Discovering Dakhla Morocco: A Guide to This Hidden Gem

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Dakhla, an oasis of charm and culture, is a hidden gem in the southwestern corner of Morocco. Lying on the western coast of Africa, it is an untapped paradise that offers breathtaking views, fascinating activities, and unique experiences.

If you’re looking for some adventure and relaxation away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, then Dakhla is calling your name!

Embark on this journey with us as we explore what makes this city so special. Discover why Dakhla should be at the top of your travel list today!

Top things to do in Dakhla

Dakhla offers a unique blend of adventure and cultural exploration. Here are some top things to do in Dakhla:

Kite Surfing in Dakhla

An Experience of a Lifetime!

Ready for an adventure? Head to Dakhla, Morocco and experience kitesurfing on the Atlantic Coast. Perfect conditions make it an ideal spot for both professionals and beginners.

  • It’s located in the Western Sahara Desert – Enjoy incredible views of the vast desert landscape as you kitesurf across the Atlantic Waves.
  • A Unique Lagoon System – The lagoon system near Dakhla is almost 20 kilometers wide and 200 meters deep, making it a perfect spot for experienced and novice kite surfers.
  • Ideal Wind Conditions – Warm air currents blowing from the north-east provide optimal conditions for kitesurfing year-round.
  • Incredible Marine Life – Not only does this part of Morocco offer great opportunities to catch some waves, there is also a wide range of spectacular marine life to be seen in its crystal clear waters including sea turtles and pelagic fish species.
  • World Class Instructors and Gear Rental – Certified instructors are available to help both new and experienced kiters reach their goals plus gear rental places can provide all necessary equipment for your time on the water!

There are plenty of kite surf camps in Morocco, with kite surfing being one of the major tourist attractions in Southern Morocco. Most of the camps are fully inclusive so ensure you choose wisely when choosing your surf school.

Discover Herne Island (Dragon Island)

Dragon Island

A Geological Wonder Off the Coast of Dakhla

If you’re looking for something truly remarkable, come explore Herne Island—a geological curiosity located in the Atlantic Ocean just off the coast of Dakhla. Nicknamed “Dragon Island” due to its unique crocodile-shaped head, this island offers visitors an unforgettable experience only made possible during low tide. Here’s what makes Herne Island worth exploring:

  • Unprecedented views – Enjoy breathtaking views of the bay and Dragon Island from nearby places like the Dakhla Attitude Hotel.
  • Rare species – Keep an eye out for sea turtles, pelagic fish species, and other wildlife that inhabit this unspoiled land.
  • Beachcombing paradise – Collect shells while taking in views of both the land and sea.
  • Boat tours – Book a two-hour boat tour and discover what Herne Island has to offer.

Witness the Wonders of Nature in Dakhla

Immerse Yourself in the Beauty of Nature and Wildlife

Are you a nature lover searching for a unique and unforgettable experience? Look no further than Dakhla National Park in Western Sahara.

  • Explore over 50,000 hectares of protected land and discover a diverse range of flora and fauna
  • See over 120 different bird species, including flamingos, pelicans, and herons
  • Spot endangered monk seals on the coast, a rare and fascinating sight
  • Enjoy snorkeling or diving in the sea waters to see colorful fish, dolphins, and sea turtles
  • Take in stunning views of sandy deserts, rocky mountains, and wetlands

Whether you’re a birdwatching enthusiast, wildlife photographer, or simply looking for an escape into nature, Dakhla National Park is a must-visit destination.

Explore Dakhla City

From Beaches to Culture, Dakhla Has It All

White Dune Dakhla
  • Stroll along the white sandy beaches of Dakhla, surrounded by crystal clear waters and stunning rock formations
  • Explore the lively fishing village of Aousserd, known for its fresh seafood and traditional markets
  • Visit the colorful and vibrant Kite Surfing Lagoon, a popular destination for adventure sports enthusiasts
  • Immerse yourself in the unique culture of the region at the Museum of the Sahrawi People’s Liberation Army and the Polisario Front Headquarters
  • Experience the breathtaking views from the top of the majestic Dragon Island, a must-visit destination for any nature lover

Explore the Magic of the Sahara Desert on a Day Trip from Dakhla

A Camel Ride, 4×4 Excursion, and Traditional Berber Experience Await You

Are you a nature lover searching for a unique and unforgettable experience? Look no further than Dakhla National Park in Western Sahara.

