Discover with Timothy Tye
Discover Western Sahara (الصحراء الغربية) with Timothy Tye

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Coastline of Western Sahara near DakhlaCoastline of Western Sahara near Dakhla
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Western Sahara is a territory in the northwestern part of Africa. It is bordered by Morocco to the north, Algeria to the northeast, and Mauritania to the east and south. The Atlantic Ocean forms the coastline to the west. It covers 266,000 sq km (103,000 sq mi) and has a population of over half a million people (2011 estimate).

Western Sahara comprises mostly flat desert land. Due to the harsh climate here, it is sparsely population, with over half its population living in El Aaiún, its capital and largest city.

Western Sahara was a colony of Spain since the late 19th century. Spain relinquished control over Western Sahara in 1975, after which a joint administration was set up between Morocco and Mauritania. However Mauritania withdrew in 1979, leaving Morocco to exert control over most of Western Sahara.

The Moroccan rule over Western Sahara is strongly backed by France while a liberation movement called the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, is backed by Algeria. Meanwhile, major powers such as the United States and Russia have taken a neutral position and have continuously urged the parties involved to resolve the matter peacefully.

Mosque in Smara, Western SaharaMosque in Smara, Western Sahara
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Mosque in Dakhla, Western SaharaMosque in Dakhla, Western Sahara
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authorshipAzzaddine Amjahed
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Planning your visit to Western Sahara

At the moment, Western Sahara does not have much in terms of tourist infrastructure. There isn't much to see here either, apart from the same dues and barren landscape. Independent travel within Western Sahara remains restricted. Also, areas controlled by the SADR will be entirely off-limits to visitors.

The only airport is in El Aaiún, with flights from Morocco. Entry requirement is the same as for Morocco.

Major Cities in Western Sahara

  1. El Aaiún (Laayoune) - capital
  2. Bir Gandús
  3. Cape Bojador
  4. Dakhla
  5. Guelta Zemmur
  6. Smara

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