Skip to navigation, or go to main content.

WINGS Birding Tours – Information

Western Sahara

In Search of the Golden Nightjar

Tour Information

Note: The information presented here is an abbreviated version of our formal General Information for this tour. Its purpose is solely to give readers a sense of what might be involved if they take this tour. Although we do our best to make sure that what follows here is completely accurate, it should not be used as a replacement for the formal document which will be sent to all tour registrants, and whose contents supersedes any information contained here. 

ENTERING MOROCCO/WESTERN SAHARA: The Western Sahara was a former Spanish colony which was annexed by Morocco in 1975. The local people have been in dispute with Morocco over control of the region, and they have declared it a separate country – The Saharan Arab Democratic Republic which is recognised by various governments and is a member of the African Union. The US and UK governments regard its status as ‘Undetermined’.

Visas are not required for citizens of the USA, UK and Canada for visits lasting less than 90 days. You will need a passport which is valid for six months beyond the intended length of stay.  British passport holders and other EU nationals do not need a visa.  Note: If you have Israeli stamps on your passport you may be refused entry.  As the political situation in the Middle East changes it would be wise to contact your nearest Embassy of the Kingdom of Morocco to check if any Israeli stamp in your passport would prevent you from entering Morocco. If that is the case you may need to apply for a new, spare passport. 

For further information on entry requirements for Morocco, please contact the Embassy of the Kingdom of Morocco at 1601 21st Street NW, Washington, DC 20009, telephone (202) 462-7979 to 82, fax 202-462-7643, or the Consulate General of the Kingdom of Morocco in New York at 10 E. 40th Street, New York, NY 10016, telephone (212) 758-2625, fax 212-779-7441. The website for Morocco: http://www.embassyofmorocco.us/documents.htm

COUNTRY INFORMATION: You can review the U.S. Department of State Country Specific Travel Information at http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/country/morocco.html, and the CIA World Factbook background notes on Morocco at https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/mo.html.

PACE OF TOUR AND DAILY ROUTINE:  This is an unusual tour in that there is not fixed itinerary. There should not be any particularly long walks but we will be driving and stopping at various locations to see what we can find.  The will be excursions at night to look for the Golden Nightjars and other creatures.

On most days, lunch will be a picnic at a birding site.  Finding a wide variety of foods for picnics can sometimes be difficult and people may wish to bring their own cereal bars or snacks. We have two nights camping in the south of the country – please see the description of this in the section on Accommodation.

HEALTH: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all travelers be up to date on routine vaccinations. These include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and your yearly flu shot. 

They further recommend that most travelers have protection against Hepatitis A and Typhoid. 

The most current information about travelers’ health recommendations can be found on the CDC’s  Travel Health website at http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/morocco

Miscellaneous: Mild intestinal disorders are difficult to avoid completely and we suggest that you bring diarrhea medication such as Imodium. Water in Morocco is generally safe in the larger towns but we would recommend that you do not drink tap water, or eat salad anywhere on the tour. As an extra precaution, the leaders even use bottled mineral water for teeth-brushing etc. Bottled water, beer and soft drinks are widely available. 

CLIMATE:  It is generally warm to hot, dry, and sunny throughout the year.  We expect warm to hot daytime conditions although it may get much cooler during the night and along the coast.  We can expect temperatures up into the mid 30’s °C during the middle of the day (though more typically in the mid-twenties) but down to around 10 °C during the night.

ACCOMMODATION: While at Dakhla we will either stay in a hotel in the town, or at Attitude – a holiday hotel to the north of the town established primarily for Kite surfing. This has small holiday bungalows or chalets which have all modern facilities. We will spend two nights camping to the south of Dakhla in the Sahar Desert. Our camps will be simple affairs. The camping equipment will travel with us and the tents will be erected by our drivers and ground crew. They provide small, modern tents with sown-in ground sheets and a mattress and sleeping bag, although you can of course bring your own sleeping bag if you wish. Small camping seats and tables are also provided.  Perhaps the most important thing to realise is that the washing and toilet facilities will be very basic.  There will be a toilet tent but the actual toilet will be little more than a hole in the ground.

INTERNET AND MOBILE PHONE ACCESS:  Mobile phone access can be patchy away from the main towns and non-existent when we are camping in the south of the country.  Internet access will also be very limited.

FOOD:  During our time at Dakhla we can expect to sample local food such as tajines of chicken, lemon and olive; or lamb, prune and almond to couscous with lots of local vegetables. Fish is also a popular evening meal. Breakfast usually consists of a simple selection of bread, eggs, jam, orange juice, tea and coffee.

Drinks: Bottled water and a soft drink/beer or two is provided at lunch and dinner, as is coffee or tea. All other drinks or ‘personal’ drinking water for use in your room is the responsibility of the individual. Bottled water is provided in the tour vehicles during the day.

Food Allergies / Requirements: We cannot guarantee that all food allergies can be accommodated at every destination. Participants with significant food allergies or special dietary requirements should bring appropriate foods with them for those times when their needs cannot be met. Announced meal times are always approximate depending on how the day unfolds. Participants who need to eat according to a fixed schedule should bring supplemental food. Please contact the WINGS office if you have any questions. 

TRANSPORT:  The transport for the tour will be in mainly in 4 x 4 Landcruisers or a minibus. 

Created: 03 May 2017