Situated on the edge of the Western Sahara desert, the Dakhla peninsula shelters a huge 45 kilometre long flat water lagoon from the Atlantic Ocean, and is surrounded by dramatic dunes and desert topography. It is a kitesurfer’s paradise. After many years of being an avid scuba dive addict, I figured it was time to pick up a new sport. I’m forever and always an ocean guy so kiting seemed like the logical next step for me.
I spent a week here learning to kite from the very beginning and loved every minute of it.
Getting to Dakhla
As of 2018, Dakhla is serviced by Royal Air Maroc from Casablanca and Agadir. Transavia has on and off again direct flights from Paris but it wasn’t running when I was here in October. I checked their website again and they do have some incredible fares from Paris for 150 euros round trip in fall and winter. From the US, there are direct flights from New York to Casablanca to Dakhla on Royal Air Maroc. Alternatively, I flew from New York to Paris via Level Airlines which you can read my review of that flight, Paris to Casablanca to Dakhla which was much cheaper.
From Paris to Casablanca to Dakhla, I paid about 300 euros for a round trip fare. Flights are twice a day from Casablanca, one in the morning at 7:55am and one in the evening at 9:30pm. Most people will take the night time flight unless you are staying overnight in Casablanca. The flight arrives just before midnight.
I booked a cheap guesthouse nearby to the airport so I wouldn’t have to pay for the first night of accommodation at the more expensive resort.
From Dakhla, you will clear Moroccan Immigration and customs before heading to your kitesurf resort or guesthouse in the town of Dakhla. Note that Morocco STRICTLY forbids all drones in the country which is a shame because drones are the best way of taking good footage while kiting. They specifically x-ray and verbally ask you for drones when you enter the country. If you’re found with a drone, it will be confiscated permanently and you may even be fined.
Where to stay in Dakhla
The town of Dakhla is like most other North African towns I’ve seen. It’s non-assuming with a local souk, mosques and restaurants. It is right on the water however and there are some nice views to be had. More than likely, you’ll be visiting Dakhla for kitesurfing which means you’re likely to stay at one of the great kitesurf resorts 30 minutes north of Dakhla. This is where the lagoon is and the mecca for kitesurfing.
There are a lot of offerings for kitesurfers of all budgets. The resorts are all ideally located in the lagoon where the winds funnel through leading to some excellent downwind currents. There is nothing in the area whatsoever besides the resorts so you’ll be spending your entire trip either kiting on the lagoon or at the resort.
Thankfully the resorts here all seem to be quite wonderful and perfect for those looking to do nothing but kite. I researched every resort before arriving. I read TripAdvisor reviews, looked at pictures, read blogs etc. Dakhla Attitude was the very first resort that opened here a decade ago. They have a prime location where the two lagoons converge and are located next door to the Speed Spot (for better winds). Since then, there have been almost 10 new resorts added with more coming from the looks of it. I’ve made a map of all the resorts in the area and go into detail at the end of this post.
Alternatively, for those that don’t want to subjugate themselves to a single resort for the entire time, there are plenty of Airbnbs, hotels, and guesthouses in Dakhla Town. There are numerous restaurants, shisha bars, and other attractions in the town to keep things interesting. All of these in town accommodation options outsource their kitesurfing to the resorts so you will just be making day trips for when you want to kite.
Staying at Dakhla Evasion
After extensively researching the resorts in Dakhla, I chose to stay at Dakhla Evasion. They had good reviews and the cheapest prices for a single traveler.
The rooms at Dakhla Evasion
I stayed in the cottage rooms which are the cheapest rooms available at the resort. This included all 3 meals as well and is the standard package for all the resorts in Dakhla. You have no where else to eat so you must take the food packages here, similar to when I was diving in Sipadan, Malaysia.
I was expecting something much more budget and was very pleasantly surprised by how nice my room was. I had views of the lagoon, a nice double bed, and plenty of room. The room was also cleaned once a day which was great. The shared bathrooms were basic but had everything I needed including hot water for a nice shower after a long day of kiting.
For those looking for something nicer, the chalets at Dakhla Evasion are incredibly nice and offer unobstructed views of the lagoon with a personal bathroom. The chalets are €118 per night for a single traveler, and €198 for two people which I think is a great deal. For mid-range pricing, the bungalows at Dakhla Evasion offer private bathrooms but not the large spacious windows like the chalets.
The Food at Dakhla Evasion
The food was also fantastic. As almost all the clientele is French here, the cuisine was French-Moroccan which was plenty good for me. Breakfast would be croissants, crepes, pastries, and eggs with orange juice, coffee etc.
