Index


Introduction



In the Western Sahara, the former Spanish Sahara, the climate is desert and sunny, very mild on the coast, and hot in the interior in summer.
On the coast, in fact, a cold current flows, which makes the climate particularly mild, spring-like all year round, even in summer, especially where the coast is more exposed to the north, and directly receives the north-east trade winds.
The rains, very rare, occur in the the cold half-year in the north, and in late summer in the south.
The wind can lift the desert sand, both the north-east wind that normally blows, and in the rarer periods when the wind blows directly from the desert.

The coast



On the coast, the climate is very mild. In summer, a moderate wind from the sea and the humidity often make the air feel cool.

Laayoune

The largest town, El Aaiún (Laayoune), is located in the north-west, but since it is not exactly on the coast, it becomes hot in summer, so that the average maximum temperature is 30/31 °C (86/88 °F) from July to September, while on the coast, it remains around 24/26 °C (75/79 °F). However, when the wind blows from the interior, the temperature can increase a lot, around 35 °C (95 °F) and more from March to October.
Here are the average temperatures.
Laayoune - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)131415161719212221191714
Max (°C)222324252628313130282522
Min (°F)555759616366707270666357
Max (°F)727375777982888886827772

Precipitation, very rare, is at desert levels, with rare and sporadic rains from autumn to spring. Here is the average precipitation.
Laayoune - Average precipitation
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Prec.(mm)894200004461047
Prec.(in)0.30.40.20.100000.20.20.20.41.9
Days22100000112211

On the coast west of Laayoune (Laayoune Plage), the sea is never warm, and only reaches 21/22 °C (70/72 °F) from July to November. On the other hand, it is very cool in winter and spring, but not impossible for swimming. Here is the average sea temperature.
Laayoune - Sea temperature
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Temp (°C)191818191920212222222120
Temp (°F)666464666668707272727068

Laayoune

Dakhla

In Dakhla (formerly Villa Cisneros), located in the central-southern part of the coast and practically at the Tropic, temperatures are spring-like for most of the year, although highs reach 26/27 °C (79/81 °F) from August to October. Here are the average temperatures.
Dakhla - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)141516161718192020201816
Max (°C)222223232324252627262523
Min (°F)575961616364666868686461
Max (°F)727273737375777981797773

Precipitation, very rare, is at desert levels, with rare and sporadic rains in winter, and some rare rains even in summer. Here is the average rainfall.
Dakhla - Average precipitation
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Prec.(mm)2310001211631040
Prec.(in)0.10.1000000.10.40.20.10.41.6
Days11101001211211

The sun in Dakhla, as in the rest of the country, shines all year round, since clear skies prevail, however, summer is not sunnier than winter, because mists and fogs can form in the early hours of the day. Here are the average sunshine hours per day.
Dakhla - Sunshine
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Hours89991010998888

Even in the central-south of Western Sahara, the sea is never warm, and only reaches 21/22 °C (70/72 °F) from July to November. Here is the average sea temperature.
Dakhla - Sea temperature
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Temp (°C)191818191920202122222120
Temp (°F)666464666668687072727068

In the far south, near the border with Mauritania, the sea becomes a bit warmer from July to October, as we can see from the sea temperatures at Lagouira (or La Guera).
Lagouira - Sea temperature
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Temp (°C)191919191920222424232220
Temp (°F)666666666668727575737268

Inland areas



In inland areas, summer becomes decidedly hotter, especially in areas further from the sea. Here, the temperature can exceed 40 °C (104 °F) from April to October, and 45 °C (113 °F) in summer.

Smara

Here are the average temperatures of Smara (or Semara), located in the northern inland areas (but further to the east, towards the border with Algeria, it is even hotter).
Smara - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)111213151719232320181511
Max (°C)222326273032373633302622
Min (°F)525455596366737368645952
Max (°F)727379818690999791867972

Here too, the rainfall is very scarce, just above 40 millimeters (1.5 inches) per year.
Smara - Average precipitation
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Prec.(mm)66320011565943
Prec.(in)0.20.20.10.100000.20.20.20.41.7
Days22100100112211

When to go



In order to avoid the heat, the best period to visit the Western Sahara (especially the interior) goes from December to February. It is necessary to dress in layers, because it can get warm during the day, while it can get cold at night.
Along the coast, for swimming and sunbathing, you can go from July to October. As mentioned, the Atlantic waters are cool even in summer (except in the far south in August and September), and in the morning, fog and mist can form along the coast.

What to pack in the suitcase



In winter: for the coast: bring spring/autumn clothes, a jacket and a sweater; for the desert, bring light clothes, but also a sweater, a jacket for the evening, a scarf for the wind-borne sand and dust.
In summer: on the coast, bring light clothes, but also a pair of jeans, a sweatshirt, a light jacket and a scarf, especially in June and July. For inland and desert areas, bring loose-fitting, light-colored clothing, light and long shirts and pants, a sun hat and a desert turban, sunglasses (even graduated instead of contact lenses); a sleeping bag and a sweatshirt for overnight stays outdoors; hiking boots or sandals.
For women, it is best to avoid shorts and miniskirts.

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