If you’re looking for an amazing Morocco getaway, look no further than Dakhla. This incredible town is located in Moroccan Western Sahara and offers a wealth of activities and attractions to enjoy.
From windsurfing to sandboarding to sighting dolphins, there’s something for everyone in the beautiful city of Dakhla. So if you’re planning a trip to Morocco, be sure to add Dakhla to your itinerary – you won’t regret it!
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- Before you visit: Here are 20 things you should know before you go
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About Dakhla, Morocco
Dakhla is located in the Southwestern part of Morocco, an area which is now recognized as the Moroccan Sahara. This part has, for several years, been a disputed region between the Moroccan State and a separatist group, the Polisario Front. However, recently the Sahara was finally recognized as Moroccan territory by many international states.
This might sound like Dakhla is a war territory and maybe you are hesitant to visit this area but trust me, Dakhla is a very safe place and even though there is a long-standing dispute in the region, there was never any sign of war or military disruption of civilians in this city.
In this post, I am not going to focus on the political history of Dakhla. I only hope to illustrate that this spectacular city is definitely worth a visit.
I also believe that tourism in Dakhla and the region as a whole will be significant for all the people who live there. There we go, are you ready to meet Dakhla?
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Is Dakhla a safe place to visit in Morocco?
This question is very popular when it comes to visiting Dakhla, especially among foreign tourists. That’s why I would like to talk about it a little bit more in this post.
My sister lived in Dakhla for almost a year. She never felt unsafe in any way and she actually encouraged us to give it a go.
Dakhla feels like any other city in Morocco where of course it’s advisable to avoid certain places and times (like late at night) when going out. Also, Morocco maintains a military presence in Dakhla to maintain a safe atmosphere in the city.
With regard to the desert regions currently controlled by the Polisario, we have no knowledge of whether it is safe or well suited for tourism but I guess not so it’s best to not try and find out.
When visiting Dakhla stay in the Moroccan-controlled territory, and if you are planning to wander in the Sahara desert, we advise hiring a local guide that knows the area and you will be safe.
>> Read more: 20 Things To Keep In Mind Before Visiting Morocco
Best Things To Do In Dakhla, Morocco
Dakhla is an internationally renowned destination for kitesurfing. In recent years, the city was able to classify itself as one of the most visited cities for water activities with more than 100 000 visitors every year. Even though Dakhla is now a tourist hub, the wild side of it is still clearly visible which makes it a more unique and attractive destination to visit.
Its beaches have world-class waves and a perfect climate with more than 330 windy days a year that attract surfers and water-sport lovers. Dakhla has some of the best year-round windy Kite spots that can keep up with the world’s best locations.
In the Dakhla lagoon, Known as “Pointe de Dragon” waves are impressive and the most famous surfers have come in droves to experience these spectacular thrilling, and exciting water activities.
This place is perfect for all levels, beginner, intermediate and professional. If you are a beginner or a stranger to kitesurfing, you can take courses given by certified and multilingual instructors found in the many windsurfing clubs in the area.
You might have heard there is nothing much to do in Dakhla except surfing. That’s absolutely wrong! Dakhla can be a complete change of scenery and a peculiar travel experience for inquisitive travelers. Here are my top things to do in the town when you’re not windsurfing.
>> Check Dakhla Kitesurf Safari
Visit Dakhla town Souk
Visit the small souk in the town to pick up some Moroccan souvenirs. Melhfas are one of these souvenirs to take back home with you. Melhfa is one big piece of fabric, exactly 4 meters that Sahraoui women wrap their bodies in as a dress.
Another souvenir to buy from the Souk is the Sahraoui loose tea to make your original Moroccan tea at home and also the Sahrawi leather shoes.
Go on adventurous desert tours
One of the best must-do things in Dakhla other than surfing is going on Desert excursions. Dakhla has a few unique places in the desert to see such as Imlili oasis, Porto Rico beach, White Dune, and Oyster Farm.