Lunch would change every day between fresh grilled fish, Moroccan tagines with cous cous, breads, salads, and fruits. Dinner would also be different each day with offerings like tagines, kafta, fish, and meats. Everything is served buffet style and there’s always enough food to go around. I ate way more than I normally would and I can assure you that Dakhla Evasion didn’t make much money off me as far as accommodation goes. For €58 a night for my accommodation and all food, it was such a great deal. With the amount of food I was eating, even in Moroccan prices would have been at least €20 a day. I was plenty happy with my decision here!
The resort has a pool with a bar which is a great place to relax on days with no wind. The bar was fully stocked with beefs and cocktails, which are not included in the price of accommodation but still reasonably priced.
Surprisingly, they did not have shisha because apparently it is forbidden for them to sell it (which I’m not sure if I believe or not). Luckily, I befriended one of the employees here and he bought me a shisha in Dakhla town. It was put to very good use during my time here. Kite, eat, shisha, and sleep. A great way to pass your time by.
My only gripe was the wifi only really worked when you sat right next to the router in the bar. There is so much nice lounge space at the resort that I wish I could have used it elsewhere but the signal was always weak
Kitesurfing in Dakhla
Dakhla’s kitesurfing is one of the world’s most famous and best locations. The long lagoon with views of the desert in the background makes for stunning scenery while kiting. The water is flat and warm year round making it a great place for those looking to learn, like myself.
Best Time of Year to Visit Dakhla
The best months to visit Dakhla are February, May, June, and July. I came in October and the wind was rather weak and there were some days where I did nothing during the morning, having to wait for the wind to come and not starting my kiting until 3pm or later. Some days there was no wind at all, which means there’s very little to do. There are some desert and camel tours to be had but I’ve been on plenty of camels. Some people elected to go surfing on the ocean side and others would do paddle boarding. Most people just resigned to the fact that there just wasn’t much to do and relaxed.
Like anything, traveling during shoulder seasons means you can have great wind or no wind. I was just a little unlucky! If I’m traveling shoulder seasons again, I would definitely instead go to Dahab, Egypt next time as Dahab has spectacular diving as well as great kiting. Kiting and diving complement each other very well. On days with no wind, the conditions are perfect for diving but not so for kiting, and the opposite applies.
Prices of Kiting
As I’m not an expert on kiting (yet), I am not familiar with what fair prices are around the world. I think Dakhla is for sure on the lower end of the pricing spectrum which is another reason to come here! Kiting equipment is more or less the same price around the world, and after you are experienced enough to kite on your own, you don’t need anything else besides the equipment and wind.
Compare this to diving here you need equipment, a boat, gas, crew, and a guide and you can see why prices vary drastically for diving (like Dahab versus Turks and Caicos). Renting kite gear will not vary that much from place to place, although lessons will.
At Dakhla Evasion, lessons are done and charged on a per 2h basis and the more hours you book, the cheaper it gets. I had lessons in the morning and the afternoon assuming wind conditions were good (which it wasn’t for some of the days). I think the average person will need at least 10h-12h of lessons to get a grasp of the sport. After 12 hours, you should be able to get up on the board and start going back and forth. Add another 4-8 hours to get transitions down and most importantly, how to ride upwind. Until you can ride upwind on your own, most shops will not rent you equipment without having to take lessons.
I think wakeboarding is by far the most similar sport to kiting. They use the same board and it’s the same activity except you’re being pulled by a kite as opposed to a boat. If you have wakeboarding and paragliding experience, then you lead a very interesting life and can probably pick up kitesurfing in a day. Otherwise, I would allocate at least 3-4 days of full kite days to get the basics.
Lessons are charged either on a group lesson, semi private (2 people), or private with private being the most expensive. Always do the private lessons or semi private if you’re with a friend. A group lesson with 4 people means you have 1 or 2 kites max between 4 people and you will only get to practice for half the time so in the end, the prices work out to be the same.
I didn’t know this before coming here so I booked a group lesson package with a week of rental gear for 510 euros, which was one of the cheapest prices I found in Dakhla. I was the only English speaker at the resort so while I booked group lessons, there was no one else they could put with me so it ended up actually just being private lessons. Score!
In fact, I would recommend all non-French speakers to book group lessons for the cheaper rate and you’ll likely luck out with your own instructor.
The speed spot is exactly what it sounds like, a spot for greater wind flow leading to better speeds on the kite. If you’re staying at Dakhla Club, Dakhla Attitude, Dakhla Spirit, or PK25, your front porch will be the speed spot. Otherwise, you will kite downwind from the other resorts until you reach the speed spot. To get back to the resort, our resort would pick us up by truck and drive us home. This is probably the best spot to kite in the area and on low wind days, the speed spot is your best choice to ride.
This is one of Dakhla’s claims to fame. It is a giant white sand dune in the middle of the sea, like an elevated sandbar. It is located slightly south of the lagoon and the wind around it allows for epic kiting. For those that are good enough to jump and do tricks, this place is your spot to get some of the coolest pics available in kiting.
