Tuareg, Sahara

I spent 3 weeks in Morocco in 1990 on holiday. Wildlife wasn’t high on my agenda, which probably explains why I saw only two species of mammals that I can remember: Barbary Macaques at the Cascades d’Ouzardl, and Naked Rumped Tomb Bats (at least that is what I think they were) feeding around the lights on a guesthouse roof in the Sahara.

I returned in March 2019 for a few days in the Anti Atlas and Western Sahara.

Anti Atlas

During two nights in this beautiful area in March 2019 we saw North African Elephant Shrews, an Algerian Hedgehog, Mediterranean Hares, Barbary Ground Squirrels and Cuvier’s Gazelles.

North African Elephant Shrew, Elephantulus rozeti

We also had an African Wildcat, Common Genet and Red Fox.

Western Sahara

Sand Cat, Felis margarita in an abandoned Brown Raven’s nest.

Three productive days out of Dakhla in March 2019 produced several Sand Cats, including one sleeping in a raven’s nest, Fennec and Rueppell’s Foxes, Golden Wolf and African Wildcat.

We caught Pleasant, Tarabul’s and Lesser Egyptian Gerbils, as well as an Algerian Mouse. And we also saw Desert Hedgehogs, African Hammada Jerboa, Bottlenose Dolphins and Egyptian Mouse-tailed Bats. But we missed the Libyan Polecat, despite many hours spotlighting, and the resident Atlantic Humpbacked Dolphins.

Trekking in the Atlas Mountains

In summer 2014 Ben Balmford visited Morocco and .visited the Cascades d’Ouzoud to see the macaques. He said “The only trip report I could find talked about taking the right hand path at the top of the falls. But having walked that path with no success, I then took the left-hand path from the village at the top, walking down through the stalls that line the path. Before the first hairpin bend along this path, there are steps up to the left. At the top of those steps there is a concrete platform, and on the platform there was a large group of macaques (at least 15) just playing. This was at roughly 13:00, but they were still there when we walked back up at 14:30.”

Community Reports

Please be careful off-road – there are still landmines in parts of the Western Sahara.

Western Sahara, 2023: Jillis Roos, 1 week & 11 species including Libyan Striped Polecat, Sandcat and Fennec Fox. A particularly useful and detailed report.

Western Sahara, 2023:Royle Safaris, 8 days & 16 species including Fennec Fox, Desert Hedgeholg and Sand Cat.

Western Sahara, 2023Royle Safaris, 8 days & 13 species including Fennec Fox and Libyan Striped Polecat.

Morocco in Winter, 2023: Vladimr Dinets, 2 weeks & 34 species including North African Elephant Shrew, Zenate Myotis, Barbary Striped Mouse and Polecat.

Western Sahara, 2022Wise Birding, 1 week & 14 species including Fennec FoxSand Cat and Golden Wolf.

Western Sahara, 2022Royle Safaris, 8 days & 11 species including Sand Cat and 3 Honey Badgers!

Western Sahara, 2021: Matt, 6 days & 7 species including Sand Cat and Fennec Fox.

Western Sahara, 2019-20: Samuel Marlin, 2 trips and 10 species including Desert Hedgehog and Fennec Fox plus a possible Sand Cat.

Western Sahara and the Anti Atlas, 2019: Jon Hall & 20 species including Sand Cat, Algerian Hedgehog and North African Elephant Shrew.

Western Sahara, 2019: Janco van Gelderen, 1 week & 8 species including Sand Cat, African Wild Cat and Fennec Fox.

Western Sahara, November 2018: Jean-Michel Bompar, 1 week & 17 species including Saharan Striped PolecatAfrican Wild CatSand Cat, and RedRueppell’s & Fennec Foxes.

Morocco and the Western Sahara, 2018: Vladimir Dinets, and many smaller mammals plus Humpback DolphinsSand Cat and Fennec Foxes.

Morocco, 2018: Valentin Moser, 11 days & 14 mammals including North African Elephant Shrew, Geoffroy’s Trident Leaf-nosed Bat and Cuvier’s Gazelle.

Western Sahara, 2018: Richard Webb, 1 week & 11 species including Sand Cat, Fennec FoxStriped Polecat and African Wildcat.

Morocco, 2018: Michel Gervais’s notes of 6 weeks in Morocco with species including AoudadCuvier’s Gazelle and a possible North African Elephant Shrew. With information on these and other sites in the comments.

