8th - 25th Feb 2018
Western Sahara.... little known and little visited about sums up this territory – well, here’s your chance to rectify this ! …... join us as we explore the deep south of Morocco. After the cessation of the decades-long armed dispute between Morocco and the Polisario Front in 1991, this territory has remained un-explored. Since our first expedition here in 2010 it has quickly become a firm favourite of guests – a mixture of salt/silt flats, rolling hammada, sand dunes, rocky jebels and archaeological sites complete with pot fragments, flint tool and rock engravings. It’s wild and remote but remains safe and free from trouble. Read LRO’s John Pearson’s Epic Western article on our website to get a taste of this fascinating destination.
Taking the new autoroute to Agadir we quickly descend Morocco to enter the Anti Atlas mountains and head for Assa via the Gorges d’Ait Mansour – a huge cleft through these intensely folded mountains. Once south of the Anti Atlas we enter the expanse of the Zemmour, a huge hammada extending down towards Mauritania. Driving conditions remain varied however, mainly rock and sand with many dry river crossings before crossing the Krab Hawa and dropping into the Oued Seguiet al Hamar and reaching Jdiriya and ultimately, the main town of Smara.
We leave Smara for the far south via the Jebel Winselwan, which is one of Morocco’s most prolific pre-Islamic rock engraving sites. Once at the southern end of the Jebel we swing southwest out across the desert towards Oued al Khatt. We’ll descend into the pans of Sebkat Aridal before following a dune line north towards Laayoune. From Laayounne we follow the cliff top pistes north and explore the pre-Islamic tombs and tumuli in Oued Chbika. Entering Tan Tan we continue NE to drive the classic Plage Blanche beach and follow the cliff top pistes and ship wrecks to Sidi Ifni, Agadir and the transit back to Europe. The route is a mix of hammada, with some dunes and mountains, remote and wild. While the pistes to Smara are used, further south things get seriously empty! It’s very different to the rest of Morocco, free of the “bon-bon stylo” hassel that unfortunately mars elsewhere, it’s exciting desert travel under warm blue skies, definitely a trip for those who want to be amongst the first to explore this remote, western edge of the Sahara.