Blogs from Western Sahara, Africa - page 2


Africa » Western Sahara » South May 22nd 2009

So I didn’t go to Laayoune after all, as I went straight through on the bus to Dakhla. It took 16+ hours and was uneventful except for the numerous police checkpoints. Also this fruit vendor, Abdullah, who bought me a yop and then asked to exchange phone numbers. I was suspicious, but his near illiteracy made me think he was just extremely nice, which he was. He gave me a bunch of photos of himself (odd?), and we are now brothers. I arrived at Dakhla at 5 am and found a crappy hotel around 7:30 am that let me check in so I slept until noon. Then I explored the city --- so many cops and military!!! Bought a sweet “Lawrence of Arabia” suit! Off to Nouadibou, Mauritania tomorrow. Actually in four hours as I have ... read more

Africa » Western Sahara » South » Dakhla December 9th 2008

A blistery wind front roars through the town, and the sky is blotted out with clouds of orange and grey. One could call it a dust storm, but any storm in the Sahara is worthy of that title. The wind merely lifts all the particulate that's always present into frenzy. Maybe you just don't see it until the storm. The landmass of Western Sahara is a region sparsely populated but largely contested. This is nothing new, and is evident even by the language spoken here. The dialect is known as Hassaniya Arabic, and only has about 3 million speakers. Its origin stretches back into the Middle Ages when Bedouins led by a Beni Hassan migrated and conquered the Berber tribes. Today's more pressing issues are rooted in Africa's colonial history. A brief history: The mass known ... read more

Africa » Western Sahara » North » Laayoune September 9th 2008

It's been a long bit since my last entry, and a couple of thousand kilometers travelling too!!! and boy, it seems like a long time ago. I ended up spending 9 days in Essaouira, a lovely group of people, and a great bunch that went through it too. Troy, the greek god of street art, Michelle the reading maniac who got through any book you placed in front of her, Taz, the Hostel carer with an always ready smile and measured comment to anything, San, up for a laugh anytime and a savvy English take on things anytile, Linda, quiet but listening, and ready to place the killer comment. The two Catalans who shared a night of animated chatting on life coaching and more, the smoked out Brazilian and Iranian-English wife, relaxing one hundred per cent, ... read more

Africa » Western Sahara July 15th 2008

We leave the beach at Taghazoute early in the morning, having sardines and baguette for breakfast. We thumb into Agadir, just miss the morning bus to Laayoune, and have to wait 9 hours for the next. Standard. Get some pizza, check the internet, people watch a bit in the bus station, and the 9 hours are over. The bus travels through the night to Laayoune. Occasionally I woke up to see us driving through arid valleys with strange tunnel-agriculture schemes dotted around. It became more deserty, and by dawn sand took up most of the landscape. We spent a day in Laayoune washing clothes, ambling about and hanging around the local pool hall. It’s a very fast growing town - tax incentives are offered to Moroccans who live here, and there are well paid jobs. I ... read more

Africa » Western Sahara » South » Dakhla July 7th 2008

Dakhla doesnt appear in this platform, big sourprise that is... well, so the 24 hours bus was a piece of cake, as expected. I think by now I can sleep in any position, so a bus with air conditioning seemed pretty nice. just took my sheets and towell out and I was ready to roll. in the end it was more like 28 hours I think? although it was partly my fault? cause in every police control they checked me out (only white in the bus...). first three a cop bothere to come in and find me. last three the bus driver just told meto get off and do my thing, which consisted on saying spanish student to dakhla yeah spain rocks and won the eurocup!! dakhla is wonwonwonderful. well, not really. the city is just ... read more
goat park

Africa » Western Sahara » North » Laayoune December 2nd 2007

We stopped briefly in Layoune to do some food shopping, this is Western Saharas capital, from there we camped out near a beach and had guy with a gun came by to tell us we are camping in land mine area so everyone was a bit careful going to the toilet that night, it was also Di and Tonys 5th Anniversary so we celebrated a bit. Next day we stopped at Boujdour to do some more food shopping, Dave and me finished up our last dirhams by buying bananas and oranges; moving on we found an excellent camp site near the city of Dakhla in the sand dunes, this is our last night in the disputed territory of Western Sahara; there really is nothing fancy about this place just mostly desert and the occasional smell of ... read more

Africa » Western Sahara October 14th 2007

Sorry for the length of time between updates. There isn't much for internet cafes when you're bush camping in the desert! We've got a lot to update on so we'll try to split it up into a few entries. The next part of our journey took us through the disputed territory of Western Sahara. We won't go into the historical details of the dispute, but the result is that there are police checks every couple of kilometers (or so it seems) and the ocasional mine field. Surprisingly though, the road is all tarmac and in very good shape the whole way through. We were prepared to do hours of digging in the sand, but were plesently surprised with the conditions. Our thirst for digging would be satisified later...not to worry! Upon exiting Morocco, we came across ... read more
Tree Goats
Tree Goats 2
Tree Goats 3

Africa » Western Sahara » North » Laayoune October 1st 2007

The train ride (see ) had left me dreary and adrenaline-less. In Nouadhibou I took lodge at a camp for overlanders and after a much needed resting day I begun my quest for a ride north, through Western Sahara and up to Marrakech, where a flight destination London awaited me. I had bought the ticket over a month earlier, still in Mali, but I had obviously underestimated both width and slowness of Africa. Now all I had got were a mere six days to find someone willing to give me a lift up to Dakhla (600 kms of desert), and from there to proceed on to Marrakech, some 1500 kms further north. A word of wisdom for those of you who are thinking about crossing the Sahara with no private vehicle: do it from north to ... read more
Dakhla at Night
Everybody on Satellite
Thousands of Kms of Emptiness

Africa » Western Sahara » South » Dakhla May 21st 2007

Ess-Agadir-Laayoune-DakhlaTom Griffith When is a country not a country? According to Morocco, and 25 other countries, and the Arab League, Western Sahara is not a real nation. It is simply the large, sandy, camel-infested, southern provinces of Morocco. According to the Western Saharan government in exile, 45 other countries, and the African Union, Western Sahara is the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, an independent country under Moroccan military control. And, according to the UN, it is a non self-governing territory, whatever that means. Whatever it is, and whoever actually owns it, it is basically just a huge patch of desert, and is one of the most sparsely-populated parts of the world. There are only about 350,000 people in the whole place, and 150,000 of them are Moroccan soldiers. So why would Morocco wan... read more
Almost in Dakhla...
A real Saharan camel
27 hours to go...

Africa » Western Sahara March 25th 2007

Western Sahara rarely features on lists of the world's countries anymore. Even on most maps, this large area of northwest Africa generally appears as part of Morocco. However, even in the eyes of the United Nations, Western Sahara is a seperate entity. The country used to be known as Rio de Oro after it was grabbed by Spain during the scramble for Africa in the late nineteenth century. They grabbed it as a protectorate mainly because other European countries were claiming new colonies so why shouldn't they. It was soon realised that the land had little economic worth and never broke even before it was given up by Spain in 1975. The country was divided in two with the top half going to Morocco and the bottom half to Mauritania. But Morocco wanted all of ... read more
Endless Nothingness
More Endless Nothingness
The Long Atlantic Beach

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