The country of Morocco holds many different appeals for those who are adventurous, look for the exotic, or simply want the relaxation that a trip away from home can offer. With cities such as Fez, Marrakech, and Essaouira each having their own appeal, there is something to be said for seeing the smaller and more genuine parts of the country. One of these such places is Dakhla, Morocco.

While unassuming in nature as any other small town, Dakhla has quickly begun to take shape as its own larger town with over 30,000 native inhabitants and the gentle flowing of tourists who are beginning to visit this place. This place is often treated as though a pleasant place to get stranded in, but it is much more than that. This particular place has begun to find a style over the years and develop its own personality, and this makes it an ideal place to get away for a little while if taking a Morocco holiday. 

The streets have no set arrangement, making it a very leisure setting. The houses are white everywhere, it seems, and there is an incredibly reserved and casual approach to the ocean that lies before the city. With the scenery alone and the relaxed atmosphere, Dakhla seems ideal; you can see the Sahrawi woman all over the town that are colorful and welcoming, making it even more appealing. This is the western part of the Sahara, so the people are naturally congenial, and as a guest you can be sure that you are always treated well.  

There are a few attractions in and outside of the town, but they can easily take up a few days of your time spent there, including an old lighthouse that was constructed by the Spanish, hiking along the shores of the peninsula where Dakhla is located, as well as looking through the exciting and busy streets of the town itself.  

Almost always in sight if you visit Dahkla is the Spanish lighthouse, which is a bit of a trip outside of the town in a little cape that remains on the shores of the Atlantic. Ancient and grand, it is still standing proud and tall, a last remnant of the Spanish influence in Morocco. It is 240 steps high, so it is hard to miss. While it is quite a walk, and you will always find that you think it is shorter than it really is, this particular sight is not valuable solely for the architecture, as it is old and has not been restored. Instead, the sheer magnitude of the views that you are given of the scoping landscape will pay everything else off.  

From the highest point of the structure, the top of the lighthouse, you can see almost half of the expansive peninsula where Dakhla is located, and that obviously includes a beautiful view of the town. In that kind of perspective, Dakhla seems so tiny, as does the rest of the landscape. The winds here on the top of the lighthouse are at their highest and most powerful, so you need to make sure you hang on.  

The Atlantic Shores 

In the area around Dakhla, one of the single most exciting and dramatic surrounding areas is its proximity to the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. These shores are framed by cliffs that are only about 10 meters high, yet they still cast formidable shadows and atmosphere for the shores. You cannot swim here due to the cliffs and the incredibly strong waves, but that makes it a place of sheer natural power. While you can see a few different settlements, and perhaps even find a fisherman or two, most often the shores are fairly bare, and you simply watch as nature crashes in to show its supremacy.  

Inland Shores 

If, perhaps, you would like to see the natural businesses of the local people in Dakhla, the shores closest to Dakhla look as though they could be a wonderful public beach, but are not. This particular shore’s first 200 meters are reserved for the fishermen in the area, and you can watch as incredibly vivid and colorful boats coast out, then come back in the afternoon with their catch of fish. While the beach isn’t really catered to tourists, it is an amazing sight to see while in Dakhla.  
Dakhla may be unassuming and small, and a bit off the beaten track, but with its proximity to the sea and with its own natural beauty and relaxing atmosphere, it is a true gem in the south of Morocco. If you and your family enjoy a family Morocco tour, then Dakhla is about as far removed as can be gotten to.

by Sam Mitchell