When you think of Morocco, you don’t necessarily think ocean, beaches, surf and chill. Things are hectic in Morocco, hectic, busy and bloody full on, so naturally in true Leah & Bryn style, during our trip to Morocco, we escaped the big cities and headed for the coast. Essaouira and Taghazout.
HOW TO GET THERE:
Car hire – Okay maybe a little brave of us, but we hired a car from Marrakech airport and found our way using the trusty iPhone maps. After reading a ton of negative comments regarding car hire in Morocco, our “let’s just wing it” attitude was the best way to be. When booking online, I had to make sure the car would fit the surfboard that I’d managed to lug through Chefchaouen, the old town of Fes, riding camels in the Sahara and the hustle and bustle of Marrakech. Of course, this didn’t go to plan – the car was tiny but luckily the dude at the desk was the man and managed to swap it out for a slightly bigger car. Finding our way out of busy busy Marrakech was the most difficult part but once on the highway it was smooth sailing all the way to Essaouira – our first stop.
Bus – As explained in our other Moroccan posts, buses are the easiest and cheapest way to travel around Morocco. If you’re going to bus, the CTM or SUPRATOURS buses are the way to go and buy using the buses, you can reach Essaouira from Marrakech in about 3 hours and for only 17Euro. Deffs less comfortable than your own car or transfer (bumpy AF roads with no air conditioning) but hey, welcome to Morocco!!
Transfer/Taxi – This is a good option if you’re a nervous traveller, you have a bigger budget or if buses just ain’t your thing. Using the website TangierTaxi, you can get to Essaouira from Marrakech (& visa versa) with prices from 109Euro. So yup more expensive for sure but you’ll be in comfort with a trustworthy driver, in a safe car, with wifi, water and the option to stop whenever you need to go to the toilet.
Our first stop along the coast was Essaouira. An artsy, lively and historic port town (so yes this means lots and lots of fishermen, nets, boats and seagulls too) this spot in Morocco is the perfect place to either stay or take a day trip from Marrakech.
The onshore winds make the beach pretty popular for windsurfing, kite surfing and when the winds are right – surfing too, though the best surf is down the coast but we’ll talk more about that later.
The old town Medina is yet another fortified town, filled with eateries, markets, souks (shops) and all sorts of other random stores to check out. You’ll definitely find a few more modern and hip places around – like boutique home ware stores and fresh juice cafes, but generally the old town is still very cultural and authentic.
HERE’S WHAT WE DID:
- Wandered around every nook and cranny inside the Medina – so much colour!
- Ate some good food, fresh fruit juice and even found a place serving alcohol – see list of eatery’s below
- Walked along the beach which was far too cold and windy to swim
- Looked in all the shops – be sure to check out the store Boheme Of Morocco, a stylish Berber concept store
- Walked around the old town walls to see the ocean views
- Checked out the fishing boats in the port
- Spent the arvo relaxing at our eco-accomodation Riad Baoussala (read more on this below)
BEST PLACES TO EAT:
- Taros Cafe Restaurant – For cool vibes, outdoor seating, ocean views and epic decor – head here. They serve alcohol too, a rare commodity in Morocco and one we didn’t take for granted
- Yoo Healthy Food – Speaks for itself, healthy food and fresh juices with vegan options available
- Beach and Friends – Right on the water and suuuuuuuper chilled, we didnt go but have heard great things
- The Loft or Mega Loft – A little more modern & funky but with traditional Moroccan food & live music in the evenings.
- Seafood markets – Just outside the Medina walls near the lighthouse. Super authentic.
WHERE TO STAY:
Riad Baoussala – We were lucky enough to get invited to stay at an amazing eco-lodge for the night we were in Essaouira. Only a short 15 minute drive inland and you come across Riad Baoussala, a mini paradise run by Léah & Dominique. The perfect escape, the whole place was (as my Leah put it) just a dream – tons of pics to come.
Pastel pink and orange buildings with blooming bougainvillea trees, a modern but still Moroccan style living room – open planned with a massive kitchen at one end, a rooftop to watch that killer sunset and lots of outside chill spots including a huge pool to cool off in the hot arvo sun. As you can imagine, Leah was looking around the place saying “we have to design our future house like this one day.” The place is literally a sanctuary thats for sure.
Being shown to our room, our reactions were the same…WOWZA. Bigger, better and more peaceful than any accommodation we’ve stayed in so far we had a lounge, a huge modern bathroom, a large bedroom and an area purely filled with blankets and pillows to curl up with a book and chill (or in Leah’s case – crack into all her design work.) Sounds like luxury living doesn’t it? But with rooms from 85Euro per night, you could stay here too. (Hey, make sure if you do book a stay, you tell the team you heard about them through us 😋)
After sunset and later that night, we were invited to the living area to enjoy a 3 course meal suitable for a king and boy did we feel like royals. It was traditional Moroccan food done right with such a chilled out vibe, comfortable living area, one night here really wasn’t enough – the place would be amazing for either a 7 day family retreat or something romantic with a loved one, so yes…one day we’ll be back. Thanks Léah & Dominique, we truly loved our stay.
