I’ve read so many magazine articles, blogs, about the X (number) of kitesurfing destinations that should be on any kitesurfer’s bucket-list. Dakhla is definitely one of the names that pops up most of the times. After spending 10 amazing days in Dakhla this June, I have to admit that this is such a perfect place to eat, kite, sleep, and repeat.
According to Wikipedia,
Dakhla (Arabic: الداخلة, Berber: Eddaxla, Spanish: Villa Cisneros) is a city in Western Sahara, a disputed territory currently administered by Morocco. It is the capital of the Moroccan administrative region Dakhla-Oued Ed-Dahab. It has a population of 106,277 and is built on a narrow peninsula of the Atlantic Coast, the Río de Oro Peninsula, about 550 km south of Laayoune.
Random question… Is Western Sahara a country? I asked some locals and was told that Dakhla is part of Morocco…Anyways, this is not the purpose of this blog, but in case you are curious, my geography-savvy friend happened to come across this pic below (source here).
It’s not the most pleasant journey to get to Dakhla, though. I had to fly some 20 hours from Hong Kong to Casablanca, and to catch another 2.5-hr domestic flight, only to arrive at midnight (if you are lucky, otherwise sometimes 4 or 5am in the morning, because there’s always massive delays…). However, when I got to the main spot – the giant lagoon and saw hundreds of kites flying, I knew the travel was worthwhile.
In case you need a spot map:
I stayed with a very nice resort called Zenith. It was a fantastic experience in almost every aspect. To name one, our Saharian Limousine (read: tractor) driver Bouba is fantastic and full of energy! That’s why we opted to hop on Bouba’s tractor every day to get to the beach which is a mere 3-min walk away.
June is slightly earlier than Dakhla’s peak season of July-August. And I’ve read reviews about ‘you can leave your wetsuit at home’ and was lucky not to follow – well, it’s the Atlantic, it’s quite chilly! The majority of kiters I’ve met there are wearing a 2mm (or slightly thicker) shortie.
Wind is usually stronger in the afternoon. And typically the Speed Spot or the White Dune blows an additional 5 knots of wind. So on some days where my 10m isn’t enough, the kite school at the resort organized some amazing downwinders to the White Dune.
Be sure to watch our downwinder to the White Dune, led by a fantastic guide Reda from the kite school.
We passed by the Speed Spot. Because of the sudden drop of the sand base, added with the off-shore wind, the water is as flat as swimming pool. Definitely enjoyed some fast and furious over there.
Dining experience was really fun here, where you sit down with other kiters on a long table and the waiters served you a 3-course lunch or dinner. This is perhaps different from most of the other resorts along the lagoon who offer buffet-style dining. It does have pros and cons, cons being you can’t eat whenever you want, pros being you are ‘forced’ to network with other kiters (I made some really good friends here!) and I had to say, food is simply amazing! I don’t think I had a repeating main dish during my stay here…
We even took a short drive to a local oyster farm located some 11km from our resort. 120 MAD (~ 12Euro) got us super satisfied – we ordered tajines squids, roasted fish, lobsters, oysters.
Dakhla has many other activities to offer, and for that reason, you can’t possibly get bored on a windless day. While some enjoy an adrenaline-boosting buggy drive along the sand dunes, others take a peaceful walk to the city downtown (20 min drive) to sample some local spices. The rest of us decided to drive 20 minutes up north to this local fishing town and enjoyed some awesome session catching waves.
The landscape is simply breathtaking…
One week in, honestly I thought I would never leave this place. Everyone is so laid back here, no one is stressed out. I’m also used to the ‘Morocco time’ here – when you are told that dinner will be served at 8pm, expect it to be at least 30 minutes late 🙂 While waiting, perhaps grab a book, sit back, chill on one of the hammocks, sip some Casablanca beer (or the allegedly best mojito in town!) and enjoy this fantastic Saharian sunset…
The guys from the kite school are really super friendly and welcoming! The instructors, rescuers, assistants are more than eager to help you with pumping, sorting out lines, launching/landing, etc. My kite sturt leaks and Reda (head of the school) stayed behind for 2 hours to help me fix it. Can’t ask for more…
While most of the staff speak English, I still suggest to pick up as much French as you can before you come (otherwise expect some crazy hand gesturing) because French is still the main language here.
Flights typically arrive in Dakhla at midnight (if you are flying Royal Air Maroc from Casablanca), so there’s not much view to see except for catching up with some shut-eye. While the departure flight to Casablanca is in the morning, so if you have a chance – take the window seat on the right. You can admire the amazing lagoon (along with the Dragon Island, Speed Spot and White Dune) one more time from the air.
Zenith Dakhla Kite Resort
Website (kite classes, accommodation, booking): https://www.zenith-dakhla.com/
Address: Pk 27 km Al Argoub 73000 Dakhla, Morocco