Transafrica 2018 STOP 21

May 31, 2018

Atâr – Ad-Dakhla

Flight distance: 273 nm
Hours in the air: 1.30

Kite Surfing Heaven

Our last day in Mauritania started with an early rise. Our tour continued into the mountainous region of the Sahara with tricky roads bringing us to the beautiful oasis and village of Terjit.

We decided to leave a bit earlier and fly out the same afternoon. That was the plan but since the airport in Atar pretty much had to be opened for our departure, things went slow and included some hickups with the officials!

We made it almost in time after all and arrived in windy Dakhlar, where the winds are a good thing and program. This is kind of an odd place to be if one is not a kite surfer; there is no other reason to come here and that’s easy figure out since there’s more than enough of wind, water, sand and sun to be found here.

So we spent a leisure day being part of the kite surfer crowd and adjusting to be back in civilisation after the desert. Things could be worse and more hectic 🙂

Facts & figures

A disputed territory in the Maghreb region of North Africa, partially controlled by the self-proclaimed Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic and partially Moroccan-occupied, bordered by Morocco proper to the north, Algeria to the northeast, Mauritania to the east and south, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west.

Its surface area amounts to 266,000 square kilometres (103,000 sq mi). It is one of the most sparsely populated territories in the world, mainly consisting of desert flatlands. The population is estimated at just over 500,000, of which nearly 40% live in Laayoune, the largest city in Western Sahara.

Occupied by Spain until the late 20th century, Western Sahara has been on the United Nations list of non-self-governing territories since 1963 after a Moroccan demand. It is the most populous territory on that list, and by far the largest in area. In 1965, the UN General Assembly adopted its first resolution on Western Sahara, asking Spain to decolonise the territory. One year later, a new resolution was passed by the General Assembly requesting that a referendum be held by Spain on self-determination. In 1975, Spain relinquished the administrative control of the territory to a joint administration by Morocco (which had formally claimed the territory since 1957) and Mauritania. A war erupted between those countries and a Sahrawi nationalist movement, the Polisario Front, which proclaimed the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) with a government in exile in Tindouf, Algeria.

Mauritania withdrew its claims in 1979, and Morocco eventually secured de facto control of most of the territory, including all the major cities and natural resources. The United Nations considers the Polisario Front to be the legitimate representative of the Sahrawi people, and maintains that the Sahrawis have a right to self-determination.

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