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.

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