Our last stop along the coast, Taghazout. We like to call it the “Byron Bay” of Australia or the “Raglan” of New Zealand this place was my favourite spot in the whole of Morocco (not just because of the surf I swear)
A 30 minute drive up the coast from Agadir or a 2 and a half hour drive down the coast from Essaouira and you’ll find Taghazout. Easiest way to get here if you don’t have a car, is to get yourself to Agadir (either fly of bus) then catch a bus to Taghazout.
We straight away felt like we fit in here. Surfers from all parts of the globe, hanging out and walking the street, long shaggy hair, board under the arm. This was us for the next 6 nights and boy what a treat.
HERE’S WHAT TO DO:
Surf, surf and surf some more – Yup pretty much the reason we came here so I’ll get straight to the point aye… (literally point breaks for days). Here’s the best spots from North to South with Taghazout in the middle.
- Tamri – Open beach break which usually has a wave if everything else is flat
- Boilers – One of my favourites, works on high tide and usually much bigger on a northerly swell
- Draculas – A little South of Boilers and smaller when Boilers is HUUUUGE
- Donkeys to Mysteries – A bunch of spots which work on a good swell, drive and take your pick
- Anchor Point – Famous and for good reason. When the swell is right it fires all the way through Taghazout town, very much like Snapper rocks in AUS. By far my favourite break in Morocco. Surf it once Boilers gets average – mid tide.
- Taghazout Beach – Standard beach break and fun for all. This beach was perfect for Leah on her foamy. We stayed right on this beach too so was an easy walk straight from our accom and into the waves.
- Panorama Point to Banana Point – Swell wasn’t right for these spots but after picking the locals brains, these are good too.
Day trip to surf in Imsuaone – Known for its “2km” right hand point break, this small surf town is known for one thing…surf. The point is a long mellow wave, or when the points not working, the beachy is generally sweet as. Depending on the swell direction there’s always a wave to be had. If you’re looking to stay here – surf hostels are pretty much everywhere you look. Check out these on booking.com
Visit Paradise Valley – Not sure what to expect, we picked up a couple mates, crammed in the hatchback and cruised along a gravel road for 40ish minutes until we reached Paradise Valley. If you’re from NZ, imagine a waterhole in the Coromandel and this was Moroccos version. Walk 20 minutes along the dirt track, over streams and through little villages until you reach the rock pools. You can swim here if you like, although we chose not too as the water didn’t look too clean. The atmosphere however was on point with Bereber men playing their drums loud and proud. Well worth the morning trip to experience some nature on the coast of Morocco. If you don’t have a car, day trips can be booked from Taghazout or Agadir (most accommodations will help with this also).
Kick back & just chill – Something we don’t do enough of while traveling is just chill. We’re always exploring or heading off on adventures so chilling out by the pool or on the beach every arvo was magic. With not much else to do, you really feel like you’re on vacation.
Watch some of the best sunsets ever seen – Calm water, clear horizons matched with camels wandering lazily past makes for one hell of a sunset. Each night Leah made sure we got to see this whether we we’re on the beach, at a restaurant or somewhere in town. So good.
Get your yoga on – Something Leah loves but I’m not so good at is yoga. So many classes in Taghazout so take your pick.
Walk around the rocks from Taghazout Beach to Anchor Point – Who doesn’t love a good walk. Start from the South end of Taghazout beach and walk the beach until you hit town. Grab a smoothie, get back to the sand to keep walking around the rocks untill Anchor Point. You’re in Morocco, so there’s always interesting things you’ll come across along the way.
BEST PLACES TO EAT:
(much more Westernised than other parts of Morocco)
Cafe Mouja – Our favourite place to chill and eat lunch. Leah could work on her laptop while looking out the window to Anchor Point where I’d be surfing. Friendly staff, good food, good coffee and good smoothies. Try the chicken baguette…epic (and cheap)
Sunset Taghazout – Cant go past a dirty burger, fries and milkshake to match (again so cheap and so good)
L’Auberge – Little more authentic but with Western food too, your breaky, lunch or dinner here will be so good.
World Of Waves – Ideal during sunset, this place is literally right on the water. Healthy food for breaky, lunch and dinner and also a surf house, which looked an epic place to stay.
WHERE TO STAY:
Stay at a Surf Camp – Ok so we didn’t quite do this (packages were too expensive for us) but by far this should be on the top of your list when planning your Taghazout trip.
- Surf Maroc was deffo the peoples choice (and ours too if we had the money). Many good reviews about this place with surf packages for the shakas and yoga classes for the more flexible humans, you get to choose from guided surf packages or full lessons, three (maybe four) different accommodation types, yoga and an all round epic buzz so don’t miss this spot. Check the website HERE
With the family or not to keen on the chill surf camp vibe? – If this is the case, then stay where we stayed at Sol House Taghazout. More of a resort style vibe and a 5min drive out of town, it had a huge pool right on the beach, the odd DJ set, free breakfast and surfboard hire so we weren’t complaining. Knowing how cool the surf camps looked, we probably wouldn’t stay here again but for the family or for a couple who want their own space to relax and unwind, then Sol House Taghazout is perfect!
So…all in all we bloody LOVED the coast of Morocco. It was so much more relaxed than the hustle and bustle of the big smoke but had the same friendly Moroccan culture. If you know us, you know we love the beach, surf and the sun so this place made us feel comfortable and right at home. Friendly people, great food, epic waves and super cheap…what else can you ask for.
Essaouria and Taghazout – Cheers
Bryn | FREE & ADDICTED