Health and Safety Travel Tips for Western Sahara

jeep in western sahara moroccoSouth of the Anti Atlas Mountains is the disputed area of Western Sahara. Occupied by the Spanish until 1974, this mostly barren chunk of land has been claimed by both the Moroccan government and the Algerian-backed Polisario Front. Although the conflict technically ended with a UN-sponsored cease fire in 1991, the legal fate of Western Sahara has yet to be decided. Administratively it’s a de-facto part of Morocco.

Choose Transport Carefully

The road to Laayoune is paved and relatively good. You can travel by local bus, grand taxi (Mercedes) or private transport. CTM buses are air-conditioned and tend to leave on schedule. South of Laayoune, transport options are slimmer. You should be able to share rides with other tourists to Dakhla during kitesurfing season, or you can fly to Dakhla via Royal Air Maroc.

Going forth from Dakhla to the Mauritanian border public transport options are limited. It’s best to arrange a grand taxi or take your own vehicle. Armed robberies are not unheard of, and you don’t want to have an unreliable vehicle break down in the middle of the desert. Female travelers should avoid traveling alone with a male driver. Make sure you have your Mauritanian visa ahead of time as border authorities can be fickle and you may be forced to backtrack to Rabat. (more…)