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Morocco Overland: From the Atlas to the Sahara - 4WD, Motorcycle, Van, Mountain Bike

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  #1  
Old 3 Feb 2011
moro
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western sahara trip report

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

more on www.e-migrator.com
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  #2  
Old 3 Feb 2011
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Nice report Moro, thanks. You should put all those places on a map some time so we can work out what is what.

Ch
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  #3  
Old 31 May 2011
moro
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WS intineraries

here you go
from previous travels in WS made by me and/or friends

(not necessarily directly connected to the above trip report)
cheers
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western sahara trip report-vre-a-janja-ws-pot.jpg  

western sahara trip report-zid-pot.jpg  

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Old 31 May 2011
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Hah Moro! Thanks for the maps
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  #5  
Old 31 May 2011
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moro / anyone

Can you recommend any guide books for the WS or any blogs or forums with more information please?

I have been to Samara and Laayoune but would love to explore some pistes further south.

Thanks.
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Old 4 Jun 2011
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Gandini: Pistes du Maroc (in french) but the wp's are international

Priffe, my mail still bouncing?
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  #7  
Old 4 Jun 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moro View Post
Gandini: Pistes du Maroc (in french) but the wp's are international
Thank you, ordered the book now.
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Old 7 Jun 2011
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good on you, WPs are reliable
plan carefully where you slip in (would avoid the area around Laayoune)
you can easily wander off to other fresh pistes you encounter, some might only lead to the next nomadic encampment though
a great area to explore, especially nowadays
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  #9  
Old 20 Dec 2011
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For anyone interested these are the outline of the Gandini routes in the book noted above. Link to Book

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Old 7 Feb 2013
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To revive this interesting thread, here is rough sketch of directions I explored in 2011 - 2013.



Can only confirm what moro already said and thank him for inspiring the thought that this land is more than worth visiting.
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Last edited by vrecha; 1 Mar 2013 at 09:13.
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  #11  
Old 9 Feb 2013
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Thanks for posting your routes. When we visited last year we understood you had to have a Mauri visa to be on the main road south of Dahkla. Was that wrong? Or do you go south in the desert then north on the road?
Here's our track. On the red part we were guests of the army, so best to avoid that whole area. On the leg west to Dahkla we had an army escort then got handed over to the Gendarmes.
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  #12  
Old 9 Feb 2013
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Does anyone have any gps tracks they're prepared to share please?

Looking to go down to WS this October and we're looking for anyone else who would be interested?
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  #13  
Old 15 Feb 2013
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i have lived in dakhla for the last 8 years and have many gps tracks south and east,i may be willing to share this knowledge but only with people who respect the dangers and risks involved ,do you intend to use bikes or cars ?
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Old 17 Feb 2013
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We'll be travelling using a dog team and sled





Seriously though a Landcruiser and we've been travelling Morocco for 13 years and over 20 trips so well aware of the risks, thats why we're looking for more vehicles to do the trip. In reality the trip will only get as far south as Dahkla as time is an issue but would welcome constructive advice and tracks. If have a few options from Smara down the east then across to the coast. We'd like to avoid taking the N1 back north if possible. The furthest south we plan is the tropic of Cancer

Gav, thanks for sending yours through and keep in touch about October, your exclusive hotel accomodation sounded..........interesting, from the trip report
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Old 1 Mar 2013
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Had to update the map of tracks above, adding one more made this month. ;-)

Regarding the gps data, I decided not to share anything that involves mine risks with the people I don't know personally.
(And let that be the answer also to the ones that are writing me e-mails asking for gps data.)

If you want to explore, my advice would be:
- get some reasonably good topographical maps to anticipate terrain difficulties (I use some old Russian maps, they are ok and can be found on net).
- Stick to well driven tracks, at least at the beginning.
- Associate and speak with local Saharawis about directions, risks etc (a bit of Arabic and Spanish helps, but inevitaby you will learn the critical phrases very quickly if you are open minded).
- Don't hurry, take your time.

There are many positive aspects of such approach (instead of trying to follow others routes). Among them is surely the unique and rewarding feeling that you truly explore ...
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