  • Travel into the heart of the Sahara Desert, one of the most unique and beautiful landscapes on earth
  • Ride a camel or explore the desert in a 4×4 vehicle, experiencing the vast expanse of the desert firsthand
  • Stay in a traditional Berber tent and experience the unique culture and hospitality of the nomadic tribes of the region
  • Watch the stunning desert sunset and marvel at the starry night sky
  • Enjoy a traditional Berber meal under the stars, with authentic local dishes and music

Visit Oyster Farms

Dakhla is famous for its oyster farms, which produce some of the highest-quality oysters in Morocco. The oysters are primarily exported to Europe, where they are prized for their fresh taste and quality.

Visiting the oyster farms is a popular activity for tourists in Dakhla. The farms are located in the lagoon, which provides the ideal environment for the oysters to grow and thrive. The farmers use traditional methods to grow and harvest the oysters, which are considered to be some of the best in the world.

Visitors to the farms can take a guided tour to see how the oysters are grown and harvested. They can also learn about the environmental protections in place to ensure the health and safety of the oysters and the surrounding ecosystem. The oysters are harvested by hand, which ensures that they are handled with care and provides an extra level of safety and quality control.

In addition to learning about the oyster farming process, visitors can also sample the oysters themselves. Many of the oyster farms have on-site restaurants or cafes, where visitors can enjoy a fresh plate of oysters, often paired with local wines or other seafood dishes.

Dakhla beach resorts

Dakhla is known for its beautiful beaches, which offer a range of activities for visitors. Here are some of the most popular beaches in and around Dakhla:

  1. Dakhla Beach: Located in the heart of the town, this long stretch of sandy beach is perfect for a relaxing day in the sun (but note, none of the beaches are good for sunbathing due to the strong winds!_. The beach is sheltered by the lagoon, so the waters are calm and ideal for swimming.
  2. White Dune Beach: This beach is named after the nearby sand dune, which is one of the largest in the region. The beach is popular with kite surfers, who come to take advantage of the strong winds and flat waters.
  3. Pointe du Dragon Beach: This beach is located on the western edge of the peninsula, and is a great spot for watching the sunset. It’s also a popular spot for surfing, with a left-hand break that is ideal for more experienced surfers.
  4. Foum El Bouir Beach: This secluded beach is located about 20 km south of Dakhla, and is known for its strong waves and clear waters. It’s a great spot for surfing, bodyboarding, or just relaxing in a quiet, natural setting.
  5. Lassarga Beach: Located about 60 km south of Dakhla, this long, wide beach is known for its unspoiled beauty and tranquility. It’s a great spot for surfing or just taking a leisurely walk along the shore.

Visit the Dakhla Souk

Visiting the Dakhla Souk is a great way to experience the local culture and do some shopping for souvenirs or traditional Moroccan goods. The souk, or market, is a bustling and colorful place, filled with stalls selling everything from spices and textiles to jewelry and handicrafts.

The Dakhla Souk is located in the heart of the town and is open every day, except for Friday mornings, when it is closed for prayers. The market is typically busiest in the morning, when locals and tourists alike come to browse and shop for goods.

Some of the most popular items for sale at the souk include traditional Moroccan textiles, such as carpets, blankets, and clothing, as well as spices, such as saffron, cumin, and paprika, which are widely used in Moroccan cuisine. Handicrafts, such as pottery, leather goods, and jewelry, are also popular souvenirs to take home.

Visitors to the souk should be prepared to haggle over prices, as this is a common practice in Moroccan markets. It’s a good idea to start with a low offer and work your way up from there, keeping in mind that the final price should be fair to both the buyer and the seller.

Best time to Visit Dakhla

The best time to visit Dakhla is during the cooler months of the year, from November to April. During this time, the weather is mild and comfortable, with average temperatures ranging from 18°C to 25°C, making it ideal for outdoor activities such as beachcombing, kitesurfing, windsurfing, and exploring the local sights.

The summer months, from May to September, can be quite hot and dry, with temperatures often exceeding 30°C, making outdoor activities uncomfortable during the hottest part of the day.

However, if you don’t mind the heat, this can still be a good time to visit, as there are fewer tourists, and you may be able to find better deals on accommodation and activities.

Dakhla Travel Information

Travel to and from Dakhla can be done by plane, car, or bus, depending on your starting location and preferences.

By plane: Dakhla has its own airport, Dakhla Airport (VIL), which is served by several airlines including Royal Air Maroc, Air Arabia Maroc, and Mauritania Airlines. These airlines offer regular flights to and from major cities in Morocco, as well as some international destinations.

By car: Dakhla can be reached by car from several cities in Morocco. The main route to Dakhla is the N1 highway, which runs from Tiznit in the north to the Mauritanian border in the south. The journey by car can take several days, depending on your starting location, and the road conditions can vary.

