Dakhla, Western Sahara

Caravan by Habitas Dakhla

Price per night from$208.47

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 60 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (MAD2,082.73), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

Style

Let’s go ride a kite

Setting

Windy Western Sahara

Set by a lagoon in the Western Sahara region, Caravan by Habitas Dakhla will sweep you off your feet. Not necessarily in a down-on-one-knee way – more so high in the sky strapped into a harness. This is one of the world’s premier destinations for kitesurfing (especially when it comes to beginners) – so much so the hotel has its own school – or foiling, or wave riding, or aerial tricks and more. It’s thrilling, but the stay isn’t devoid of romance either, with pouffes spread out round a bonfire come evening, Latin-Moroccan feasting with live local music, villas with alfresco showers and glazed fronts from which to admire the moon-like landscape, plus the Habitas group’s cool communal feel – all guaranteed to give you a natural high.

Smith Extra

Get this when you book through us:

A bottle of sparkling wine

Facilities

Photos Caravan by Habitas Dakhla facilities

Need to know

Rooms

24, including some villa-style stays.

Check–Out

Noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm.

Prices

Double rooms from £180.42 (MAD2,291), including tax at 10 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of MAD21.00 per person per night on check-in.

More details

Rates include a light, healthy breakfast.

Also

Uneven terrain makes this stay unsuitable for guests with mobility issues.

At the hotel

Kitesurfing school and shop, lagoon, treatment room, indoor and outdoor lounging areas, and free WiFi. In rooms: minibar, bathrobes and slippers, free bottled water, and organic locally made bath products.

Our favourite rooms

There are four types of room here, all simply dressed but with Habitas’s bohemian panache (embroidered pouffes scattered on decks, Berber rugs, intricate wood panelling). The Desert Riad rooms are laid out around a shared courtyard, so are quite sociable, but if you’re arriving with a group of kitesurfing enthusiasts, book one of the villas that sleep three or four (we especially like the Dune Villa for its alfresco shower and bath tub).

Poolside

The unheated pool is a picturesque swimming spot (open 9am to 6pm), with curved edges, lanterns that softly glow after sundown and views of the lagoon. Day-beds and parasols are laid out around the curves and the bar is right beside you.

Spa

The hotel has one treatment room (with two beds for couples to be pampered together), where you can have various kinds of massages when you’re on a kite-flying comedown). Yoga and meditation sessions are held alfresco here.

Packing tips

You don’t need to bring your own gear, because there’s Naish International-branded kit aplenty at the onsite school (including wet suits to buy), but if you do, the hotel offers storing, rigging, cleaning and packing services. Otherwise bring layers for cooler evenings, a water bottle, reef-safe sunscreen, aloe vera, a sunhat and polarised sunglasses. And, bring any life-strifes – the hotel's welcoming ceremony encourages you to use symbolic sand to lock them away in a wooden box before unleashing them on a desert breeze.

Also

If you want to improve your aerial-dynamic skills, then book in for the hotel’s more intensive Pro Clinic Camp.

Children

Children are welcome to stay, but there are no facilities or dedicated diversions, and they must be 12 or over (and weigh at least 35 kilogrammes) to kite surf.

Food and Drink

Photos Caravan by Habitas Dakhla food and drink

Top Table

Pick the embroidered pouffe that most appeals to you out of those gathered round the bonfire.

Dress Code

Wiggle out of your wetsuit and into something floatier.

Hotel restaurant

Dakhla might be sand-dusted, but there’s a surprising abundance of local produce, with an oyster-breeding station close by and a steady supply of lobster, octopus and more shellfish; souk-sought veggies and bread baked in the hotel’s clay oven daily. The Mexican chef gives menus a Latin American flavour (in a nod to Habitas’s Tulum roots) and Moroccan spice, with dishes such as shrimp in a coconut-saffron sauce with roasted mango, octopus in chimichurri, mojo-marinated fish and zingy tagines. And don’t miss the oyster tastings if one is taking place during your stay, when an array of exotic fixings are laid out.

Hotel bar

At night, the bonfire is lit, live music strikes up (likely by an artist in residence), drinks flow, and the sociability Habitas is known for is evident in communal kitesurfing recaps. Drinks shake up classics with the likes of mango coladas, mojitos with crème de cassis and red-pepper margaritas. And you can sip poolside too.

