Upon independence in 1956, Nador was just an ordinary Riffian village, given work and some impetus by the port of the nearby Spanish enclave of Melilla. Its later designation as a provincial capital led to extensive growth based on the cement industry and the legal and illegal traffic passing through its own busy port at Beni Nsar. It has steadily grown into an ugly, sprawling town and until recently the future looked grim. However, swept up in the country’s ambitious tourism vision, there are lofty plans (endorsed by King Mohammed VI himself) in the pipeline to develop Mar Chica Lagoon, beside which the city lies, and its outerlying spit into one of the world’s cutting-edge environmental, residential and tourism developments. For the time being, Nador is primarily a transport hub with little to offer other than a pleasant lagoon-side promenade and some birdwatching in the marshes and dunes east of the town, (see Birds and dunes).

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