By bus: Several bus companies operate regular services to Dakhla from major Moroccan cities in Morocco, including Marrakech, Agadir, and Laayoune. The journey by bus can take up to 24 hours, depending on your starting location.

It’s worth noting that some areas in Western Sahara, including the road from Laayoune to Dakhla, are subject to occasional security incidents, so it’s important to check the latest travel advice from your country’s embassy or consulate before planning your journey.

Once in Dakhla, the town is easily navigable on foot, but you can also rent a car, motorbike, or bicycle to explore the surrounding area. There are also taxis and buses available for local transportation.

Dakhla History

Dakhla is a city with a rich history that dates back to prehistoric times. The region has been inhabited by the Berber people for thousands of years, and it has been a site of cultural exchange and trade for centuries.

In modern times, Dakhla’s history has been intertwined with that of Morocco, and its culture reflects a unique blend of influences from Berber, Arabic, and other traditions.

In recent years, there has been controversy surrounding the ownership of Dakhla, as it is located in the disputed territory of Western Sahara. Morocco claims sovereignty over the region, while the Polisario Front, a political group based in the area, seeks independence.

The conflict has created tensions in the region, but Dakhla remains a popular travel destination, and visitors can enjoy the region’s culture and natural beauty while remaining mindful of the political situation.

Dakhla’s cultural diversity is one of its most notable features. Berber is the dominant language in the region, but Arabic and French are also widely spoken. The city’s culture reflects this linguistic diversity, as well as the many traditions of the Berber people who have inhabited the area for generations.

Visitors to Dakhla can experience the region’s rich cultural heritage by visiting local markets, trying traditional Moroccan cuisine, and learning about the history of the region.

Dakhla has also played an important role in Moroccan history. The region was originally part of the Spanish Sahara, but it was annexed by Morocco in 1975. Since then, Dakhla has become an important site for trade and development, and it has also become a popular destination for tourists.

The city’s strategic location on the Atlantic coast has made it an important port for trade, and its natural resources have made it a hub for agriculture and fishing.

Dakhla is a unique town located in the Western Sahara region of Morocco, known for its strong cultural links with Spain and Mauritania, as well as its stunning natural landscape.

Founded by the Spanish in 1844, and it used to be called Villa Cisneros, Dakhla has retained much of its Spanish influence, particularly from the Canary Islands, which are located just off the coast of Africa.

In addition to its Spanish ties, Dakhla also has a strong connection with Mauritania, which is located about 400 km to the south. This is evident in the town’s architecture, cuisine, and cultural traditions.

But perhaps the most striking feature of Dakhla is its natural setting. The town is situated on a narrow peninsula that extends about 40 km from the main coast, forming a large, picturesque lagoon. The lagoon is surrounded by sand dunes, rocky hills, and a variety of flora and fauna, making it a popular destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.

The beaches of Dakhla are also a major draw for visitors. The town boasts some of the most beautiful and unspoiled beaches in Morocco, with crystal-clear waters, soft sand, and a variety of water sports activities available, including kitesurfing and windsurfing.

Overall, Dakhla is a special town (or medium sized city) that offers a unique blend of Spanish and Mauritanian culture, set in a breathtaking natural landscape that is sure to leave a lasting impression on visitors.

Territorial Dispute

The Western Sahara region, which includes Dakhla, has been the subject of a long-standing territorial dispute between Morocco and the Polisario Front, which represents the Sahrawi people. The dispute dates back to the 1970s when Spain, which had been the colonial power in the region, withdrew, and Morocco and Mauritania both claimed the territory.

After a brief war with the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, Mauritania withdrew its claim, and Morocco occupied much of the region. However, the Polisario Front continued to resist Moroccan control, and a cease-fire was brokered in the Western Sahara War by the United Nations in 1991. Since then, the region has been largely divided between Moroccan and Sahrawi-controlled areas, with ongoing diplomatic efforts to find a peaceful resolution to the dispute.

Despite the ongoing political tensions, Dakhla is considered a safe and peaceful place to visit. The town is located in the Moroccan-controlled part of the region, and the Moroccan authorities have made efforts to develop the tourism industry in the area, particularly around water sports like kite surfing. As a result, many tourists, including foreign visitors, come to Dakhla each year to enjoy the beautiful beaches and natural landscape.

However, it’s always important to exercise caution when traveling to any foreign country or region. It’s recommended that travelers keep up to date with the latest travel advice from their embassy or consulate, and be aware of local customs and cultural sensitivities.

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