Take a Break in Delightful Tarfaya

Once known as Villa Bens, Tarfaya is a small town in Morocco, located on its southwestern Atlantic coastline and is a unique destination. The history of Tarfaya is fascinating and its simple charm wins the hearts and affection of every traveler that stops over there. Although a little off the beaten track, visitors traveling to or from Laayoune, are recommended to detour through to Tarfaya and enjoy the beauty of the landscapes surrounding the town, and exploring its attractions and sights.

Because of its close proximity to the Western Sahara, Tarfaya has breathtaking sand dune scenes just waiting to be enjoyed. With approximately four thousand residents, and being nestled between the sand dunes and the sea, the town predominantly earns its living from the sea. Unfortunately, the local fishing industry recently came under threat, as the freighter Assalama was damaged in high seas and beached near the Tarfaya port on 30 April 2008. With this, an estimated eighty thousand liters of fuel oil was spilled into the ocean, causing environmental damage to the coastline and to the fishermen’s living.

Visitors will find an unusual monument near the beach, known as the Monument to Aeropostale. The legendary writer, Antoine de Saint-Exupèry, was stationed as a pilot in Tarfaya in the 1920s, and during his time here, Tarfaya and the daily lives of the pilots in Morocco inspired his first novel, called Southern Mail. One of the most inspiring attractions is Dar Mar, which is literally a castle in the ocean. Standing alone, surrounded by crashing waves, Dar Mar is quite a sight. Its exact date of construction in unknown, but the locals suggest that the castle was built before the establishment of the town, and estimate it to be two hundred years old.

There are cafes in Tarfaya that serve wonderful meals and refreshments and the two hotels in the town are the only accommodation available. Taxis and busses are available as means of transportation, but walking through the town is a much more rewarding experience. With the encroaching desert on one side, and the great Atlantic Ocean on the other, Tarfaya is a town unlike any other in Morocco, and certainly worth the visit.