You are here: Geography > Africa > Western Sahara

Western Sahara

A map of the Western Sahara Described by the United Nations as a "non-self-governing territory", Western Sahara is claimed by both Morocco and the Polisario Front, a political group representing the Sahrawi people who live there. Most of Western Sahara is made up of flat desert. The only uplands are in the north, where the land rises to low mountains. The territory’s arid climate makes it one of the harshest places on Earth; all year round, it is extremely hot and dry.



A map of the Western Sahara
Coastline near Ad Dakhla

The longest wall built on Earth, the Moroccan Wall consists of sand, barbed wire, landmines and electronic systems. It is manned...Read More >>The longest wall built on Earth, the Moroccan Wall consists of sand, barbed wire, landmines and electronic systems. It is manned by thousands of Moroccan soldiers.

Disputed territory

The Polisario Front, who represent Western Sahara's native Sahrawi people, is supported by neighbouring Algeria: it wants Western Sahara to become independent. Morocco, on the other hand, is willing only to grant autonomy, the power for the region to rule itself, while remaining part of its territory. A referendum (national vote) on independence has yet to be held. In the meantime, a long sand wall called the “Moroccan Wall” separates Moroccan-controlled areas in the west from Polisario-controlled land in the east.

Western Sahara is the largest territory in the world which does not have the right to govern itself.

WHY IS THE SEA SALTY?


Find the answer