Western Sahara, Feb 2018: Wise Birding, 1 week & 9 species including Sand Cat, African Wild Cat and Fat Sand Rat.

Western Sahara, March 2018: Wise Birding, 1 week & 9 species including Sand Cat, African Wild Cat and Desert Hedgehog.

Western Sahara, 2017: Andreas Jonsson, 3 nights and 7 species including Sand Cat and Desert Hedgehog.

North Morocco, 2017: John Wright, very brief notes on a few sightings including a couple of squashed Algerian Hedgehogs.

Western Sahara, 2017: Romain Bocquier, 3 nights and 11 species including Libyan Polecat, Fennec Fox, Sand Cat and Desert Hedgehog.

Western Sahara, 2016: Juan Luis Ortega Herranz, 11 days & 11 species including Ruppell’s and Fennec Fox, Sand Cat and Striped Polecat.

Western Sahara, 2015: Mike Hoit, 10 days & 16 or so species including Atlantic Humpback Dolphin, Fennec Fox, Sand Cat and Algerian Hedgehog.

Western Sahara, 2015: Juan Luis Ortega Herranz, 9 days & 13 species including Ruppells and Fennec Fox, Wildcat and Striped Polecat.

Western Sahara & Morocco, 2014: Dominique Brugiere, 4 weeks & species includig Cuvier’s Gazelle, African Wildcat, Barbary and Striped Ground Squirrels, Fennec, Striped Polecat and Sand Cat.

Western Sahara, 2014: Juan Luis Ortega, 10 days & 13 species including an African Wolf (with pictures too).

Southern Morocco & the Western Sahara, 2014: Mike Richardson, 9 days & 14 species including Sand Cat, Wild Cat, Striped Polecat, Barbary Ground Squirrel and Fennec Fox.

Southern Morocco & the Western Sahara, 2014: Mark Hows’s report on the same trip as immediately above, with a few variations – 9 days & at least 15 wild species including Sand Cat, Wild Cat, Striped Polecat, Barbary Ground Squirrel and Fennec Fox.

Western Sahara, 2014: Richard Webb, 9 days & 12 species including Sand Cat, Striped Polecat, Barbary Ground Squirrel and Fennec Fox.

Morocco, 2013: Dominique Brugiere, notes from two trips (10 days & 3 weeks), with species including semi-wild Monk Seal (in Mauritania), Striped Polecat, Barbary Ground Squirrel and Fennec Fox.

Western Sahara, 2013: Alain Guillemont, 4 days & 10 species including Sand Cat, Wild Cat and Fennec Fox.

Morocco & Western Sahara, 2012: Richard Webb, 11 days & 16 species. Great report from an exciting area with the highlights including Sand Cat and Libyan Polecat. Lowlights included Moroccan car hire companies, which brought back memories from my trip in 1990.

Oued Ad-Dehab Region, Western Sahara, 2012: Richard Moores, 1 week & 6 species including 3 Sand Cat sightings. This paper and more information is also on

Oued Ad-Dehab, Western Sahara, 2012: Franch Chevalier, notes on terrestial mammals in the region. Sightings include Sand Cats, Libyan Striped Polecat, Dorcas Gazelle and Fenenc Foxes (in French). This paper and more information is also on

Morocco, 2011: Uffe Gjøl Sørensen, 10 days & 5 species including Barbary Macaques and Barbary Ground Squirrels, plus semi-wild Dorcas Gazelle and Oryx.

Also See

Looking for a guide for the Western Sahara, December 2023

RFI Mammals around Marrakech, February 2023

Sand Cats using Raven Nests, May 2019

First sighting of Sand Cat at Merzouga this century, March 2019

Isolated Striped Ground Squirrel, June 2018

RFI: Safia Reserve and Aoussard, May, 2018

Safety in the Western Sahara (Please Read), April 2018

Looking for Sand Cats (RFI), July 2017

Barbary Macaque Site in the Rif Mountains, April 2016.

Mammals of the Aousserd Region, April 2016, including Tarabul’s Gerbil, Barbary Sheep, Dorcas Gazelle and Honey Badger.

African Wolves, August, 2012.

1 Comment

  • Seanoo

    Hi , I’m currently in my camper behind a line of small mountains near Tadakoust in Southern Morocco and we have lots of quite high pitched howling going on at night , could this be golden wolf in this area please ?

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