Dakhla Kiteboarding – Traveler’s Guide

If kiteboarding in Dakhla, Morocco is on your kite-trip bucket list, here is your guide for this amazing spot. And if you’re not familiar with Dakhla, keep reading and grab your bucket…you’re going to want to add this.

What Makes Dakhla Kiteboarding So Special?

I’ve been to Dakhla twice, once in May of 2016 and again in May of 2018. Both times, the wind blew everyday from 7am to 8pm. And it was strong! I weigh 130 pounds, and used my 5m kite for 8 out of the 10 days and my 7m for the other two on my last visit. In addition to the awesome wind, I met only super enthusiast kiters in Dakhla. The place has very limited options for accommodation and entertainment. There is basically no non-wind activities, so NO ONE who doesn’t kite is going to Dakhla. If you want a kite-only vacation, Dakhla is the place for you. Your daily schedule will look like this: wake up, walk to the resort dining room, walk to kite storage, get on the water. It’s all very convenient and it makes kiting as easy as falling out of the bed.

Popular Kite Spots in Dakhla

  • The Main Inlet – Most of the kiters in Dakhla kite on the inlet where the resorts are located. The inlet has a lot of rolling swells but no actual breaking waves. The water is fairly choppy and the center of the inlet has some decent sized swell. It gets busy on the inlet in all of the areas–Dakhla is a very popular spot! But it’s no where as busy as a place like Cabarete. Some of the resorts have a designated “lesson” area in front, so beginners can stay in those areas if they are nervous, and the more experienced kiters have an area to enter without having to dodge beginners.
Dakhla Kiteboarding - The Main Inlet
The Main Inlet at Dakhla
  • The Speed Spot – Most of the resorts will take you, by car or by downwinder, to this spot. The wind is offshore here, and the water is an inlet within the inlet It’s glassy and shallower than any other spot in the main inlet. It gets crowded because so many people want to kite the glass, but it’s definitely worth a trip here.
Kiteboarding in Dakhla - Inlet View
A view of the Dakhla Inlet
  • Downwinder to the Oyster Farm – The most common downwinder, this trip takes about two hours to complete and ends at the Speed Spot. As you approach the Oyster Farm, which I never actually saw, the swells get bigger and the water is a little more fun. You’re approaching the end of the inlet, and the ocean swell starts to make their way into the inlet a little farther down.
  • The Oceanside – The oceanside in on the outside of the inlet. It’s great for kitesurfers and traditional surfers. The waves are big, so it’s not a great spot for beginner wave riders, but it’s definitely enjoyable–I’ve been told, I haven’t kited there. The only problem with this spot is that the hotel, which was built there to accommodate kitesurfers and regular surfing tourists, has actually interfered with the wind. What used to be great off-shore wind conditions is now a bit gusty and dirty because of the hotel structures. If you’re looking for waves in Dakhla, though, this is where you want to be.
Dakhla Kiteboarding - Moona Whyte, Wave Champion
Wave Champion Moona Whyte in Dakhla – photo credit Toby Bromwich

Accommodations on the Dakhla Inlet

Most of the accommodations on the Dakhla inlet have all-inclusive offerings. The listed price includes a room, three meals a day, gear storage, and transportation to and from the Dakhla airport. Other services such as kiteboarding lessons, gear rental, and transportation for downwinders will cost you extra–the exact amount depends on each resort. Below are reviews and descriptions of a sampling of the resorts on the inlet, varying from budget to borderline luxury.

Dakhla Spirit Camp – Reviewed by Sam, American Kiter

Dakhla Kiteboarding - Spirit Camp
Looking out at the inlet from Spirit Camp

Dakhla Spirit is a wonderful kite camp. I spent a week there last December (2018) and had consistent wind 20-30knots each day. Every camp on the lagoon is fantastic and beautiful, but I liked he Spirit atmosphere the best. Soufiane Hamaini, the owner and accomplished pro kiter, has done an excellent job building a camp that accommodates guests looking for both communal and solitary feel. The dining area, which looks out over the inlet, offers freshly cooked family style food for each meal. Have no concerns about portion size as there is more than enough to go around, but don’t eat too much before a big boosting session!

After a long day on the water and a hearty dinner, the bar opens up for wine, beer, cocktails and music all night long. The lodging is simple, but nice. Spirit offers guests top of the line equipment for rental, as well as gear storage lockers for personal gear. They also have paddle boards for light wind days, and a rescue boat if your day goes sideways. The camp organizes downwinders and provides 4×4 transport to kite the “Big Dune” (aka the Speed Spot). A highlight of my trip was the downwinder that ended at sunset on the beach of a delicious seafood restaurant. Not only do I highly recommend it for others, but I myself can’t wait to get back!

Room prices vary, but a super bungalow with a private bathroom costs about $70 for two people. Details on other room options on the Spirit pricing page.

Nomad Camp – Reviewed by Alex, French Kiter

Dakhla Kiteboarding - Nomad Camp
A view of the Nomad Camp in Dakhla

For the budget kiter, the vibe at Nomad Camp is super chill. All the guests socialize in the evenings together after kiting, and the group meals consist of local food of tagines, couscous and camel meat. There is no electric power during the day, no hot water for showers, and you’re staying in little, vintage wooden houses that sleep 4 people. Most of the guests are French, so if you’re looking for European company, this is a great place.

The cost for accommodation is about $45 USD per night, which includes all your meals. If you’d like, you can buy soft drinks and sweets at the front desk.

