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Kitesurfing Dakhla

Listed under Kitesurfing in Western Sahara.

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Photo by flickr user upyernoz
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This is a really cool spot, it’s a massive flat lagoon split by a spit of land that opens onto choppier sea pretty much in the middle of the Sahara. It’s like the spit was built just to launch your kite and theres good choice between flat or rough water. Further down the coast is a big wave spot for experienced guys to have a go at, but the flat side of the lagoon is fine for beginners, it’s pretty shallow and theres no trees or anything around to run into. Locals say you can surf here all year, its warm enough too, best wind in winter. Windsurfers love it here as well. Not much to do but surf though so if you like your nightlife maybe head to Brazil.

Written by  poe-go.

Comments, reviews and questions by other travellers

Is Dakhla ok in September....regards paul

2 Replies

August is the windiest month, but September is still classed as in season - it's a pretty good choice.

Wind direction

Is the wind in the ocean offshore or side-on? Can we surf the waves safely?

DAKHLA - A Kitesurfing Paradise

Imagine if you could find the perfect kiteboarding spot. An endless lagoon of flat water, a coastal spot just 5 minutes away that offers 3 metre waves, constant 20 knots of sideshore wind, and never more than a handful of people out riding? Welcome to Dakhla, the perfect winter escape…

Dakhla is situated on the Atlantic coast, in the very south of Morocco, only 300 kilometres from the border to Mauritania.

Our trip to Dakhla was organized by Soufiane Hamaini, North International teamrider, who arranges kite trips through the best spots that Morocco has to offer. As our flight slowly descends toward the small landing strip in the middle of the desert, the view is truly spectacular. The atlantic coast along one side, the incredible 25 kilometre lagoon on the other side, and the peninsula of Dakhla in the centre. The flight is a short one, just two and a half hours from Casablanca, but as we land, it feels as though we are in the middle of nowhere. Dakhla is truly an escape and an opportunity to disconnect.

We are met by one of the camp representatives at the airport, who loads up all of our our boardbags (all 60 kilos of excess baggage that we had) and off we head towards our home base for the next couple of weeks. The camp is situated about 25 kilometres from town, just along the lagoon. Its dark by the time we arrive, and from the distance the camp looks like a small city, elegantly illuminated bungalows and tents scattered along the edge of the lagoon. The camp has recently been reconstructed, and now has a capacity for up to 150 guests. The bungalow that we stay in is cosy and charming, with the most spectacular view across the lagoon, a beautiful sight to wake up to in the morning.

Dakhla is mainly a fishing town, but in recent years is has become increasingly popular in the kitesurfing and windsurfing world. The wind generally blows from the north east , and averages around 15 to 25 knots, increasing slightly during the summer months of July and August. The temperature is pleasant, from around 18 to 26C, but does drop considerably at night. The great advantage that Dakhla has is the immense amount of space that is available. Throughout our trip, there were never more than 10 of us in the water, which is such a pleasant change from the many other over- crowded kite spots that we have travelled to recently.

We were also joined by Morocco’s national North team riders Momo Hamaini (Soufiane’s younges brother), Hamada Titi, as well as Rachid Roussafi. We check the forecast on our second day in Dakhla, and find that great conditions are coming. Three metre waves and 18 knots of wind, we decide to hit the surf spot the next day. One of the best wave spots is located just five minutes from town. We drive past the military check point, and down a dirt road towards the beach. We pull up at the cliff, get out and pump up our 7 metres. A great afternoon session, perfect conditions, and only four of us on the water. By the time the sun starts going down, we are ready to head back to camp, enjoy a fish tagine dinner, and settle down for the night. During the evening, glancing up at the starry sky is breathtaking. With no light pollution to ruin the view, Dakhla proves to the perfect place for seeing the stars.

The following day, we decide to do a downwinder to the ‘Duna Blanca’, also know as the white dune. This is a great opportunity to see the untouched beauty of the lagoon. The 20 kilometre down winder takes us just over an hour. On our way , we pass flocks of bright pink flamingos, that are resting on the shore. There is nothing else around us, except for the odd fisherman who seems to just pop out of nowhere, and makes you wonder how on earth they got there without transport, in the middle of nothing. As we kite across the lagoon, around the last cove, the huge white sand dune appears in the distance. Our guides are already there waiting for us, the two 4x4’s are parked at the foot of the dune. If you kite around behind the dune, there is a beautiful clear flat water spot, but for these guys, that’s not where the fun is. The fun is to climb to the top of the 20 metre dune and jump of it with your kite. Which is all good fun until one of our spanish companions doesnt quite make it to the water and lands at the bottom of the dune on his ass, leaving us all in hysterics. After a while the tide starts to go down, and our little landing pool of water gradually disappears. Time to pack everything in to the 4x4’s and gradually head back across to the other side of the lagoon. Upon our return to camp, we come across Aziz, a local kite insructor, who has somehow managed to catch a 35 kilo fish whilst out kiting, by bashing it on the head with his board! Our security boat then managed to help him bring it back to shore. Needless to say, we ate a lot fish tagines that week!

After two weeks in Dakhla, we were lucky enought to have wind every day except one. We managed to get several days of good wave conditions on the coastal side, and spent the rest of the time travelling alond different spots on the lagoon. The weather has been a welcome escape from this year’s cold European winter, with the temperature rising to about 24 C most days. The locals have all been exremely friendly and welcoming, as is common throughout Morocco. Its been such a pleasure to watch the sun rise and set each day in the tranquility and beauty of the Saharan desert, and to be able to sleep each night in the absolute silence, it was a bit of shock to land the next day in Casablanca, and to once again adapt to our modern ways of living, amongst chaos and noise! Hopefully Dakhla will remain an untouched and unspoilt spot for many years to come, so that we can return and enjoy it’s wonderful conditions and versatility once again some time soon.

How to get there:

The easiest way to get to Dakhla is by plane. It is also possible to go by bus or by car, but it is extremely long (about two days) so I would only really recommend it for someone that has the time and really wants to explore the coastline. Flights to Casablanca are available from most international airports, and some really good offers can be found. From Casablanca, you can get a flight directly to Dakhla. Royal air maroc (www.royalairmaroc.com) have three flights per week, and Moroccan Regional Airlines (www.regionalmaroc.com) have flights almost daily.

Soufiane organizes regular trips and pro clinics in Dakhla (www.kitemorocco.com) with accomodation available in Dakhla Attitude kitecamp. Prices start from 30 Euros per night, which includes all meals and airport transfers.

Weather and temperature:

The temeperature in Dakhla is generally pleasant throughout the year, averaging about 18C to 26 C during the day, but dropping considerably at night, so be sure to pack some warm clothes! No wetsuit is need in summer, and just a thin wetsuit is enough for the winter months.

Wind conditions :

The wind generally blows from the northeast, and averages around 15 to 25 knots, which does increase during the summer months of July and August. Recommended kite sizes for the average rider would be 7m, 9m and 12m. Kite equipment rental is available.

General information :

There are various accomodation possibilites within the town of Dakhla, but if you want to be right on the spot, the kite camp is your best option. There is a security boat in the water at all times. Beginner lessons are available by certified instructors. Soufiane also runs pro clinics throughout the year to help intermediate to advanced riders to progress and improve their riding style. The camp also has a restaurant, bar, and lounge area with wireless internet access. Fishing trips and other expeditions can also be arranged.

For further information on Dakhla, the camp, and the pro clinics, contact Soufiane tarifa@kitemorocco.com or check out www.kitemorocco.com

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