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Dakhla Bay, Morocco

Dakhla Bay

Dakhla Bay is a town of antiquity and color, of vibrant diversity and natural wonders. There is a great deal to do and enjoy here, with excellent scenery and the unsurpassed beauty of both grand sand dunes and startling beachside cliff drops. Founded at the mouth of the Rio de Oro, or River of Gold, by the Spanish, Dakhla Bay is located to the south in Morocco, near the edge of the Moroccan Sahara. Rather isolated, it offers some great beach locations for swimming and surfing.
Dakhla offers a finger of land stretching out into the sea, and this unique feature allows it to have one side a calm, glorious lagoon of sharp turquoise, and the other side a great spot for wave riders, both board surfers and kite surfers. The lagoon itself reaches some 25 kilometers and is rather shallow, which makes it ideal for swimming, snorkeling, relaxation and sunbathing. It also allows beginner surfers a place to practice moves and tricks. Dakhla Bay has some accommodations that might appeal to the free spirit or earthier adventurers; there is a beach campground for tents not far away called the Bedouin Camp. It uses traditional Berber tents for overhead protection, as protection from the wind is already accounted for thanks to the mountains on which it is leaning. There are also some 30 bungalows at the Dragon Camp, which are environmentally harmonious, given sand-covered facades and roofs covered with earthy hangings. The interiors are bright, inviting and charmingly spacious.
There is not much Dakhla has to offer besides great kite surfing, but there are a couple of excursions to be made here, both day trips into the wilds: Dune Blanche and Dragon Island. The Dune Blanche tour starts at 10am and heads out to some wreckage for viewing, then moves onto the Croaker Silver and finally to Dune Blanche, a huge, rippled sand dune in the bay suitable for climbing and home to flocks of pink flamingoes. Swimming and hiking are tended to after an authentic lunch, and then it is off to Asmaa Spring, a sulphurous hot water spring that is reputedly good for skin, bones and general health.
Dragon Island is fun for the oyster farm, of which the visitor is allowed to partake of some fresh oysters, shell-fishing and wine tasting. Lunch is also served here, after which you can take a long walk along the beach and perhaps partake in some light hiking. It is considered a worthwhile day of relaxation and you will be back at camp by 6pm. Dakhla is near a disputed territory and you may see some authority figures in the area if you travel nearer the Mauritanian border. While you will be in no danger, it is best to listen if they tell you an area is restricted; a little further out that disputed territory has been laced with landmines.
Dakhla Bay is not for everyone, but it is a great time if you are into windsurfing especially, and you can take lessons at the bay, too. Be prepared for a lot of sand and a bit of primitiveness, but it is certainly a holiday that will not soon be forgotten!

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