Imlil oasis for example is one of Dakhla’s best-kept secrets. Located in the center of the Sahara and you can only reach it using a 4×4. This place is wonderful for an evening break where you can enjoy swimming in the oasis shaded pools.
And to get there you have to go through the Sahara and that also means enjoying the magical and arid landscapes.
Porto Rico is also one of the places I recommend you visit. It’s a small fishing village that boasts secluded beaches. You can enjoy swimming and walking around and exploring the cliffs and rock formations in the beach.
And finally, you have to enjoy lunch at the restaurant on the Oyster farm. One of the best if not the only seafood places in Dakhla. Not far from the lagoon you will find the farm and don’t say no to fresh oysters.
Drink the Sahrawi tea
Even if you are not a tea fan, you have to experience the process of making tea in the Sahara. And since you are going to visit Dakhla, this is a must! Basically, making tea in the desert isn’t as quick as making it elsewhere.
It may take up to an hour waiting before taking our first sip and you will be surprised at the taste! Trust me you will want to do this.
Explore the desert in a 4×4
Hire a 4×4 with a driver and go discover the untouched desert and the cost of Dakhla’s surroundings. Go beyond the recommended and let the surreal nature impress you.
You wouldn’t think of Golf as a thing to do in Dakhla right? But yes, you can. Just 15 minutes away from Dakhla, you can find the ecological Rio de Oro golf club. 34 hectares of natural lawn to enjoy a long day of golfing.
The club is located in a beautiful, unique landscape between the desert and the sea. The golf course is adapted to all levels from beginners to professionals.
Take a Catamaran excursion to the Dragon Island
I think you are wondering why this island is known as Dragon Island. Were Dragons living in Dakhla? Pretty funny, I asked the same thing when I first heard about it.
This Island in the middle of a lagoon was called this way because of its shape which looks like a dragon. Take a close look at the picture! The dragon is lying peacefully on its stomach.
So, the catamaran excursion to the island is a must when you visit Dakhla. A great way to not only enjoy the landscapes from the island but also have a high chance to sport some cute dolphins on the way.
Where to eat in Dakhla Morocco
One of the best places to eat in Dakhla is TalhaMar. The restaurant is specialized in seafood and it’s located on the coast with lovely views. There are plenty of delicious seafood dishes you can try at a very good price. You will probably need to drive there or hire a taxi.
Best time to visit Dakhla Morocco
If you are planning on Kitesurfing in Dakhla, the best time for you to visit is in October. The wind is usually at its best during that time.
Also, the months from April to September, July, and August have the highest wind chance. So, if you can’t time up your visit to Dakhla in October make sure to try one of these months.
In general, Dakhla is an all-year-round destination, even if you don’t get a chance to kitesurf you can still enjoy the sandy beaches and other water activities.
What to pack for a visit to Dakhla Morocco
When packing for a visit to this beautiful Moroccan city, Dakhla, keep in mind the weather conditions and what time of the year are you visiting.
In the summer season, airy, light-colored cotton clothes are recommended. Make sure to pack long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and skits or dresses to protect your skin from the sun. Also, by doing that you respect the country’s modest dress code.
A long wetsuit can be helpful for evening swims as the weather gets cool sometimes. If you are visiting doing the cold months of the year, Dakhla won’t be as cold as other parts of Morocco but warm and comfortable clothing can help especially at night.
Where to stay in Dakhla, Morocco
Océan Vagabond Lassarga is located literally a one-minute walk from the beach. The hotel different types of cool accommodations from rooms, tents, and wooden cabins. With all options, you will get a private bathroom, a terrace, and most importantly a beach view.
Ocean Vagabond also offers play areas for kids and adults including table tennis and if you like adventures the surrounding area is great for hiking.
Free private parking is available and they also offer car hire for guests who want to explore the city which is about 11km from the city center.
Best For Surfing, swimming, families, 1-night stay.
Offering a barbecue and views of the sea, Dakhla Attitude hotel is a great place if you want to stay by the beach. The hotel has a spa center and a private beach area, and guests can enjoy surfing, swimming, and hiking around the hotel.
