Tarfaya is not in Western Sahara, but in Morocco. Officially Western Sahara doesn't even exist actually, but Tarfaya is just north of the inofficial border. From historical point of view the town belongs to the Sahara however (it used to be a Spanish base), so I will count it in as well.Tarfaya is without a doubt one of...

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  • Dchira: Spanish Fort

    The mainattraction of Dchira is the Spanish Fort, or actually the ruins of the Spanish Fort. This was the base that was attacked by the Liberation Army of Sahrawi in 1958. The Spanish were beaten here by the Army that was a collection of different tribes who were fighting to end the colonialism in their country. 17 years later the Spanish were...

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  • Dchira: Scenery

    When you are on your way to Dchira, you will get a good view of what the real Sahara looks like. It is not all the big pile of sand that most people think of, and not only dunes of a few dozen metres high. In reality the Sahara can be a very rough landscape with mountains, valleys, rocks and dust. And yes: there is some sand as well.One stereotype...

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  • Dchira

    When you drive into the desert straight towards the east Laayoune you'll end up in the tiny goast-town Dchira. There is a small road leading there along a dry riverbed that is just good enough for a normal car. The scenery along the way is fantastic and the place where you're ending up is just as bizarre as breathtaking.Dchira is a famous town in...

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  • Laayoune-Plage: By night

    Western Sahara is a mainly islamic country, especially since the Spanish left. This results in a situation where tea is basically the strongest drink you can get when you go somewhere in the evening. Laayoune-Plage is slightly different from this: here there are more foreigners and quite some Spanish people who stayed here. The result:...

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  • Laayoune-Plage: The harbour

    Western Sahara is not a rich country, but still they have quite some export. Almost all of this export goes out from the harbour in Laayoune-Plage. Officially this harbour is closed for public, but if you go with a local, or if you ask kindly they might allow you to have a look. The biggest part of the harbour is occupied by the many fishing boats...

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  • Laayoune-Plage

    A few kilometres south of Foum El-Oued, you will find Laayoune-Plage. When you think of all the places in France that have the addition "plage" you might think of long boulevard, palmtrees, beaches, bars, resturants, shops and a lot of tourism. Well: that's in France: this is Western Sahara. Here "plage" means something different.Laayoune-Plage...

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  • Foum El-Oued: A bizarre seaside

    Who knows: maybe in a few years there will be more tourism in Western Sahara and there will be a luxurious resort close to Laayoune where tourists can enjoy the ocean, the beach and the sun. If that would ever happen, it would happen here in Foum El-Oued. For the moment however there is nothing more then a bizarre seaside here.Already on the road...

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  • Foum El-Oued

    The capital of Western Sahara, Laayoune, is located a few kilometres inland, right next to the point where two rivers meet. The biggest part of the year there is hardly any water in these rivers, or even no water at all, but still there is a place that is names after these dry riverbeds: Foum El-Oued, which means something like Mouth of the...

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  • Dakhla - Visit the hot sulphur springs.

    5 kms after the turn-off to Dakhla, just after a short pass through the hills, on your right hand side is a hot sulphur spring. This is free, but the person operating the pumps does expect tips. It is even written on the wall !!!!! Very good for all manner of soreness after a day spent driving.

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  • Laayoune: The Spanish town

    If you ask me, the most interesting part of Laayoune definitely is the old Spanish part of the city. This part is situated in the north of the city, at the banks of the river that indicates the northern border of Laayoune. To get there from the modern centre, all you have to do is walk to the north and go downhill: the Spanish town litterly is...

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  • Laayoune: Place Dchira

    Place Mechouar is the square with the nicest buildings around it, Place Oum Saad is the emptiest and biggest, but Place Dchira definitely is the most vivid square of all! The square is situated in the middle of the business centre of Laayoune and is also in the part where you'll find most the restaurants.Dchira Square basically is a very big...

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  • Laayoune: The Friday Mosque

    Right next to the Place Mechouar you'll find the new, central mosque of Laayoune. This mosque is the place where the people come to especially for the Friday Prayers. The mosque is built in a pretty basic, typically modern Moroccan style with green tiles on the roof, a square, high minaret at one side and for the rest a lot of concrete.Like all...

