According to Countryaah, Western Sahara (English: Western Sahara, Arabic: الصحراء الغربية, aṣ-Ṣaḥrā’ al-Gharbīyah) is an area in Africa bordering Morocco, Algeria and Mauritania. Western Sahara was a colony of Spain until 1975. Since 1975, the area was part of Morocco and Mauritania. Mauritania withdrew in 1979. However, the area has also been claimed since 1976 by the Saharan Arab Democratic Republic (ADRS) with support from Algeria. At present, the vast majority of Western Sahara (approximately 80%) has been annexed byMorocco under the name ‘Southern Provinces’. About 20% is occupied by the Sahara Arab Democratic Republic (ADRS) and the Polisario, which calls it the “free zone.” The capital of Western Sahara is Al-Ajoen. A number of major cities in Western Sahara are: Ejbei Uad el Aabd and Dakhla.
The Western Sahara is an area mainly known for its vast desert plains and a long coastline. The coastline consists of wide sandy beaches and rock formations. In the Western Sahara you will often find primitive villages and few facilities. On the border between the area of Morocco and the ADRS you will encounter many checkpoints and soldiers. Some areas are inaccessible due to the many land mines.
Official name: Western Sahara
Area: 266,000 km²
Country code: EH, ESH
Population: 652,271 inhabitants (2020)
Form of government: Occupied territory
Highest point: 463 m (Mont Puke)
Distance (Amsterdam – Western Sahara): 3,443km
Current status: All trips to the border with Mauritania are discouraged.
Current color code: Yellow and red.
Due to this status, a partially negative travel advice is in effect for Morocco.
Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19), there may be (temporary) measures in Western Sahara that you as a tourist may have to deal with. For the most up-to-date corona travel advice, please refer to our special coronavirus travel advice page. For the number of current corona infections, number of deaths and various corona-related graphs of Western Sahara, please visit Countryaah.
At the moment there are no travel organizations that offer travel to Western Sahara.
Weather and climate
Western Sahara has a desert climate. Temperatures range from 20 degrees in winter to 40 degrees in summer. During the winter months, the temperature can drop to freezing point during the night.
The current weather (weather forecast) and a weather forecast for Western Sahara can be found on our extensive weather page.
Detailed information about the climate of Western Sahara can be found at Climate info.
April, May, June, July, August and September are the best months to travel to Western Sahara. In these months you have the best chance of summer temperatures.
Arabic is the official language in Western Sahara. In addition, Spanish and French are spoken.
Would you like to translate from or into Arabic for free? Use the Google translator for this.
You must have a passport that is still valid when you leave Western Sahara.
A visa is not necessary.
Before visiting Western Sahara, it is advisable to get one or more vaccinations.
For extensive vaccination advice and to make a vaccination appointment at home, please visit Thuisvaccinatie.nl. You can also see here whether your health insurance reimburses the vaccination(s).
Money and Currency
In Western Sahara, people pay with the Moroccan dirham (MAD).
The current position of this currency (currency, currency) can be found on our exchange rate page.
An overview of all ATMs in Western Sahara can be found on our ATMs page.
In the Western Sahara it is 1 hour earlier than in the Netherlands.
Summer time in Western Sahara differs from that in the Netherlands.
The local time, date, time zone and exceptions for Western Sahara can be found on our time difference page.
Traffic and route
In Western Sahara you have to drive on the right.
With the Google route planner you can compile a route description from, to or within Western Sahara.
In Western Sahara the same plugs and sockets are used as in the United Kingdom.
More information about electricity in Western Sahara can be found on our electricity page.
If you need help from the police, fire brigade and/or ambulance in an emergency, you can use the emergency numbers below.
– Police: unknown
– Fire brigade: unknown
– Ambulance: unknown
It is not recommended to drink water from the tap.
If you are unable to buy bottled water, use a water purifier to purify the water or boil the water for 5 minutes. After this you can safely use it as drinking water and for things like brushing teeth, cleaning lenses and washing vegetables and / or fruit. More information about drinking water and/or the purchase of water purification products can be found on our drinking water page.
News and newspapers
The latest news related to Western Sahara can be found on Google news.
An overview of the newspapers from Western Sahara can be found at Abyznewslinks.
Websites from Western Sahara will end in.eh in the future.
This extension has not yet been deployed.
The country code (international access code) to call someone in Western Sahara is 00212 or +212.
Do you want to call the Netherlands from Western Sahara? Then use the Dutch country code 0031 or +31.
(If using a country code, omit the leading 0 of the number to be called.)
Photos and videos
On Flickr you will find a nice collection of photos of Western Sahara.
On Youtube you will find a nice collection of videos from the Western Sahara.
An overview of all public holidays in Western Sahara can be found on Beleven.org.
Reviews and travel experiences
On TripAdvisor you will find traveler reviews of accommodations (eg hotels and holiday homes), restaurants and destinations in Western Sahara, supplemented with photos, videos and points of interest.
Are you looking for a travelogue about the Western Sahara?
Here you will find travel reports and experiences of travelers who have previously visited Western Sahara. It is also possible to keep a free diary of your trip for family and/or friends.
Nature and world heritage
An overview of the protected nature areas (including national parks, reserves and wildlife parks) in Western Sahara can be found on Protected Planet.
Western Sahara is not on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Below you will find relevant legislation and regulations that you may encounter during your visit to Western Sahara.
– Alcohol: Buy from the age of 16, drink at all ages.
– Alcohol and traffic: Maximum permitted alcohol content is 0.
– Tobacco: Buying and/or smoking at all ages.
– Smoking ban: In public places.
– Homosexuality: Not allowed. Prison sentence up to 10 years.
Did you know that…
…Western Sahara has been occupied by Morocco and unilaterally annexed?
…Western Sahara is rich in phosphate mines?
…Agriculture in Western Sahara is virtually impossible due to the lack of rain?
…5% of Western Sahara is part of the Polisario, under the name ‘free zone’?
…The Canary Islands are close to Western Sahara?