Laâyoune is a 20 km distance from the Ocean and 115 km south of Tarfaya. On the town’s northern edge, the “Sakia el Hamra” (Red River) passes Laâyoune on its journey of 400 km from the deserts of Africa to the Atlantic Ocean. On the southern banks of the Red River, several administrative buildings, military barracks, a church and a hotel have emerged. In 1976, when the Spaniards had left after the so called “Green March” that freed Moroccan Sahara from Spanish dominance, Laâyoune became the capital of the province which bears the same name and covers some 40,000 km².
Due to the circumstance that this province holds large supplies of phosphate and a harbor to ship it, Laâyoune transformed into a commercial and economical center of Moroccan Sahara and developed the corresponding – and necessary – infrastructure. In 1994, Laâyoune and the neighboring region of Boujdour became a “Wilaya” (administrative district), and since 1998, the city is the proud capital of the province Laâyoune - Boujdour - Sakia El Hamra. The incredibly rapid growth of Laâyoune was only possible through the expansive building activities generously sponsored by the government. Paved road over thousands of km through the Moroccan Sahara has been built, thermal power stations, desalination plants for sea water, housing projects and social facilities.