Last orders

Breakfast is served from 8.30am to 11am, lunch from 1pm to 5pm, and dinner from 7pm to 10.30pm.

Location

Photos Caravan by Habitas Dakhla location
Address
Caravan by Habitas Dakhla
Avenue El Aargoub No. 01/7724
Dakhla
73000
Morocco

Caravan by Habitas Dakhla is laid out by the northerly point of Dakhla lagoon, a 25-minute hike from the Atlantic coast.

Planes

There are direct flight routes to Dakhla Airport from Paris, Casablanca, Agadir and Gran Canaria; anyone arriving from further afield will need to connect. The hub is a 30-minute drive from the hotel, and transfers for up to three guests are included in the room rate (additional guests can be added for US$17 each).

Automobiles

With some planning, it’s possible to drive to and around Dakhla – if you’re crossing over from Morocco, you’ll need to bring personal and car documentation (and there’ll be a charge), and bring photocopies of your passport for desert checkpoints. Roads are generally in good condition, although driving at night isn’t advised, and distances are long (journeys can take days, with overnight stop-offs at service stations or campsites). But, it’s fairly straightforward: the N-1 follows the scenic route along the coast and will pretty much drop you at the hotel’s door, and there’s free parking onsite.

Worth getting out of bed for

Dakhla has a complicated past: it was formerly occupied by Spain, and, since 1975, it’s been occupied by Morocco and remains disputed territory in the Western Sahara. It can make travel here a little more complicated (and it’s best to check government guidelines before visiting), but those making the journey are met with immense beauty. The region has a lunar-esque landscape, dimpled desert dunes, flamboyances of flamingoes feeding by the sparkling lagoon (at the top of which Caravan by Habitas Dakhla sits), fine-sand beaches, herds of camels, a souk, farms and a smattering of hotels, but the most likely reason why you’ve journeyed here is the windy Atlantic coast, which makes it one of the hottest spots for kitesurfing, due to its shallow waters and safer inland setting, and more levitating-over-the-water fun. After all, there are 300 windy days a year (with the less-buffeted days through December and January), the lagoon is all set for adrenaline rushes, the Atlantic coast is just a 25-minute hike away, and the hotel even has its own kitesurfing school (in partnership with sports brand Naish International), so beginners and old-hands alike can get off to a flying start. Try strapless kitesurfing into wave-riding, kite- or wing-foiling and aerial tricks, and freestyle kite tricks. Or, you could go surfing, windsurfing, wake-boardingpaddle-boarding, catamaran sailing, bird watch by the lagoon, take a guided four-wheel drive into the Imlili desert, or ride a cycle or ATV, or even sail or hike out to Dragon Island (shaped like its namesake creature). Yoga (Monday to Saturday) and meditation (Wednesday at 11.30am) sessions are held alfresco onsite, and live music performances come courtesy of whichever artist in residence is resident at the time (former creatives include Argentine composer Lumbrero). 

Reviews

Photos Caravan by Habitas Dakhla reviews

Anonymous review

Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this windswept hotel by Dakhla’s lagoon and unclipped their kitesurfing harnesses, a full account of their up, up and away break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Caravan by Habitas in the Western Sahara…

For somewhere that’s highly renowned for kitesurfing, Dakhla in the Western Sahara has flown under the radar as a destination for a while. It is in disputed territory, which can add some complications (you’ll need your documentation all in order, especially if driving there), and it’s quite remote, but for those dedicated to the sport – or simply intrigued – it deserves recognition, especially since the arrival of Caravan by Habitas Dakhla. Its location by the placid lagoon, with many windy days and close proximity to the Atlantic coast, make it Goldilocks territory for rising high over the water, riding it on a board or foil, learning gravity-defying tricks and other full-throttle watersports. And, there’s dreamy desert scenery and dramatic dunes to explore by land. As part of the Habitas group, the hotel has a more intimate feel than some nearby stays, with a small surf school, and low-key yet coolly dressed riad-style suites and villas, a Latin-Moroccan restaurant, and sociable evenings spent round the bonfire with live local music. This is one guaranteed to take off. 

Book now

Price per night from $208.47