"Western Sahara" Top 5 Page for this destination Western Sahara by johnsakura

Western Sahara Travel Guide: 203 reviews and 576 photos

THE WESTERN SAHARA

[A people] who never enjoy fresh water
And whom the grass of the fields inadequately supplies,
A country you may say ill disposed to bear any fruit,
Where the birds consume iron in their bellies,
A land suffering extreme want of everything...

Luis Vaz de Camões, Os Lusíadas 6, 1572 (Portuguese Hero and Ephic writer)



The Western Sahara, located on the north west coast of Africa borders Morocco to the north, Algeria to the east and Mauritania to the south. The region is yet to declare independence.

The region that has become known as the Western Sahara has had a long history of invasion and occupation.
Over 170,000 people are living in four refugee camps in the harsh Algerian desert. For the last twenty years the Saharawi refugees have been forced to live in tents.
The Western Sahara, given its name in 1975 by the United Nations, is the last African colonial state still to declare its independence. It extends over 285,000 square kilometers of predominantly sandy plains.


The Western Sahara's map borders are a result of colonial agreements made between France, Spain and Morocco in 1900, 1904 and 1912. But the sandy Atlantic coast to the west, the Quarkziz and Oued Draa mountain chain to the north and the barren desert to the east and south form natural boundaries to the region.

While mainly low lying sandy plains the region can be roughly divided into three topographical zones:

The steep mountainous rocky desert, formed by the chain of Atlas mountains and the hills of Zemmour, forms the north east zone.

The river basins of the wadi Draa to the north and the Jat to the west where water gathers in the depressions during the brief autumn rainy season forms the second zone. Here the high temperatures and evaporation rates mean that the water never reaches the sea but sufficient moisture is retained along the edges of the rivers for cattle grazing and some cereal cropping.

The third, inland, zone consists of flat low lying plains of ergs and sand dunes. The ground is too porous for water to retain the autumn rain, and too flat to allow it to flow, so it accumulates underground in numerous wells. Inland the climate is typically continental - extremely hot summers (with temperatures reaching over 60 degrees celsius in the shade) and cold dry winters.

  • Last visit to Western Sahara: Jan 2004
  • Intro Updated Oct 16, 2007
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Reviews (24)

Comments (13)

  • alycat's Profile Photo
    Oct 27, 2008 at 11:39 AM

    A beautiful place with an even beautiful blue sky..is it the camera or is it you?

  • halikowski's Profile Photo
    Aug 23, 2008 at 2:52 AM

    Sounds like a difficult & dangerous part of the world. Were you driving cars down to West Africa for sale, like they did in the '80s?

  • hunterV's Profile Photo
    Jul 5, 2008 at 10:43 AM

    I see... still I hope the Saharawis are content...

  • grets's Profile Photo
    Jun 29, 2007 at 3:31 AM

    What an interesting page about this unusual destination...... Thanks :-)

  • hindu1936's Profile Photo
    Sep 25, 2006 at 10:59 PM

    Now that is a cheap hotel! Thanks for the info. good tips, good potos. thanks for sharing

  • Jan 28, 2006 at 10:51 AM

    I am happy that I came across your page, Joao! Very interesting. Thank you for sharing. Greetings from Cape Town.

  • sachara's Profile Photo
    Jan 9, 2005 at 11:24 AM

    GREAT to read your page, Joao, after I have been there myself. Luckily I didn't realise all the described dangers, when crossing the Mauritanian-West Saharan border.

  • JLBG's Profile Photo
    Dec 4, 2004 at 9:14 AM

    Great page, very informative. It reminds me of several trips I did in central (Algerian) Sahara, page to come one day ! I wonder to what extent it can be called either a colony or the southern provinces of Morocco !

  • zumodemango's Profile Photo
    Oct 30, 2004 at 12:36 PM

    very interesting page joao!as always the pictures are great... eva

  • Oct 24, 2004 at 1:28 PM

    yes, very informative your page about sahara country arigato

johnsakura Used To Live Here!

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