Morocco // The Tarfaya Strip and Western Sahara //

Tan Tan and around

The approach from Goulimine to Tan Tan runs along 125km of straight desert road, across a bleak area of scrub and hammada. There are few features to speak of en route: a café and petrol station (55km from Goulimine); a small pass (85km); and finally a crossing of the Oued Drâa (109km), invariably dry at this point, where you may be asked to show your passport (as you also may coming into Tan Tan). A piste from here heads west to a last French fort at the mouth of the oued.

Tan Tan is a drab administrative centre of around 70,000 inhabitants. Because it’s part of a duty-free zone, along with the rest of the Tarfaya Strip and Western Sahara, a lot of shops sell goods such as radios, computers and electric razors. Aside from its moussem (see Tan Tan Plage), Tan Tan’s one claim to fame is that it was a departure point for Hassan II’s famous Green March to occupy the Western Sahara (La Marche Verte, or el Massira el Khadra).

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