Dakhla: Oasis of the Desert and Sea

· 8 min read

Dakhla is a city located at the tip of a narrow, long peninsula jutting out into the Atlantic. It offers an original mosaic of desert scapes and peaceful sea views. As we have seen, most attractive things are often in little-known places, which keep from spoiling them by massive tourist flows. One of them is Dakhla, the paradise for water sports that keeps its magic and authenticity by being far from the large resort centers. This guide comes complete with tips on getting around local attractions, such as the best kite-surfing sites and sampling local Sahrawi cuisine. So, whether you're here to catch the perfect wave or explore the vast desert, maybe both, Dakhla offers an unsung experience like no other, coupled with an unassumingly rich cultural heritage and stunning natural beauty.

Getting to Dakhla

Reaching Dakhla is an adventure in itself, given its remote location in the Western Sahara. The most convenient way to visit Dakhla is by air, with Dakhla Airport hosting regular flights from major Moroccan cities like Casablanca and Agadir. These flights provide a quick and scenic entry into the region, showcasing stunning aerial views of the desert meeting the sea.

For those preferring road travel, Dakhla is accessible by a well-maintained highway stretching through the Sahara from major cities in Morocco. The drive is long but offers an unparalleled opportunity to witness the changing landscapes of the Moroccan countryside and desert expanses.

Once in Dakhla, car rentals are available for those who wish to explore at their own pace. Taxis and minibuses also provide easy ways to get around the city and to nearby attractions. Given the compact size of Dakhla, many find it enjoyable to explore the city center and waterfront areas on foot.

Best Time to Visit

Dakhla is blessed with a mild climate year-round, making it a great destination in any season. However, the best time to visit is between October and April, when the weather is most favorable for outdoor activities and water sports. These months avoid the intense summer heat, making it comfortable for exploring the outdoors and enjoying the beaches.

This period also coincides with several local festivals and events, such as the Dakhla Festival, which celebrates local music, culture, and sports, particularly kite-surfing. Attending these events offers a deeper insight into the local culture and provides a chance to engage with the community.


Dakhla offers a range of accommodations to suit various tastes and budgets. For those seeking luxury, there are several upscale beachfront resorts that provide all-inclusive options with direct access to private beaches and water sport facilities. These resorts often feature amenities like spas, gourmet restaurants, and fitness centers.

Eco-lodges and boutique hotels offer a more sustainable and intimate experience, often utilizing traditional building methods and local materials. These accommodations are ideal for travelers seeking a closer connection to nature and the local culture.

Budget travelers can choose from a variety of guesthouses and hostels that provide comfortable and affordable lodging. Many of these are located in the heart of Dakhla, offering easy access to local markets, cafes, and the waterfront.

Activities and Attractions

Dakhla is a paradise for water sports enthusiasts, with its world-renowned conditions for kite-surfing and windsurfing. The constant breezes and wide, shallow waters of the Dakhla lagoon make it an ideal spot for both beginners and advanced riders. Numerous schools along the lagoon offer lessons and equipment rentals, ensuring visitors can safely enjoy the thrill of these sports.

For those who prefer land-based adventures, Dakhla offers breathtaking desert excursions. You can explore the surrounding landscapes on a 4x4 safari, venturing into the heart of the Sahara to discover hidden oases, ancient nomadic tribes, and unique wildlife. Camel rides and overnight camping trips under the stars offer an authentic experience of Saharan life.

Birdwatchers and nature lovers will find the birdlife around the peninsula especially captivating, particularly at the Dragon Island, a protected area known for its biodiversity. Guided eco-tours are available, providing insight into the region’s ecological importance and conservation efforts.

Additionally, the city of Dakhla itself offers a charming exploration experience with its blend of Sahrawi and Moroccan cultures. The local market and craft workshops provide glimpses into the artisanal skills and traditions of the local people.

Local Cuisine

Dakhla’s cuisine is a delightful blend of Sahrawi and Moroccan flavors, heavily featuring seafood due to its coastal location. Must-try dishes include "Zgougou," a soup made from fish and spices, and "Tajine of fish," cooked with local vegetables and aromatic herbs.

For a unique culinary adventure, sample the grilled octopus, known for its freshness and served in most local restaurants. Another traditional dish to explore is "Méchoui," slow-roasted lamb prepared in a pit, which is a common delicacy in Sahrawi culture.

Restaurants along the waterfront offer the best views and ambiance for dining out. These establishments often serve a fusion of international and local dishes, catering to the diverse tastes of visitors. For an immersive experience, look for eateries that offer dinner accompanied by traditional Sahrawi music and dance performances.

Cultural Insights and Safety Tips

Visitors to Dakhla should respect the local customs and traditions, which reflect a blend of Moroccan and Sahrawi heritage. Dress modestly, especially when visiting local communities or participating in cultural events.

It's also wise to stay informed about regional safety and travel advisories. While Dakhla is generally safe for tourists, basic precautions such as avoiding unlit areas at night and keeping valuables secure are recommended.

Engaging with local guides not only enhances your understanding of the cultural landscape but also ensures safe and respectful interactions with the community. These guides provide valuable insights and facilitate meaningful exchanges with locals.


Dakhla offers an enchanting mix of desert and ocean, making it a unique destination for those seeking adventure, culture, and relaxation. Whether you’re surfing the winds, exploring the vast dunes, or enjoying the local cuisine, Dakhla promises a memorable experience enriched by its natural beauty and cultural depth. Every visit is an opportunity to discover something new about this serene oasis, where the desert meets the sea. Embrace the warmth of its people and the unspoiled landscapes that make Dakhla a truly special place to explore.

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Alex Rivera

About Alex Rivera

Alex is a seasoned traveler with a knack for uncovering hidden gems and sharing practical tips for navigating the globe. With a passion for both adventure and cultural immersion, Alex's articles promise to guide readers through unforgettable journeys and insights into the soul of destinations worldwide.

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