Ocean Vagabond Camp – Author’s Review

Dakhla Kiteboarding - Ocean Vagabond
Ocean Vagabond on the Dakhla Inlet

If you want to treat yourself, Ocean Vagabond is the nicest resort on the inlet. The food is amazing and the service is excellent. The rooms, while fairly primitive in structure, have double or single beds and can accommodate up to 4 people. There are hot showers and chairs outside of each “cabin,” so you can chill out and soak up the desert surroundings after your kiting session.

The social areas at Ocean Vagabond are really comfortable. There are tons of outdoor couches and chairs, set up for group or couple socializing. The bar plays music all night long, and you pay decent prices for bottles of wine and European and American beers.

Ocean Vagabond rents North/Duotone gear and offers lessons for kiters of all levels. I took my first lessons here, and the instructors were all IKO certified, awesome guys. (Yes, there were no women instructors when I was there.)

The cost for accommodation for two people, which includes 3 meals a day, is approximately $250 USD per night. For more details, check the Vagabond accommodation page.

Dakhla Attitude – Author’s Review

Dakhla Kiteboarding - Dakhla Attitude
A view of Dakhla Attitude from the Water

I stayed at Dakhla Attitude on my second trip to Dakhla, mostly because a friend booked our accommodation. The resort is less expensive than Vagabond, but the quality of the rooms and food is very comparable to Vagabond.

We stayed in a cabin with four single beds that accommodated 4 adults. It was a little tight, but you’re really only showering (hot showers!) and sleeping in your room, so it’s fine. The cabin was clean and well maintained with maid service almost every day.

The social areas of the resort are well designed. There are two bars (one outdoor and one enclosed), a coffee bar and a main eating room. The enclosed bar got pretty rowdy in the evenings, but the resort is big enough, and the rooms pretty far away from the bar, so you get can away from the noise if you want to call it an early evening. If there’s no wind, and we didn’t have any no-wind days–there’s even a small cable park alongside the eating area.

When I went there in May 2018, the cost per cabin/per night in Windhunter, which is a grouping of cabins farthest from the dining room, was approximately $250. For exact pricing for your trip, check the website.

When is the Best Time to Go to Dakhla?

Although the wind in Dakhla blows all year round, the best time to go in between April until about November. Rates for accommodation are slightly higher during the “high season” but the wind is most consistent during this time.

What are the Winds Like? What Size Kites?

The winds in Dakhla are awesome! I’m a smaller kiter, and I spent most of my vacation on my 5m and 7m kites. On the “lighter” days, you may be on a slightly larger kite, but this is not a big kite spot. I brought a 9m kite, but it didn’t leave its bag the entire time I was there. If you’re a bigger kiter, you’ll want to bring a 7m and 9m kite. If you need to buy one, Green Hat has competitive prices on new and used gear. You definitely don’t want to go to Dakhla with the wrong size kites, and renting gear from the resort schools every day can really add up.

How Do You Get There?

Dakhla Kiteboarding - Flight Map to Dakhla
Coming from Marrakech to Dakhla

I made some rookie mistakes traveling to Dakhla the first time. For example, I spent 12 hours in the Casablanca Airport because I wanted to fly on the same airlines from New York to Dakhla. Believe me…you don’t want to spend that much time in that airport.

Most major airlines go to Casablanca, and then you can take a flight (it runs once a day in the evening) on Royal Air Maroc to Dakhla. I recommend doing a multi-airline flight to Dakhla in order to avoid a long layover in Casablanca.

You can check exact airfare rates for your trip on Expedia, but a plane ticket from JFK or Newark to Cabablanca or Marrakech and then Dakhla is going to cost about $900-1100 USD.

How Much Does it Cost to be in Dakhla?

The costs for a trip to Dakhla are pretty much all front-end. Since all of the accommodation on the Dakhla inlet is all-inclusive, you don’t have a lot of expenses once you get to Dakhla. Except for your bar bill, which can be paid on the spot or added to your overall bill, or downwinders and off-site excursions offered by the resorts, you’re not shelling out any money in Dakhla. Here is an approximate breakdown of your costs:

Accommodations at the all-inclusive resorts is going to vary between $45/night and $150/night per person, which includes meals and transportation to and from the airport. This is super handy because the inlet is not close to the airport.

Resort organized downwinder transport and excursions to the oceanside typically cost $30 $55 USD.

There are some good seafood restaurants in the city of Dakhla, but most people stay on the resort properties since your meals are already paid for. If you want to venture off, you can certainly try some of the local seafood at any of these restaurants.

Insider Tips for Dakhla

  • You’re going to be staying in an all-inclusive resort in Dakhla, so you don’t have to worry about bringing cash for anything but your bar tab–and that can even be added to your final bill at checkout.
  • Don’t be afraid to take a day off if you need it. You can kite every day in Dakhla, and even the best kiters need to take a break after days of kiting. Wind-wise, Dakhla isn’t feast or famine–from what I experienced. It’s all feast.
  • The inlet is really safe. There are only kiters and staff in the area.
  • Internet is available at every resort, but it’s not super fast and it gets clogged up in the mornings and evenings.
  • As I mentioned, there is NEXT TO NOTHING to do in Dakhla if you’re not kiting. This is not the kind of trip you want to bring a loved one on unless they love the wind and a good book.
  • This is a high-wind spot. That means is going to be tough for some beginners. On the other hand, the wind is super-consistent, which makes it a great place for learning.

Dakhla is far, but it’s worth the trip. Happy kiting!

 

 

Kristin Vincenzo

A long time windsurfer, Kristin now spends her time agonizing over whether to kite with a twintip, kite surfboard or foilboard. So many places to kite, so little time!