We had heard that you could park overnight at a secluded spot on the coast, known as La Plage Blanche where the dunes of the Sahara Desert met the Atlantic Ocean. We followed the lat / long coordinations on the satnav and found ourselves at the coast but in a place that didn’t look at all promising. The area resembled a wasteland and we saw gangs of construction workers and earth moving vehicles. There were a few buildings that looked like either military or police establishments and the area was dotted with communication antennas.
The road suddenly ended with a series of barriers blocking the route ahead. Intending to go back we looked for somewhere to turn round and drove into what appeared to be a large building site. At the far end we saw a gap ahead where we could rejoin the road which then dipped sharply downhill leading into an empty car park below. As if by magic we found ourselves beside a beautiful sandy beach next to a quiet lagoon where, looking through our binoculars, we could see flamingos feeding in the shallows.
La Plage Blanche stretched 40 km to the north and was surrounded by 250 square kilometres of nature reserve. There was a group of fishermen’s shacks on the far side of the lagoon and one or two people were walking on the beach. It was warm (21°) and windy when we took a walk down to the sea. Later on, a group of camels (actually dromedaries) wandered by, feeding off the beach vegetation. Once it was dark we were alone and the only lights we could see were the stars above and the only noise we could hear was the breaking of the rollers. Heaven!
We later discovered that the excavation works were due to plans to build a hotel complex above the beach – goodbye heaven!