It’s a family-friendly hotel if you are bringing your kids along, they will enjoy it.
Best for swimming, surfing, hiking, families, 1-night stay.
I really like Kite House Dakhla hotel. It’s a lovely and warm place to stay if you want to have a beach view from your room. Some rooms even have a seating lounge or a patio.
A car rental service is available at the accommodation.
Located a 5-minute walk from the center of Dakhla, Dar Rio Oro offers a terrace with sea views and Moroccan lounges. Dar Rio Oro provides guest rooms featuring a balcony with a sea view.
The hotel also has a self-catering apartment with a balcony and sea view and a studio with a private patio. Both accommodations include kitchen facilities, a TV, and private bathrooms.
It is just 2 km from Dakhla International Airport. Upon request, an airport shuttle, as well as a car rental service, can be provided.
If you are not sure where to go in Dakhla, the hotel also organizes excursions and guided tours into the city and its surroundings
Dar Tawarta is by far the best place to unwind in Dakhla. The place is very quiet, full of greenery and homegrown food, away from the noise of the city center, a real oasis type of stay! Dar Tawarta is just across the street from the beach, just walk a few minutes and you will be swimming.
The highlight of the hotel is the rooms with very thoughtful decorations that connect with the heritage of Morocco.
How to get to Dakhla, Morocco
Dakhla is located 530 Kilometers north of Laayoune and about 400 Kilometers from the Mauritanian borders. basically, it’s 100s of kilometers from everywhere.
A trip to Dakhla can be pretty far and expensive if you are visiting from North or East Morocco. But it is worth it and you should visit it at least once in a lifetime. So, let’s see how we can get to Dakhla!
You can reach Dakhla via land from the North (Morocco) or the South (Mauritania). From Morocco, there are bus services, CTM, and Supratours that run between Dakhla and major cities in Morocco -like Casablanca and Marrakech. The ticket price is about $50 to $60 and the trip can be quite long and tiring (about 24+ hours).
I’ve heard that crossing the borders from Mauritania is quite a standard process. I personally did not experience it but I don’t think this would be a problem.
For me, the best way to get to Dakhla is by plane. Both international and national flights are available to visit Dakhla. There are regular Royal Air Maroc flights from Casablanca and Marrakech and if you are visiting from another city in Morocco you will probably take a connection flight to one of these cities.
International flights are also available from France, Germany, and sometimes the Canary Islands, directly to Dakhla airport. Dakhla airport is located at a walkable distance (about 20 minutes) from the town center, and just 5 minutes by car from everywhere in the city.
If you are an avid driver and adventurer, taking a 2-day road trip to Dakhla is also possible. But you might want to keep in mind that the roads are not what you expect. Dakhla is a desert city and most of the streets are not paved, sometimes they don’t exist at all.
Also, don’t rely solely on your GPS to travel as the connection might be a bit of a problem there. So, unless you consider yourself an expert in adventures, I won’t recommend taking a road trip to Dakhla.
How to get around Dakhla, Morocco?
Dakhla is a very small desert town and getting around is pretty easy and quick, so you need not worry about getting lost. You can literally walk from the airport to the city center (about 20 minutes). However, you might want to take a taxi if you are planning to visit places along the outskirts of the city such as the lighthouse or beach.
Taxis are easy to find in and around the city. Sometimes you might have to wait a little bit but they are not hard to find. The ride is usually shared with other people as the driver keeps picking up and dropping off people along the way.
If you are traveling in the town you will pay around $1.5. For a trip to the popular windsurfing areas and the beach, you should negotiate the price in advance.
Unless you are a very brave explorer, hiring a car or a 4×4 in Dakhla wouldn’t be recommended. Dakhla has empty intersections and very few vehicles on the streets.
Dakhla is not your typical holiday destination in Morocco. That is precisely why you should consider going there. If you are into water sports, it’s ideal. If you are not, then Dakhla is the best place to learn how to surf. Alternatively, Dakhla provides a traffic and crowd-free holiday with great beaches and desert tour options.
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