Surf: 4/5 = Great but seasons make a difference here.
Price: 4/5 = Cheap!
Party: 1/5 = Good luck. They’re strict on alcohol.
Localism: 2/5 = It’s not your wave, and don’t forget it.
Thieves: 1/5 = Pick pockets and car break-ins are common, very common.
Time Frame: Oct/Nov 2009
Where do I start on this short story of a surf trip? With the most important points I guess.
How to get there: I’d recommend using one of Europe’s low cost carriers once you already have a flight to one of Europe’s major airports (e.g. London, Frankfurt, Paris). Ryanair, Easyjet and Royal Air Maroc are pretty safe bets to get from Europe to Morocco. I flew return with Ryanair from Frankfurt for $120 CDN taxes-in.
Here’s a basic rule of thumb: A 100 km bus or train ride costs around 25 DH or about $3.50 CDN.
Also don’t give into the snake charmers; rumor has it, that they sew the snakes mouth shut from the inside so they can’t bite. This also makes it quite tricky for them to eat.
We went from Fez in the north to Agadir and Marrakesh in the south. If I could do it again I would recommend starting out in the south, Agadir or Marrakesh areas, and work your way north.
There are more places to get decent gear (boards, wetsuit, fins) than in the north if you didn’t bring your own, and Marrakesh is good practice for dealing with people down there, especially if your not familiar with Arabic or French.
Depending on how long you stay there you should be a bartering king by the time you leave.
Having said that, a good place to start out is Tagazout just north of Agadir. It should cost you four to six Dirham’s (DH) or about 0.60 cents for the eight-kilometre bus ride from Agadir local bus stop to Tagazout.
Once you’re there, take a stroll down the only street in the town and see what you can find for a place to stay. Many faux guides will offer you a place to stay through their “brother” or “friend” or “his brother’s friend’s cousin.”
Sometimes it’s a hit and other times they are just wasting your time. Don’t be afraid to say no more then a few times. They’re persistent.
A few of the random people we met provided some of the funniest situations on the trip by offering us a well-argued deal. You’ve got to work for a deal there as I think deal-making is a national pastime.
In Tagazout there is Banana Beach, which is the main beach, and moving northwest along the coast from there you will find Hash Point, Anchor Point and Boilers (about 3 km north). These produce some of the most accessible surf in Morocco, although it’s more inconsistent then the beaches further north.
If you don’t have your own gear, and there’s a good chance of that considering what airlines are charging to fly surfboards, your best chances to rent gear, in all of Morocco, is here. It’s about 80 DH to 100 DH per day with a wetsuit. Don’t let them tell you otherwise.
You’ll learn quickly that prices are very flexible depending on the nature of the seller. So if you’re planning on visiting some other breaks further north or south, get your board here for a good price and take it with you. Like anywhere else, expect to leave a deposit or photocopy of ID.
Other places with surf breaks we went to don’t have any boards, or what they do have is so bad you’d be better off trying to surf the lid of a garbage can. At least it wouldn’t be beaten, buckled and brown.
From here you could head south, but you’ll be getting into the Western Sahara, which isn’t much of a tourist destination. Could be due to there being one of the largest minefields in the world and the 45-degree heat, but we didn’t take our chances to confirm this.
Your best bet is to head north to a few other surfing breaks near Essaouira, Safi, Qualidia and El-Jadida. If there’s swell you should have no problems finding waves. The local buses aren’t too pleasant but you can tough it out if you want to save a few bucks.
If you don’t have a lot of time, renting a vehicle would be best, but be careful of break-ins and other various other obstacles on the roads (e.g. sheep, mopeds, horses, people, children and taxis).
However if you are there for a longer time and don’t want to rent a vehicle, use CTM buses. They are clean, affordable and usually on time. We used them with no complaints!
If you follow the coast you will eventually come across Casablanca. This large, dirty, yet very historic city is one of the few places in Morocco with a good nightlife. So get your party-on here while you can (Note: Hit up the Spanish bar near the central market; the party is in the basement).
After this you can either head further north along to coast until you reach Rabat and cut inland from there or continue to the Straight of Gibraltar. There is surf from Rabat north but it is less developed and sometimes difficult to access.
Lastly, I would strongly recommend staying at least one night in the Medieval Imperial City of Fez. One of the oldest cities in the world and the world’s first city to have a university; it’s a very unique place!
Excellent leather products (make sure you see the Tanneries, they’re breathtaking!), great food and crisp mountain air makes Fez a great place to relax when there’s no swell in the forecast.