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  • Laayoune: Souq Djemal

    Directly south from Place Dchira you'll end up in the souq of Laayoune. This area is very typical for the whole region: a market that is very, very quiet at daytime with just some salesmen and some old people hanging around there staring at everybody who stops by. And as soon as it gets dark it transforms completely: people come from everywhere,...

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  • Laayoune: Place Oum Saad

    Between the important square Place Mechouar and Place Dchira you will find another huge open area: the Place Oum Saad. This square is something in between a huge sportsfield, a events-square and a crossing point for traffic.Place Oum Saad is completely surrounded by pretty useless columns. The columns are not meant to separate the square from the...

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  • Laayoune: Place Mechouar

    After the Moroccans took over the control of Western Sahara in 1979, they started expanding the city in a high tempo. Where the Spaniards only built the city in the lower parts of the area, close to the river, the Moroccans immediately started building on top of the hill.The Place Mechouar was one of the first projects: a big, central square that...

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  • Laayoune

    Laayoune is by far the biggest city in Western Sahara and is the capital of the country. The population at this moment as approximately 200.000, but the city is enormously fast growing. In the city there are three main-areas: the old Spanish centre, the modern Moroccan centre and the fast growing suburbs with big, square, high buildings.The Spanish...

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  • New "'Moroccan'' towns

    After the Spanish left Spanish Sahara, 350.000 Moroccan civilians walked into the Western Sahara, the so-called Green March of 1975, orchestrated by the Moroccan King Hassan II. I was at that time In Marrakesh. I didn´t know exactly what was going on, looking at the impressive procession of thousands of people of all kind like young, old,...

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  • Stop in Dakhla.

    Apart from Laayoune, Dakhla is the only town of note worth stopping in and then only to replenish stocks, fill the tank and perhaps sleep the night. Close by the Hotel Sahara on the market square it does get lively in the evening.

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  • Camel births

    You will see many camels in the Sahara desert. If you are lucky you will observe the birth of a baby camel, like the one in the picture.

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  • ''Castle'' at the north edge of Laayoune

    At the northbank of the Oued Saquira el-Hamra at the edge of the town just south of the town gate, we saw this building, looking like a castle. Like more of the castle-like buildings in the town and area, it was signposted as a military or police building, not a museum or castle to visit by the public anyway. WARCS wrote me about this building:...

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  • Laayoune, Oued Saquira el-Hamra

    We left Laayoune, looking like a new Moroccan town now. We didn't see the areas, housing Saharawi refugees. Us it told that these are off limits to foreigners. We left Laayoune at the northern side in the direction of Tarfaya and Tan Tan. Here we had to cross the Oued Saquira el-Hamra. In the oued we saw water. The oued was also lined with trees at...

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  • Laayoune, Place Dchira

    In Laayoune you can not find an obvious centre. From the Place du Mechouar, along the Boulevard de Mekka and around Place Dchira you will find several hotels, like hotel Mekka. Here are also restaurants, cafés, banks and several shops. At the Place Dchira we found an office to arrange our Moroccan insurance for the car. The banks at this square...

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  • Laayoune, Moulay Abdel Aziz Mosque

    East of the Place du Mechouar stands the Moulay Abdel Aziz Mosque of Laayoune. This mosque is built in the standard architecture for modern mosques of Morocco.The mosque forms also an important part of architecture around the Place Mechouar and along the Boulevard de Mekka.

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  • Laayoune, at the Place du Mechouar

    All the buildings around the Place du Mechouar and the four towers are made in the same kind of Moroccan architecture, which unity is intensified by the use of the same red-pink colour. During the day we didn't see much activity at the Place du Mechouar. And I can't imagine there will be often in the evening.

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  • Laayoune, Place du Mechouar

    Entering the town from the west, coming from the coast, the first orientationpoint you will see is the Place De Mechouar. Like in other Moroccan cities it is the big central square whithout any shade or protection against the hot sun at the square itself. Laayoune's place is built by the Moroccans as the town's showpiece, made up with four towers...

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  • Laayoune or Al-'Uyun

    Laayoune (or Al-'Uyun, Aaiún, Aiun) lies in the Wadi Hamra region, in the northern part of Western Sahara. The town was founded in 1930 by the Spanish, allthough there were also allready before 1930 settlements in this area. This first town grew up at the southern shores of the wadi Seguiat al Hamra, becoming important as the administrative centre...

