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Sahara Surf Part 3: Into Western Sahara

by on Friday 30th January, 2009   7472 Views

Day 9
Leaving the blue waves of Taghazoute behind, we load up and drive again. After the essential stop to restock on beers and water for the country ahead we make good progress. From Tiznit the countryside opens up and gets very brown and then sandy coloured. We get some spectacular views of immense flat bottomed valleys and dead straight road stretching into heat haze in the distance.

A wreck on the Skeleton Coast

Near Tan Tan we start getting stopped and asked for our details for the first time. This becomes regular as we get closer the disputed Western Sahara. Rob then excels himself by speeding - according to copilot Steve, at about twice the limit - through town and gets pulled over. The first fine of the trip! Steve’s language over the radio does not bear repeating. Rob seems almost happy to now be getting “souvenirs” on his international license too.
We are in a landscape that Lonely Planet describe as desperately arid and lacking in any moisture. It is worth noting that Sahara Surf appeared to be driving through what looked distinctly to me like mist and drizzle this afternoon. And puddles. Anyway…
Steve, now driving Daffy, does a little wiggle over the road, flirts with an onrushing truck and just holds it together as it misses by a particularly thin whisker


We push on through Tan Tan and have about an hour or so night drive, dodging sand drifts along the road edges…. Steve, now driving Daffy, does a little wiggle over the road, flirts with an onrushing truck and just holds it together as it misses by a particularly thin whisker and wobbles back to his side of the road. Following in the Green Machine, our hearts are in our mouths. Rob, in Daffy’s passenger seat, (the radio is flat thankfully for our delicate ears) apparently nearly suffers a fit and has some choice desciptive words to relate later. Best we stop for the night….. pull into a little town called Tarfaye. Swamped by kids who see our boards and say they are surfers and will show us great spots in walking distance tomorrow…..excellent!  We now have a massive tagine being cooked for us - everyone is seriously getting into tagines, especially Steve who is well on the way to getting addicted - so I will sign off and go get some before the others trough it all.

Day 10
Drive south from Tarfaye….flat flat terrain. Scrub and light brown. Not sure exactly where but cross into Western Sahara. Layounne, garrison town and mad hunt for unleaded fuel for the Audi. Non. We fill up tank and jerrycans with normal leaded fuel and hope its ok! South….sand dunes common now. We drive to Al Marsa port but not looking good for surf. Done 2,800 miles now. The Skeleton Coast has awesome desert scenery with mini-canyons, rocky outcrops etc. Massive open horizons with shipwrecks visible along this immense, long, windy desolate coast.
Arrive Dakhla just after dark and find other groups at a campsite down a dirt track isolated outcrop right by a beach. We can hear surf…perfect.

The break at the campsite

Day 11
Another much-needed rest day. Surf first thing and again later at the beach right by the camp site. Big in the morning- head high, but chilled longboard waves, long rights, good fun but tough paddle against big currents. A lovely day…. we have now surfed in Western Sahara! Sort cars ready for the desert - we are joining with the other groups here to make a 10 car convoy to cross into Mauritania and go through the national park desert and down the beach to Noakchott.
Tomorrow to the border at Nouadibou, leaving at 6am…..

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