Western Sahara Tourist Places to Visit in Western Sahara, North Africa, Africa

Western Sahara Tourist Places to Visit in Western Sahara, North Africa, Africa

Western Sahara is a controversial territory situated in North Africa at 25° N 13° W. The bordering country Morocco (to the north) claims Western Sahara as its part but this is not internationally recognized. Western Sahara’s eastern and southern borders are shared with Mauritania, the northeastern border with Algeria and the western border is located on the Atlantic Ocean. Western Sahara is the world’s one of the most sparsely populated territories with a population of 548,000 people (as of the 2011 estimation) in the area of 266,000 square kilometers. El Aaiún is the capital and largest city of Western Sahara

Although being a disputed region, blessed by desert and long stretching coastline, Western Sahara is popular among visitors for many of its outdoor activities, mainly for sand skiing, caravan rides, deep sea fishing and Saharan expedition.


History of Western Sahara:

The history of Western Sahara begins with when it was conquered by the Spanish in the late 19th century. Spain withdrew its control over Western Sahara in 1974–75 and since then Western Sahara is on the list of the United Nations non-self-governing territories. Though, Morocco and the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic have partial power over Western Sahara.


Getting Western Sahara:

As it remain under Morocco and SADR’s control, visitors need to visit Western Sahara have to follow the visa requirements of the respective countries. Hassan I Airport is one of the three functioning airports of Western Sahara and other two being Dakhla Airport and Smara Airport. The Hassan I Airport operates flights from Agadir, Casablanca and Las Palmas and is located around 3 km from the heart of the capital city El-Aaiún.

The northern Western Sahara can be reached by bus from Casablanca and Marrakech in Morocco. Rental vehicles like cars and bikes are the options to get around Western Saharan cities.


Culture, Food and Shopping in Western Sahara:

Berber and Hassaniya Arabic are the commonly spoken languages by Western Sahara people, of whom the greater percentage people are Muslims.

Moroccan dirham is the currency used in many major cities in Western Sahara. Handicraft products and traditional clothes are purchasable items in Western Saharan cities. The cuisine of Western Sahara highly displays Arab cuisine features.


What to do in Western Sahara?

  • Sand Skiing
  • Caravan Rides
  • Saharan Expedition
  • Deep Sea Fishing


Must see in Western Sahara:


El Aaiún (Laayoune):

Western Sahara’s capital and largest city, El Aaiún or Laayoune is a Spanish built city, located near the coastline, well known for its desert beach and Cathedral of Saint Francis of Assisi. It is also a perfect place to begin Western Sahara’s tour.



Tarfaya is a historical town in Morocco controlled Western Sahara, mainly noted for its ruined Zawiy Maalainin fortress. It is situated around 220 km from the capital, El Aaiún.


Guelta Zemmour:

Guelta Zemmour is an oasis town, famous among visitors as a perfect place to catch a striking desert sunset. There are also minefields in the vicinity of the town.



Dakhla is a city with strong history behind, founded by the Spanish in 1884. Lying on the coastline, Dakhla offers excellent surfing opportunities and also equally popular for its manmade attractions like Catholic churches, a military fortress and an old Spanish lighthouse out of the town.


Moroccan Berm:

The Moroccan Berm was built by Morocco to distinguish Morocco from Polisario territories in Western Sahara. This stunning sand wall is advised to see from long distance as there are military bases established.


Other places of interest in Western Sahara include:

  • Centre Artisanal
  • Laayoune Off Road
  • Windfish Pro-Center
  • Massage du Monde
  • Dchira
  • Laayoune-Plage


When to visit Western Sahara?

Western Sahara relatively experiences warm to hot weather year round. Tour to Western Sahara mainly depends on visitors’ preference, one of the suggestable months is August, when festive season on peak and beaches as well.


Where to stay in Western Sahara?

Western Sahara houses many modernized hotels, of which most are shared between the cities of Ad Dakhla and Laayoune (El Aaiún). Price for hotel rooms depends on season and amenities offered by hotels. Some recommended hotels in Western Sahara (Ad Dakhla) are listed below:

  • Hotel Calipau Sahara
  • Hotel Erraha
  • Hotel Buenavista
  • Hotel Oued Eddahab
  • Hotel al Wahda
  • Hotel Sahara Regency
  • Hotel Doumes
  • Bab al Bahar Hotel et Spa
  • Auberge des Nomades du Sahara
  • Palais Touareg
  • Dakhla Spirit Lagoon Camp
  • Lagon Bleu Dakhla
  • Rio Aguila Aventure
  • Ocean Vagabond
  • Dakhla Evasion

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