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  • From Foum el-Oued to Laayoune

    Laayoune lies about 22 KM inland from the coast. At the coast lies Foum el-Oued. Here you have a beach, an esplanada and soem accommodations. Foum el Oued is a nice and relaxed place for swimming, but be careful because the waves of the ocean can be a bit dangerous. And there a big difference between season and off-season, when all is closed and...

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  • Entrance and exit Boujdour

    Crossing Boujdour from the southern roundabout, through the wide mainstreet, a dual carriageway lined with palmtrees, to the entrance-exit arch at the north side took only three minutes. At the mainstreet we saw a busstation and several shops.The towns in Western Sahara and South Morocco all have entrance-exit arches.

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  • Boujdour

    Boujdour, 186 KM south of Laayoune is the first town we crossed at our route from the south of Western Sahara to the north.Boujdour is a small town lying at the coast with a fishing harbour and a lighthouse. In Boujdour is no hotel, but there are several shops and you can find some cafés for having a meal.

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  • Desert and sky

    All you see along most of the 1000 km road from south to north Western Sahara is desert and sky. The changes in scenes are not big, it tends even to be boring. Sometimes is the desert is sandy, sometimes more rocky, sometimes flat and sometimes there are some mountains or sanddunes. That´s all.Despite the little changes, it is always special to...

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  • View at the ocean

    The Atlantic Transsahara Route in Western Sahara is often very close to the Atlantic coast. That doesn´t mean you can see it often, but everytime we got a glimpse at the ocean, it was great. The views at the ocean give some variety en route during our long drive in the desert. We didn´t visit Dakhla - it´s 40 KM from the route-, but we could see...

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  • The atlantic transsahara route, 1000 KM...

    Most people who visit Western Sahara, will come there to take the Atlantic Transsahara Route from Europe to Mauritania, Senegal and other West African countries. So we did, but we came from the south and travelled to the north.What is anyway a ´must see´, not because you maybe will like it, but because you can cannot avoid to see it for about 1000...

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  • Boujdour Coast

    The conqueror of the sea and its legends was Gil Eanes, equerry to Prince Henry the Navigator of Portugal (in whose honour Boujdour's ancient lighthouse is dedicated). In 1434, enticed by rumours of a legendary 'Golden River' that lay further south, Eanes became the first sailor to round Cap Bojador and return alive to tell the tale. The secret, he...

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  • desert landscape

    You should really go on the outskirts of the town. This is a so called wadi or ouad, a dry riverbed. Transport is done by camel or jeep.

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  • Place Mechouar

    Place Mechouar is somethinbg like the main square of Laayoune. It houses the government seat and a kind of monument.Due to the language barrier I was not able to find out the meaning of that monument(?).

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  • KM 40 way out of Dakhla

    This is the road sign after 40km from Dakhla. The road heds to Mauritania.On the sign you have written (from top):34 Al'argub 394 Alguira 389 Nouadhibou904 Nouakchott1430 Dakar

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  • Dakhla police fort

    This fort is located right on the city's centre near the ATM cash machine. Although is full of police outside and also although is a military city, no one even blinked when saw me taking the photo. I like that. Dakhla is very organized and reflects the fact of the army run over the city. Dakhla is the army strategic point fot controling all Western...

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  • Dakhla street scene

    This is one of the many street lamps found in Dakhla. Dakhla looks quite nice for what you're actually expecting for a Western Sahara city. But Morocco's governement makes everything looks very clean and clear. Great lesson from the Moroccan governement. For what I got Morocco doesn't want to give Western Sahara back to Saharawis, and keeping...

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  • Dakhla Artisanal Boats

    With a reputation that often is summed up in guide books' "if you should be stranded here"- approaches, Dakhla is a great surprise. The town, which has grown tremendously, and should now count more than 30,000 inhabitants, is finding its own style.White houses, unsystematic arrangement of streets, a reserved approach to the sea, and lots of...

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  • The Western Sahara includes...

    The Western Sahara includes Saguiet el-Hamra in the north and Wadi ed Dahab (Rio de Oro) in the south. Its area of 284 000 square Kilometers, is one tenth the size of Algeria, half the size of France and just a little smaller than Italy. It lies between the 20th and 30th parallel straddling the Tropic of Cancer. It is bordered to the north by...

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Western Sahara Things to Do

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