Africa at it's Best - Weg & Go editorial
I met my three friends in Casablanca in Morocco, the city made famous by the 1942 film starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman.
We managed to decipher the Arabic rail timetable and traveled south for 350 km on a jam-packed train, carrying coffin-sized surfboard bags. Our only refuge was the wind-battered space between two carriages.
At the town of Agadir we met up with another friend who works as a surf guide and drove for 1200 km in his 4x4, through the highlands of Morocco and across the invisible border into the disputed territory of Western Sahara. It's one of the least populated places on earth; a landscape at the mercy of ocean tides and the shifting sands of the desert.
Spain claimed this region in 1884 and it was known as Spanish Shara until 1975, when control was relinquished to a joint administration by Morocco and Mauritania. Those two countries went to war, joined by a rebel group representing the nomadic Sahrawi people who sought to proclaim an independent country of their own. In 1979 Mauritania withdrew and territory has been controlled by Morocco ever since, an unhappy situation that persists today.
Little remains of the Spanish occupation besides the occasional fortress in the desert, slowly being swallowed by sand. This particular outpost, near the town of Dakhla, stands naked on a low hill, overlooking some of the most beautiful beaches in the Western Sahara.
We pitched our tents and camped for two weeks. The waves were epic and the scenery surreal, but each day as I jogged down to the beach with my surfboard underarm, I was sad that the freedom I felt wasn't shared by the people of this wild, empty half-country.
There are no easy answers when it comes to politics, but the trip reminded me how fortunate I am to come and go as I please, living my own personal dream.
Keep the Faith, Live the Dream
Posted by ireng