Western Sahara

Map of Western Sahara

Plugs and Electric in Western Sahara

Electricity

Voltage

Conversion from 127 to 220V is currently underway

Frequency

50 Hz

Plug

Round two pin attachment plug, some round pin plug with receptacle and male grounding pin. This type of plug is common in most “universal” adaptor sets.

Flights in Western Sahara

Royal Air Maroc operate a regular but infrequent domestic flight service between Casablanca, Laayoune and Dakhla.

Flights from the UK to Western Sahara

Royal Air Maroc is the only option for reaching Western Sahara by flight. Fly to Casablanca and connect to a daily domestic flight to Laayoune (1 hour 40 minutes). Several flights a week (though not daily) also operate to Dakhla (2 hrs 20 minutes).

Royal Air Maroc flights from United Kingdom to Western Sahara

www.royalairmaroc.com

Royal Air Maroc are the national carrier for Morocco. They fly from Heathrow to Casablanca daily. Flying time is 3 hours 15 minutes to Casablanca.

Western Sahara Culture and Traditions

Local laws reflect the fact that Western Sahara is a Muslim region. You should respect local traditions, customs, laws and religions at all times and be aware of your actions to ensure that they do not offend other cultures or religious beliefs, especially during the holy month of Ramadan or if you intend to visit religious areas.

Women, especially when travelling alone, will attract attention. To minimise hassle, you should dress inconspicuously and avoid wearing clothes that could be regarded as provocative (eg short skirts and low-necked strappy tops), except on the beach. Homosexuality is considered a criminal offence. Sexual relations outside marriage are also punishable by law and there were a number of arrests in 2007.

The penalties for possession of even small amounts of drugs are severe: up to 10 years’ imprisonment, with no remission for good behaviour, heavy fines and confiscation of your vehicle/vessel.

It is against the law to carry bibles in Arabic, to attempt to distribute any non-Muslim/evangelical literature or be involved in any such activity.

Weather in Western Sahara

Hot, dry desert where rain is rare. Cold offshore air currents produce fog and heavy dew. Typically the climate gets hotter and drier the further south you go in the Sahara and travellers to the southern desert areas should prepare for cold nights, particularly in December and January. The winter in the south is dry and bitterly cold. Sunshine hours build up throughout the year from around 5 hours a day in January to 11 hours a day in July, falling back to 5 hours a day in December.

Seasonality

August is traditionally the month that locals take their main annual holidays – coastal resorts are literally heaving during this period and accommodation can be scarce unless you book early – particularly as there are so few hotels available in the region.

Best Time to Visit Western Sahara

To get the most out of your next adventure it makes sense to consider some of the very local factors that combine to make up what you feel is the best time to travel to a destination. Many of these factors are very personal – some people prefer to travel when the weather is not too hot, or sites too crowded – others prefer to travel when a traditional local event is taking place. Taking into account the dates of public holidays can also make sense as these may have an impact on opening times of attractions, shops and restaurants, or might affect public transport or other services. Conversely public holidays can be a time of great local festivities and celebrations providing a feast of local expressionism and culture.

Money Advice for Western Sahara

Local Currency

Moroccan Dirham (MAD)

General Advice

Major international currencies such as Euro, US Dollars and UK Sterling are widely interchangeable at banks. Nowadays there are many ATM machines located in major towns and cities providing a fast and generally reliable means of obtaining local currency.

Money Exchange

Foreign currency can be exchanged at banks and bureau de change desks in major towns and cities. The process can be slow and tedious. Banks normally close mid-afternoon.

ATM Availability

ATM machines are located in all major towns and this is the easiest way to obtain local currency. Although generally reliable, like anywhere in the world, they can be temperamental – especially on weekends and public holidays. Where possible use machines that are located inside a bank, supermarket or building. For more information check the Visa ATM locator, the MasterCard ATM locator or theAmerican Express ATM locator for the addresses of ATMs around the world.

Credit Cards

Credit cards are accepted in most large stores, larger restaurants and hotels in urban areas. Remember to keep all receipts and before signing check that the amount is correct. Credit cards and debit cards should always be used with caution due to the potential for fraud and other criminal activity.

Other Information

Moroccan dirham cannot be exchanged outside the country. Any unused dirhams can be reconverted to hard currency at the airport exchange counter upon departure (provided the exchange desks are open and you have kept the receipts for the dirhams you purchased). It is therefore recommended to exchange only as much money as is required.

Entry Requirements for Western Sahara

Entry Warning

The documentation and fee required for obtaining visas varies according to both your nationality and where you are applying from. It is the sole right of each country to determine who is allowed to enter.

Passport

All passports must be valid for six months and have two clear pages free.

Taxes

Some countries may charge an arrival or departure tax which may or may not be included in the price of an airline ticket, or may need to be paid in cash on arrival or departure.

Visa Requirements

Travelling from Requirements
Australia A visa is not required for stays up to 3 months.
Canada A visa is not required for stays up to 3 months.
Denmark A visa is not required for stays up to 3 months.
Ireland A visa is not required for stays up to 3 months.
Netherlands A visa is not required for stays up to 3 months.
New Zealand A visa is not required for stays up to 3 months.
South Africa A visa is required and should be obtained from the nearest Moroccan embassy before travel.
United States A visa is not required for stays up to 3 months.
United Kingdom British Passport holders with passports endorsed ‘British Citizen’ do not require a visa for stays up to 3 months.

Other Nationalities

Other nationalities should either contact Travcour UK (see below) or their nearest embassy for up-to-date information prior to departure.

Passport & Visa Service

For assistance with obtaining passports and visas UK-based ‘Travcour’ have been offering travellers a comprehensive and reliable travel document service since 1985. www.travour.com

Transport in the Western Sahara

Buses

There are many local buses in Western Sahara. The main bus companies are Supratours (run by Moroccan Railways) and CTM who operate safe and comfortable buses between cities. Various companies operate buses within cities – where you usually pay on the bus.

Taxis

There are two different types of taxi. Grand Taxis operate over fixed routes between major towns and cities, and rather than paying for the whole car, you pay a fixed rate for a seat in the car, the car will not usually depart until it is full. Vehicles vary from Mercedes saloon cars to transit vans and landrovers in the mountains. Most towns have special taxi ranks for grand taxis. Petit Taxis operate in the usual way, they are officially metered though most drivers prefer not to use these. Always check fares before starting the journey.

Car Hire

Cars can be hired in Laayoune and Dakhla through small local agencies.

Driving

Driving is on the right. When driving in cities be aware that local drivers can be notoriously impatient and do not keep to lanes.

Trains

There is no train service in Western Sahara.

Boats

There are no domestic ferry routes.

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