So the plan was to make a YouTube show called “Vikings Across Africa” during my trans-african expedition last year, but was robbed halfways through the trip and lost all the clips that I had stored up, so all I got was three episodes from the first three countries. Check them out on my channel below:
The night before arriving in Dakhla we made camp a cliff pretty much right on the Tropic of Cancer. That is the Northernmost point around the earth where the sun would be directly overhead, so days should start getting longer and temperatures will get higher from there on.
Dakhla was a much more beautiful town than the Western Saharan Capital of Laayoune. From the city center and onwards there was a beach popular among kite surfers and they had a Spanish church and Plaza just like in the capital. Tomorrow we will do another bush camping right by the border to cross into Mauritania early the next morning.
Our camp at the Tropic of Cancer
Western Sahara is a country currently occupied by Morocco and most of its inhabitants have fled to the refugee camp in Algeria called Tindouf. Most people living in the country now are Moroccans but some of the original citizens, the so called Saharawis still live there and they have previously made some violent protests in Laayoune which is the reason why our Lonely Planet guide recommended not to go there. We stayed three nights and our experience was that people were much more friendly than in the touristic cities of Morocco.
On several occasions we were invited to coffee, tea and food. One guy also wanted to pay for our taxi as he meant that it would be better for us than walking. Only in central Asia and Iran have I met as hospitable people and that definitely made up for the city itself as there was not much to see there.
One of the evenings we were also invited over to some local people’s homes to eat camel, drink whisky and smoke water pipe. At the house there was one Moroccan and the rest were Saharawis. Whenver the Moroccan was in the bathroom they were eager to tell us that they did not like the Moroccan police who would beat you up if you would be speaking too loudly about the occupation. Quite interesting to really see how deeply they feel about this political matter, much like the Palestinians, Northern Cypriots or people from Crimea felt about their occupied country.
On the 500km drive from Laayoune to Dakhla then landscape looked exactly the same with desert on one side and ocean cliffs on the other. One night we camped right on the cliffs which was a great view to wake up to the next morning.
After more than a week in Marrakesh everyone had recovered and the truck had been fixed. We had never been more ready to get back on the road and continue our journey. We set off to Essaoira, which is a small coastal town for a couple of days to relax , get back to communal shopping and cooking and sort stuff out.
Being in the middle of winter, Essaoira was not at all as busy as it had been described in our guidebooks. The town could be described as laid back and artsy with a breeze that attracts kite surfers from all over the World. Its 18th century Medina is a fort constructed with European military architecture, which you can see many places in Northern Africa.
In small shops along the beach it was possible to rent water sport equipment, so some went for a surf in the whitewater waves and others spent the days relaxing in the sun.
When continuing to drive further south we crossed the surf town of Taghazout which seemed like a much cooler place for young backpackers. Here the waves were also big and green and it was almost painful driving past it without trying out the waves. Just less than an hour further south we stopped for a couple of hours in Agadir to get everything we needed for the Saharan desert crossing that we will do in the next few days.