Dakhla, Between Sea and Desert
The city was first called Villa Cisneros, later to be renamed Dakhla when this part of southern Morocco joined the mother country in 1979.
Dakhla is above all known for its bay (40 km long and 3 to 6 km-wide) and its hinterland; the entire region of Oued Eddahab, its coastline and its ocean, is full of treasures, a fauna and flora of an incredible richness; yet species have become rare, such as the oryx or the Dama gazelle. A very rare species, the monk seal, which numbers between 100 and 200 specimens, reigns supreme on this coast, known as the “seal coast.” The bird life is also very diverse: pink flamingos, cormorants, gannets and audoin gulls. Each year the bay is home to more than 600,000 birds. This wealth of fauna and flora is a real asset for the region, which has decided to create a National Park of 14,000 km² in order to diversify its tourist offer beyond seaside tourism.
Since Dakhla opened its airport in 2010, more than 200,000 passengers transited through it in 2018; 4 airlines serve the city, from Casablanca, Marrakesh, Agadir, Laâyoune and even Paris.
Over the years, Dakhla has positioned itself as an ecological destination, in tune with nature, the environment and local culture. Its mild weather, with temperatures oscillating between 17 and 24°, has enchanted kite surfers, fishermen and other nature lovers. Hotels of all categories and for all budgets are available, as well as bed & breakfasts. Most hotels and hospitality facilities were built with a view to integrating into the natural environment, without making any compromise on comfort.
Today Dakhla is a popular destination for both nationals and foreign tourists alike who look for authenticity and proximity to nature. After a day spent outdoors, music lovers can go and attend a concert of traditional Saharawi music, a mix of Arabic and African music, in a tent or under the starry skies.
In addition to tourism, the region has benefited from development centered on its natural resources, first and foremost its fishing potential, but also agriculture. The current port specializes in deep-sea pelagic fish, but also farmed oysters that can now be enjoyed all over Morocco. The area does wonders for vegetable crops (tomatoes and cherry tomatoes, most often exported) and fodder crops (alfalfa). Livestock farming takes an important place and remains a major source of income for the population; livestock, camel, sheep and cattle are a fast-growing market. For some years now, ostrich farms have been part of the landscape, they are bred for their meat and leather which are high-value commodities.