Kitesurfers from all over the world ignore this, but Dakhla is a city full of history. From the Spanish conquests to the Aéropostale, JA brings to light the vestiges of a forgotten past.

Before becoming the favorite place for kitesurfers to fly over the water, the Dakhla lagoon, located between the Atlantic Ocean and the Sahara Desert, was a notable stop for the legendary pilots of the Latécoère company and then Aéropostale during the 1920s. At that time, the city was a port under the Spanish protectorate and was called Villa Cisneros. At the site, there was an improvised airfield, a military fort, some buildings, a garrison of Spanish soldiers and Bedouin or Tuareg tribes whose matriarchal system is still rooted in customs to this day. There was also the Arcipèse lighthouse, a simple tower about 10 meters high, which proved to be very useful.

It is precisely that lighthouse that saved Antoine de Saint-Exupéry from certain death in extremis. Becoming a pilot during his military service in 1922, the young French nobility was hired by the Latécoère company (future Aéropostale) in 1926 to transport mail from Toulouse to Dakar, Senegal. At that time, Morocco had three stopovers: Casablanca, Cape Juby (Tarfaya) and Villa Cisneros (Dajla). One night, the Little Prince's father took off towards the south to fulfill his mission. But throughout the night, the radio readings became distorted. Saint-Ex and his radio operator, Néri, believed they were following the Moroccan coast, but in reality they were heading towards the ocean.

Article source: jeune Afrique