While there is a large coastline, much of it is rocky and not fit for beaches or travel. Large-scale fishing and ports are at Ad Dakhla. Much of the territory is arid desert. The area near the sand wall created by the Moroccan military (also known as "the berm") is surrounded by land mines and should be avoided. Administratively, the territory was divided by Spain into two regions: the northern strip, known as Saguia el-Hamra, and the southern two-thirds, named Río de Oro.
Western Sahara is a disputed territory on the northwest coast of Africa bordered by Morocco, Mauritania, and Algeria. After Spain withdrew from its former colony of Spanish Sahara in 1976, Morocco annexed the northern two-thirds of Western Sahara and claimed the rest of the territory in 1979, following Mauritania's withdrawal. A guerrilla war with the Polisario Front contesting Morocco's sovereignty ended in a 1991 cease-fire and the establishment of a UN peacekeeping operation. As part of this effort, the UN sought to offer a choice to the peoples of the Western Sahara between independence (favored by the Polisario Front) or integration into Morocco. A proposed referendum never took place due to lack of agreement on voter eligibility. The 2,700 km- (1,700 mi-) long defensive sand berm, built by the Moroccans from 1980 to 1987 and running the length of the territory, continues to separate the opposing forces with Morocco controlling the roughly 80 percent of the territory west of the berm. Local demonstrations criticizing the Moroccan authorities occur regularly, and there are periodic ethnic tensions between the native Sahrawi population and Moroccan immigrants. Morocco maintains a heavy security presence in the territory.
Western Sahara doesn’t enjoy the developed tourism infrastructure of some of its neighbors. It can, however, offer unforgettable experiences to adventurers who are drawn to the territory’s life and culture and who are tenacious enough to withstand desert winds and stinging sands.
Western Sahara Holidays - Tours & Travels Guide
"Few people know that the country "Western Sahara" exists. It is a vast stretch of desert, ownership of which is disputed by Morocco and Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic. With miles of nothing except the ocean peeping through at times, it is a true wilderness. Adventure tourists who visit Western Sahara do so on mostly organized expedition tours."
Western Sahara Holiday Highlights
Driving - With beautiful views painted across the landscapes and numerous unexplored mines, driving in the desert can be a unique experience. Space, tranquility, adventure. If you feel really motivated, how about the Paris - Dakar Rally?
Caravan Rides - Camel rides across the deserts can be an enthralling experience. Visitors flock around in plenty around the oases fringed with palm trees and some volcanic sites. While you ride through, you may come across the nomadic people and get a peek at their way of life. The desert is alive with animals and desert plants. The journey often provides visitors with a surreal exposition to scenic beauty that only the mind can imagine.
Sand Skiing - With large sand dunes and regular tourist activities, sand skiing is an upcoming adventure sport on schedule for holiday tourists to the Western Sahara. With high sand dunes around, it is easy to select a number of good slopes and acquire enormous speed while you ski down.
Sahara Atlantic Coast - The Atlantic coast of this part of the continent is very rocky and has a number of beautiful lagoons. Though it is risky to swim and snorkel around these beaches, the sea is rich with fishes. In fact, with a large number of fishing ports around Ad Dakhla, sports fishing could be an interesting break from the desert life. The coast line has ruins of a few shipwrecks to which most tourists frequent.
Deep Sea Fishing - The ports of Dakhla are well equipped with boats and gear that visitors might need for deep sea fishing. With a variety of colorful fishes including chad, borintos, mullet, sea perch, marlin, tuna and swordfish comprise the kitty of the deep sea fisherman.
Saharan Expedition - You could ride in to the desert and camp for several days. Both single day and week long expeditions are available. Oases lined with palm trees set against the sky red with sunset are a beautiful sight. Visitors take camel rides, drive through and even walk on foot to witness and visit places that most people do not even know of!
When To Go
The deserts are generally very hot and dry and rains are rare. At times currents offshore cause heavy dew and foggy weather. The southern parts of the deserts in the proper Saharan region are extremely cold during nights. The temperatures can be freezing during the months of December and January. The winters are extremely cold and dry and the sun shines for just five hours. So, tours to this part of the world depend mainly on the tourists’ preferences. August is the festive season and the coasts are absolutely brimming with tourists.