Kitesurfing In Dakhla

Round and around the season's blow, with some locations being more affected by seasonality than others; it's an expensive ordeal for any European to take on Australia, Brazil or Cape Town for the winter and one which, to get full value, requires more than a short stay. So how do the more budget or time constrained of us get our fix of winter sun and wind? How do we get lucky? My answer... Kitesurfing in Dakhla!

With its peak season running from April to September, Dakhla can be often overlooked by the crowds as they look elsewhere to travel between October and March.

The large tidal lagoon of Dakhla is blessed with an abundance of windy days throughout the year thanks to a prevailing North Easterly wind which is accelerated by venturi effect as the wind funnels between the steep dunes of the lagoon. In December and January, statistically the least windy months of the year, there are still great odds for kitesurfing in Dakhla. With 60% probability for winds of 4bft or higher, Dakhla should still be on your mind for a last minute trip.

dakhla-hydrofoil-wave-surfing
Kitefoiling in the waves of Lassarga - Image credits: Rich Boughton

A JOURNEY INTO THE DESERT...

Is, in fact, quite a simple thing. Thanks to Royal Air Maroc and their generous baggage policy you can fly from Europe to Dakhla with 23kg personal luggage and a 23kg kite bag for no additional cost.

dakhla-hydrofoil-levitaz
Perfect foiling conditions (©thekitespot)

On arrival, we were met by our transfer driver with 4×4, loaded our gear onto the roof and made the short journey from to the lagoon. We arrived late in the evening, unable to see the expanse of the lagoon upon our arrival at Dakhla Spirit.
After a peaceful night of sleep in our comfortable rooms, we awoke to enjoy the sun rising over the dunes and casting its orange light over the lagoon and golden shoreline.

A DAY OF KITESURFING IN DAKHLA

Arise, enjoy the sunrise, have breakfast, digest. Take your time as the wind usually picks up around 10 am, sometimes a little later. Once the wind starts, you can kite through until sunset, stopping for lunch if you desire.
The wind is sometimes Easterly in the morning and, if this happens, it can take a bit longer for the wind to swing North East and the breeze to kick in.

waveriding-kitesurfing-dakhla
Kiting the cross offshore wind and waves at Oum Lbouer (©thekitespot)

Dakha is a watersports dreamland. If ever you’re waiting on the wind, there’s still plenty to do. From October to March Dakhla receives great swell and surfing or SUPing at Oum Lbouer (also referred to as West Point, the name of the camp there) or Lassarga, home to Ion Club Ocean Vagabond are great ways to hit the water and diversify from kiting at the lagoon.
For anyone who likes to kite waves, these spots provide cross offshore, front side wave riding conditions for regular riders or backside for goofy and their best waves can be ridden around the low tide.

At the lagoon, you can kite all day regardless of tide. On the high tide, the water reaches almost to the recently erected GKA 2018 World Kiteboarding Championships judging tower stationed in front of Dakhla Spirit. The beach gradient is quite low at this area of the lagoon, and it takes a 50m walk out across the sand and seagrass bed to find yourself in waist deep water. Throughout the high tide session, this area of water remains flat with little chop; unlike the centre of the lagoon which forms large chop easily.
On the receding tide, the water pulls back exposing 100m of golden sand and a long strip of seagrass for you to cross to reach the lagoon.

dakhla-kitesurf-raley
Jen enjoying the low tide conditions - Image credits: Rich Boughton

The low tide was my favourite time in the lagoon as a small deep, perfectly flat pocket of water, linking into the main lagoon, would form directly out from Dakhla Spirit which was perfect for both freestyle and hydrofoiling.
At this tidal state, it is worth noting also that the infamous “Speed Spot” works best.

The end of each kitesurfing day is marked by a fiery sunset which scorches the horizon and turns the distant waters of the lagoon crimson.
Pack down your kites, enjoy a hot shower and grab a beer the bar before you sit down for dinner and reflect on the days kiting with your friends.

sunrise-dakhla-spirit
Image credits: Dakhla Spirit

GOOD TO KNOW

Money

Major credit/debit cards are accepted at most of the kite camps around the lagoon. Some Moroccan Dirham or Euro’s can be useful for small spendings in different locations and for tipping the beach assistants at the end of the week.
 

Internet

The internet/cellular quality in Dakhla is okay around the lagoon and the majority of the area. The local mobile carrier has reasonable prices for their data to keep you connected and most camps sell or rent the sim cards, or you can pick one up in Dakhla town.
The wifi in most camps is pretty weak and will slow with more than a few users actively using it.

Airport & Transfers

Royal Air Maroc allows for a 23kg kite bag (220cm x 40cm x 40cm) for no additional cost.
Flights from London Gatwick to Dakhla (1 stop Casablanca) are available for around €400 return, and direct flights from Paris were also available at similar cost.
Airport transfers can be pre-arranged with your accommodation provider and transfer time to the lagoon is typically 30mins.

What’s in the bag?

  • 3:2mm Wetsuit.
  • Kites 7,9,12 with twintip & hydrofoil or 9,12,15 with twintip only.
  • 30spf Suncream – it may be winter, but the sun’s still shining.
  • Warm clothes and a beanie hat for evening chill across the desert.
  • Battery pack for charging mobile devices when the generator is off.
  • Reef shoes for beginners to protect feet from razor shells.

What’s not in the bag?

  • Drones are not allowed in Morocco/Western Sahara and will be confiscated during a bag search.

Don’t miss out on:

  • The Oyster Farm for some truly sublime seafood and a gorgeous view across the lagoon.
  • Oum Lbouer (WestPoint) and Lassarga (Ion Club, Ocean Vagabond) for waves.
  • Kitesurfing in Dakhla Speed Spot for butter flat, knee-deep water and strong winds.
  • Dakhla’s amazing sunrises and sunsets. Be sure to witness each of those first hand; just you, your kite and nature.

The end of each kitesurfing day is marked by a fiery sunset which scorches the horizon and turns the distant waters of the lagoon crimson.

sunset-dakhla-lagoon

TRIP DATA

Month of Travel

 – December

Days kited

– 7/7

Kite sizes used

– 15m (one afternoon with twintip)
– 12m (4 days with twintip)
– 9m (3 days with twin tip, 5 days with hydrofoil)

LET US KNOW WHAT YOU THINK 💬​

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Jen is a co-founder of thekitespot.com. When Jen isn't researching locations or writing articles for the knowledge centre, you'll find her managing The Kitesurf Centre in Camber Sands, UK, or writing equipment reviews for The Kite Mag. Jen rides and coaches most kitesports disciplines but her favourite are waveriding, freestyle and hydrofoiling.

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