Western Saharan Rare Wildlife Tour
March 26, 2023 - April 2, 2023£725 – £2018
This tour focuses on the elusive desert wildlife (particularly mammals) of the wonderful and remote Western Sahara. There is a special focus on the rare and iconic nocturnal mammals of this part of the world and so there are some very long (but productive and rewarding) nights of spotlighting throughout the trip. Some of our targeted species are among the rarest and most elusive nocturnal creatures in the world, animals such as African golden wolf, Fennec & Ruppell’s Foxes, African wild cat, Sand Cat, Saharan Striped Polecat & Desert Hedgehog are all possible. The tour will involve some stunning desert camping and after dark the beautiful and spectacular starry skies are among some of the best in the world.
All in all this tour is a great overview of the Western Sahara’s fascinating and unique wildlife, much of which is very difficult to see elsewhere.
Top Animals on Tour
African Wild Cat
African Golden Wolf
Saharan Striped Polecat
Most flights arrive in Dakhla via Casablanca and arrive in the early morning where we will be met by our local guide and transferred to a comfortable tourist hotel nearby.
Dakhla Bay & Desert Campsite
On our first morning, we will go for birdwatching along the nearby coastline; we hope to see many migrant waders in the shores of Dakhla Bay, as well as osprey, West African crested tern (recently split from royal tern), Audouin’s and slender-billed gulls and greater flamingo. Several species of cetacean are occasionally seen offshore and so we will keep a look out for these in the distance. Some Pelagic bird species are often seen too, such as pomarine skua, razorbill or European storm petrel.
After lunch, we will be ready to move inland and towards our first desert location. Some of the highlights we hope to see along the way this afternoon include birds such as cream-coloured courser, crowned and spotted sandgrouse, cricket warbler, black-crowned sparrow-lark and Dunn’s lark. The flocks of desert Sparrows could contain one or two gorgeous Sudan golden sparrows as well, we will pay close attention to these as they fly by.
We will then arrive at our campsite, we will spend two nights here, at this campsite which has been specially set up for us, in the heart of the desert. The tents will be fairly basic, but any lack of luxury or comfort, will be highly rewarded by the vast wilderness of the landscape, and by the “wow factor” of spectacular starry skies once darkness falls. Night drives will be the major feature of this tour, so in order to compensate for this and give clients and guides sufficient time to rest, on most days we will not begin our activities until the early afternoon. After dark we will have long night drives looking for various nocturnal wildlife, including all of our highly targeted nocturnal mammals.
After breakfast on day 4, we will leave our camp and head to our next wildlife watching destination. We will stay here for three nights and our accommodation will be a permanent desert house. This house is the only permanent accommodation option in the area and, while comfortable, is still very basic. It will offer more in the way of facilities than our previous tented accommodation (while still being rustic and remote). We will have access to spectacular areas for nocturnal creatures, and we will continue with long night drives in search of wildlife. Both in the Desert House and our campsite, we hope to see Ruppell’s and fennec foxes, African golden wolf, sand cat, African wildcat, desert hedgehog and Saharan striped polecat (Libyan striped weasel).
Nocturnal birds too, so, good chance of finding Pharaoh eagle-owl, either at night or at a day roost. We will use our journey from the camp to the desert house as a spotlighting drive (the area in between is one of the very best for Sand Cat), so, we will not arrive at our accommodation until approximately 02:00 am on Day 5. We will then rest until the mid-late afternoon on day 5 and repeat with night drives on the following two days here.
This is our last full day in the Western Sahara and once we leave the house we will make our way back to Dakhla. In the evening once we arrive we will enjoy a relaxing final dinner and will recall the great selection of encounters with exciting species.
After breakfast you will be transferred to the airport in time to catch your return flight home.
Please note that the itinerary stated above is correct as our planned intentions for the tour. However adverse weather conditions and other local considerations can necessitate some modifications of the itinerary during the course of the tour; any changes will be made to make the best of the time and weather conditions available to us.
This tour is available on different date (subject to availability) please contact us for more details about running this tour on a date which suits you more.
The weather in the Western Sahara is pretty consistent throughout the year, the cooler months are between November – May where temperatures from 12-26C are normal and then from June – October temperatures over 30C are not uncommon. Rainfall is very rare here, with around 47mm of rain falling annually and most of that occurs near the coast in December & January. Be prepared for hot and dry weather throughout.
Everything mentioned in the itinerary is included. Including three meals per day (breakfast, lunch and dinner) – some meals when travelling and passing through cities are not included. When camping we bring all food and a cook with us. There will be an amount of bottled water (approx 1ltr) available for each guest each day. We have our own private vehicle to be driven by a local guide for transfers when needed.
All our excursions including guided walks, hide use and park entrance fees are included; we also include all fees for our team including cooks, assistants and guide.
We recommend you bring along your own binoculars in addition to your camera as well as appropriate clothing; which should be both light and durable walking clothes as well as clothes that cater for hot and dry daytime temperatures and also chilly night temperatures. The long spotlighting drives can get cold, so a jumper or fleece is recommended. Any medication, books or other items of a personal nature is of course up to you to bring along. Oh and please bring plenty of memory cards or film for your camera.
The only piece of camping equipment you will need to provide yourself is the sleeping bag.
We provide a comprehensive species list of all the vertebrates present in the areas we are visiting as well as some of the best field guides and reference books for the areas we are visiting. We have also provided high powered spotlight for looking for nocturnal wildlife. When camping all of the camping equipment (excluding sleeping bags) are included.
Nearly everything is included in this tour. The only things not included are international flights, travel insurance (contact us for more information one what is required from your insurance policy), any food bought outside of the three main meals, drinks outside of any offered with the meals and the bottled water provided each day and any items of a personal nature such as souvenirs and tips. Any applicable departure taxes and not included (but maybe included in the cost of your flights). Please check before departure.
As we are based in Manchester we recommend flights from Manchester International Airport
We recommend Air France as a good airline for flights to Cassablanca in Morocco and then Royal Air Maroc for the flight onto Dakhla. One of the best websites to search for the best fares for these flights is www.odopo.co.uk; who are IATA accredited this is a link direct to their site. Please check our terms and conditions regarding booking flights.
Please contact us for more information about flights and we can provide you with a link direct to the flights from another supplier; in which case you only have to enter the passenger information and payment details. By using the above link you will leave our site and we at Royle Safaris hold no responsibility for the content on the site.
Visas and Health Information
All UK passport holders and most other nationalities do not require a visa ahead of arrival into either Morocco or Western Sahara. You will be issued a 90 day tourist visa on your arrival. However things can and do change, so we recommend you check the current information on Morocco and Western Sahara’s embassy or consulate website in your home country.
There are no mandatory vaccinations needed to visit Morocco or the Western Sahara, but it is recommended to be protected against polio, typhoid, tetanus and hepatitis A & B and rabies. Please consult your GP about your individual requirements for visiting Morocco as soon as you have decided on this trip.
Reviews of this Holiday
Bonnie Shirley - Michigan
Alex & Morgan Law - Edinburgh
Mrs. I. Setters - Dublin
Being in the quiet wilderness was so nice after the hustle and bustle of normal life.
The Alberts - Lanarkshire
Mr. Keith Dentith - Chester, UK