Travel to the Western Sahara, (Morocco) – Episode 421

categories: africa travel

Hear about travel to the Western Sahara as the Amateur Traveler talks to Francis Tapon about this disputed region as part of his trip to every country in Africa.

“The Western Sahara is a region that, if you’re a Moroccan, you would believe that it is part of Morocco. If you are somebody else you might want it to be an independent country. That battle has been raging on since the Spanish who colonized it left in 1975.” In answer to the question, is it safe Francis says “It totally is. I was just there in 2013. I went all over the place. There are some military checkpoints that they will not let you go past. There has been a cease fire for almost 25 years.”

“A lot of people love to go to Morocco, for good reason. Why would you go to America and just go to New York City, wouldn’t you want to see some places that are less visited and some natural wonders. I think the Sahara is one of those. And even though Morocco proper has parts that are in the Sahara the Western Sahara is just far less populated. It has a population of half a million people in a territory that is the size of Colorado. The whole Sahara is the size of the contiguous United States.”

“Most people are going to start in Morocco and are going to go straight down to El Aaiún which is the capital or the biggest city. The city itself is OK, but for me the best things to see are deep in the Sahara itself as well as Dakhla which is much further south. They are trying to make it into a tourist destination and I think they might succeed in doing that. You’ve got to see a bit of the inland area, you’ve got to see the coast, and you’ve got to see Dakhla.”

“The main economy in the Western Sahara is fishing so they have an amazing coastline that is empty for the most part. You are going to see everything from these jagged rugged cliffs that drop straight into the ocean as well as beaches. If you go all the way down to Dakhla you get to an area where there is a bay and it is protected. You will see more touristic stuff. You will see windsurfers, kite surfers, you will be able to get on a jet ski if you want to. Besides that it is pretty much just empty land and you can camp wherever you want.”

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Show Notes

Francis Tapon

The Hidden Europe
Western Sahara
El Aaiún
Dakhla Bay
The Moroccan Wall
Trapped in Chains: The Plague of Modern-Day Slavery
The Unseen Africa / Africa 54
Kickstarter Campaign: The Unseen Africa

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by Chris Christensen

Chris Christensen is the creator of the Amateur Traveler blog and podcast, and a co-host for This Week in Travel podcast.

7 Responses to “Travel to the Western Sahara, (Morocco) – Episode 421”



Hi Chris,

you are doing a really nice job !!! Do you know if there are any hotels closed to a Kitespot on the coast of Marocco? as I heard that there are only camping facilities for kitesurfers south of Dakhla. Thanks p.s. keep going with your great work



I don’t know but will ask Francis

Chris Christensen (@chris2x)


Stephan, Francis says ” I’m not 100% sure, but I believe the rumors you heard are true, because there’s really little infrastructure (other than a nice paved road to Mauritania) that is south of Dakhla. But camp! It’s lovely there!”



Thanx a lot Chris.

Holly Tarn


I am a political journalist who has been reporting on the topic of Western Sahara for 6 years. I would like to warn listeners that the interviewee here has misinformed opinions. The illegal occupation on Western Sahara by Morocco has cost many lives, and left over 100,000 people living as refugees for over 40 years. The opinions here are not only misinformed, but they are based on outdated colonial perspectives, and fail to consider the oppression of the indigenous people of this country. I thoroughly suggest you read further around this topic before visiting the area, as this podcast is a very poor guide.



Holly, I appreciate your insight. I certainly don’t claim to be an expert on the situation.



Holly, thank you so much for your comment regarding the interviewee’so outdated political views. I literally cringed as he gave his rationale. I hope he’ll rethink including this opinion in his upcoming book.

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