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LEMSEYED
Oasis of the red river

Lemseyed overlooking the red river, Seguiat al-Hamra, Western Sahara's lifeline, which runs dry most of the year

Lemseyed overlooking the red river, Seguiat al-Hamra, Western Sahara's lifeline, which runs dry most of the year


Lemseyed of Western Sahara

Inside the oasis, you will totally forget that you are deep into the Sahara desert.

Lemseyed of Western Sahara

Traditional graveyard, which is still just as much in use as ever.

Lemseyed of Western Sahara

The only house in Lemseyed that is fit for living.

Lemseyed of Western Sahara


It is so incredibly small, there cannot be more than 40-50 shy inhabitants here. Lemseyed is counted as the local beauty retreat near Laayoune, and the setting is great. You drive down roads where the landscape never changes, then suddenly the gorge of the Seguiat al-Hamra opens up in front of you, and there the oasis of Lemseyed has found a tiny source of water coming out of the barren mountains.
As you walk around Lemseyed there are plenty of photo opportunities of this place on the fringe of existence. To the west of the oasis there is a rocky valley that allows for just another tiny little oasis which is no more than 20 m², but still cultivated. Nobody lives there of course, it is only used as addition income.
There are two main farms of Lemseyed, divided only by a little road in an idyllic setting.
To the east of the oasis, you find the huge river bed of Seguiat al-Hamra, but right before that starts there is a third oasis, that is very barren and with the most miserable date palms you have ever seen. This one looks like a project for the future, if water is provided.

Practicalities
Lemseyed is too small a place to offer any form of hotels, restaurants or cafés for casual visitors. As the place is under military control, camping is not recommended.
Getting out here is either done by your own transport, or by hiring a taxi at the Smara station in Laayoune. I paid 100 dirhams for a 4 wheel truck, including 1,5 hours wait, in December 1998. Other ways of getting out is by bus, where you will have to be very clear to the driver that you are getting off right here. But if you do just this, you cannot be sure of getting transportation back to Laayoune. Should you choose to walk out here, count on using 2,5 to 3 hours each way.





By Tore Kjeilen