Expat Guide to Western Sahara

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Welcome to our comprehensive expat guide for those considering a move to the lesser-known, beautiful and culturally rich Western Sahara. Located in the northwest of Africa, this former Spanish colony is a hidden gem for travelers and expats looking for an authentic African experience. In this article, we'll go over the ins and outs of what expat life in Western Sahara is like, from the culture to the cost of living, visa process, and thriving social scene.


First and foremost, it’s important to understand the people and culture of Western Sahara. The population is diverse, largely consisting of various Berber and Arab tribes. This rich tapestry of ethnic and cultural influences is evident in the traditional music, arts, and festivals. The people are welcoming and friendly, with a strong focus on community and hospitality.

Cost of living

Compared to other expat destinations in Africa, the cost of living in Western Sahara is relatively low. Housing is affordable, with many reasonable apartments and houses available for rent or purchase. Food and utilities are also quite inexpensive, offering expats the opportunity to live a comfortable lifestyle with relatively modest expenditures.

Visa process

For those planning to relocate permanently or spend extended periods in Western Sahara, obtaining a visa is a necessity. Temporary work visas are usually granted for six months at a time, with the possibility of renewal. For more permanent stays, expats will need to apply for a residency permit. The visa application process can be time-consuming and involves providing extensive documentation.

Social Scene

Despite its remote location, Western Sahara offers a thriving social scene. There are numerous opportunities to meet and mingle with other expats and locals through clubs, classes, and events. Western Sahara’s stunning beaches, diverse landscape, and adventure opportunities offer ample opportunities for fun and relaxation. Furthermore, there are several international schools, including a British and a Spanish one, catering to the expat community.

Final Thoughts

Relocating to Western Sahara won’t be without its challenges, but the rewards are worth it. Those brave enough to make the move will be welcomed into a vibrant, culturally diverse, and genuinely friendly community. With its low cost of living, beautiful landscapes, and plethora of opportunities for adventure and cultural exploration, Western Sahara is an enticing destination for any intrepid expat looking to experience the real Africa.