Safety and security

Local travel

Most of Western Sahara is under the de facto administration of Morocco which closely monitors and controls access to the territory. There have been instances in which people suspected of supporting NGOs who are openly critical of Moroccan policies have been expelled from, or not been allowed to enter the territory. A militarised boundary separates the Moroccan-controlled part of Western Sahara from the rest of the territory, Mauritania and Algeria. It isn’t possible to cross this boundary.

There’s a 30km militarised zone either side of the Berm containing landmines. There are a number of fatalities in this zone each year. In addition to the presence of unexploded ordnance, the eastern side is sparsely populated with no diplomatic presence from any country.

There is no rail service.

Road travel

You don’t need an International Driving Permit to drive in the Western Sahara. A UK driving licence is sufficient.

There are thousands of unexploded mines in the Western Sahara, and occasional reports of fatal explosions. Avoid driving off road and take care on main roads especially when driving in more remote areas. The territory has a poor road safety record.

Political situation

The status of the territory of the Western Sahara is disputed between Morocco and the Polisario Front. The UK regards sovereignty as undetermined. There has been a UN-monitored cease-fire since 1991.

Political demonstrations often take place in the territory. They are mostly small-scale, but can frequently result in clashes with the Moroccan police. You should avoid all demonstrations.