Sadly, there was not enough wind to visit the white dune on my trip. Even if there was, I was certainly not at the skill level to do cool jumps on and off the dunes. If I was skilled enough however, this would be tops on my list of places to visit here.
All Dakhla Kite Resorts
Every resort more or less functions the same way. You have multiple tiers of accommodation options within a resort from luxury chalets with private bathrooms and great views, to more budget cabana type accommodation with shared bathrooms. I didn’t see any hostel type accommodation where you are sharing rooms with strangers.
Each resort has a kite school with your standard lessons from beginner to advance, as well as equipment rental. Some resorts are IKO licensed while others are not. As for food, every resort is on an all-inclusive buffet style dining plan where the price of food is baked into the cost quoted for accommodation. There are no restaurants (or anything) here so you have no choice but to eat at your resort. Some resorts have better food than others but for the most part, it seemed like the food served at the resorts are all quite good.
Prices for accommodation (and food) are quoted on a total basis. It’s likely you’ll get a much better deal if you are traveling with another person or two. If you’re a solo traveler, you can rent a single room at the single price. If you are 2 people, you can share that same room and pay less per person (and the food is always included as part of the price).
This is one of the more expensive resorts in Dakhla. Located next to Dakhla Spirit, it offers bungalows that all face the lagoon with spectacular views. Note that prices below are total price.
Single occupancy: €140
Double occupancy: €180
Triple occupancy: €210
10h lessons semi-private: €485
10h private lessons: €735
1 week rental gear: €245
Zenith Kite and Spa
This is a super modern resort that looked quite upscale from the pictures. The resort I stayed at was next door to the Zenith and it looked very nice. On one of the days without wind, I walked over to check it out. It is extremely nice and modern. It looks like something out of a modern lifestyle magazine. Also, the clientele there were distinctively not French which may be good or bad depending on what language you’re into.
Their website doesn’t list any prices but I think the prices here are definitely on the higher end. I think a room for two would be 200 to 250 euros a night. Also, they have a tractor that brings all your kite gear from the resort to the water which is nice.
This was the resort I was originally looking to stay at. They had great reviews and the resort looked very nice as well. Sadly, I booked too late and their only available rooms where the higher end rooms at a price I didn’t care to pay for.
Single occupancy Young Blood bungalow: €105
Double occupancy Young Blood bungalow: €130
Single occupancy Pacha Bungalow: €144
Double occupancy Pacha Bungalow: €184
10h group lessons: €350
10h lessons semi-private: €480
10h private lessons: €750
1 week rental gear: €300
Dakhla Spirit had the cheapest accommodations I could find. The tents here are only €50 per person with shared bathroom. The reviews and pictures didn’t look so nice however so I ended up skipping it (although their bungalows are very well priced).
Single occupancy tent: €50
Single Bungalow: €79
Single bungalow with lagoon view: €100
Double bungalow: €130
Double bungalow with lagoon view: €160
10h group lessons: N/A
10h Semi-Private: €475
10h Private: €730
1 week equipment rental: €270
This is the original kitesurf resort in Dakhla. They have a huge resort with capacity for 300 people! There are many different room types available at different prices and most of them were on the higher side. Many of the people I met had stayed at Dakhla Attitude once before but preferred a smaller venue. If you’re a single non French speaking traveler, this may be a good choice as there will be tons of different people here where you can make friends and have a good time.
Ultimately decided on this camp. The reviews were good and the prices seemed the most competitive. More on this resort below:
Single occupancy cabin: €58
Single bungalow: €87
Single Chalet: €119
Double ccabin: €96
Double bungalow: €138
Double Chalet: €198
10h Group lessons: €280
10h Semi-Private: €470
10h Private: €720
1 week equipment rental: €365
I was also considering this resort as it received very good reviews. In the end, the prices are a bit higher than others so I decided against it. The pictures of this place look insane. It is nestled on top of the hill with spectacular views of both lagoons. All the other resort managers raved about Dakhla Club so I would certainly consider staying here for a return trip.
Single occupancy budget bungalow: €70
Single occupancy standard bungalow: €85
Double occupancy standard Bungalow: €130
10h group lessons: N/A
10h lessons semi-private: €400
10h private lessons: €600
1 week rental: €210
Dakhla Kitesurf World
This is one of the cheaper places I found and is also a new resort. It is located next to Zenith and Dakhla Evasion. I visited the resort on a windless day and liked what I saw.
Single occupancy standard bungalow: €79
Double occupancy standard bungalow: €125
Single occupancy deluxe Bungalow: €90
Double occupancy deluxe Bungalow: €135
10h group lessons: €280
10h lessons semi-private: €400
10h private lessons: €680