because of laayoune protest camp (Gdim izik) clampdown I was very careful where to enter the westsaharan desert this year: normally I would cut south from Smara but this time I decided to drive to L'mseid south of Laa and then turn east.
Crossed erg Afrafir ( a small but very colorfull affair sout of the Izik Plateau), continued east to sebha Amasin and then turned SSE to Tayarat keeping east of the great oued el Khatt
then crossed over to Iraifia 2 - a 1800 metres deep "forage" with hot thermal water and nobody in sight for a week (except two elder Sahraouis lookin for a lost camel), on to Iraifia 1 (a better now thermal forage becoming a rather big oasis with 6 semipermanent inhabitants
from Iraifia followeds the superfast piste nearly all the eay to PK 40, the roundabout for Dakhla
the second loop took us to sebha Imlili partly along the old tarmac road, encountered a mobile patrouille looking for ... whatever - quite kind and no limitations of movement as a result
continued on to bir Maatallah (mines) and on to Gleibat Masdar and on to beautiful Lleglet, some 20 km W of Awserd (mines and very good water), from there to Lehuejda, where we spent some days with a very interesting Saharaoui family, lots of camel milk and meat, a great camp really - half of it being pro Polisario, the other half pro Morocco ...
SW to Geloua, a cluster of wells (good water) with an interesting medresa for drug abusing kids from Dakhla, on to oued Archane and Dakmar on the tarmac road - the egyptian style hotel is finished, there's wifi and halfway decent connection
as of recently you can buy petrol on the border proper too
all in all, western sahara is definitely the part of sahara where a traveller can enjoy limitless freedom with some limitatitions
namely mines, mostly around strategic wells and passages (very few) - otherwise this very flat but fascinating country is mine free, especially in the south, the people are just great
however, because of liberal rains this year the desert looks like ireland or mongolia in parts, many fast off road sections became rather bumpy, many nomads - great people and no security issues whatsoever
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