Some 544km from Laayoune, on a long spit of land, DAKHLA (formerly Villa Cisneros, capital of Spain’s Rio de Oro colony), is just 22km north of the Tropic of Cancer. Under Spanish rule, only the colonists and people working for them were allowed into town – the Saharawi nomads who lived in the desert were excluded. In 1975, the Spanish left and the Mauritanians moved in, to be replaced four years later by the Moroccans. Since then, Dakhla has grown somewhat, but it retains a lazy, sun-bleached atmosphere, with whitewashed, low-rise buildings and an easy-going feel. Europeans in camper vans head down in winter, drawn by the deserted beaches and year-round sunshine – even in January it’s hot, and this is the furthest south you can get by land without needing a visa. Dakhla has also been developing a small surfing scene, with windsurfing and kitesurfing increasingly popular pursuits at the northern end of the lagoon, and there are a couple of surfing supply shops in town.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Morocco features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

7 places to get off the tourist trail in Morocco

7 places to get off the tourist trail in Morocco

Marrakesh? Check. The souks of Fez? Been there, bought that. Jebel Toubkal? Climbed it, twice. So what else does Morocco have in store once you’ve ticked off …

25 May 2017 • Keith Drew insert_drive_file Article
The best places to go in spring

The best places to go in spring

Springtime is beautiful, with its big blue skies and flowers in bloom, so there may be no better time to travel. If you're thinking about getting away, here are…

14 Feb 2017 • Rough Guides Editors camera_alt Gallery
Meknes: the Moroccan city you've never heard of but need to visit 

Meknes: the Moroccan city you've never heard of but need to visit 

With the title of Imperial City and a UNESCO-stamped ancient medina, Meknes can rival the likes of Marrakesh, Rabat, and Fez, yet it struggles to attract the…

08 Dec 2016 • Kirsten Henton insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month