Small-town Moroccan Life
We spent five days in Marrakech exploring and waiting for our surfboards to arrive, as they didn’t fit into the hold of our turbo-prop plane coming from Lisbon. The airline sent the boards on the following flight with a big enough airplane, which was a few days after we arrived in Marrakech.
We stayed in the Medina, which is the area enclosed by 19 kilometers of 6-meter high and 1-meter thick mud rampart walls. Most of the streets within the Medina are narrow and maze-like, creating a rabbit warren where it’s impossible not to get lost.
Luckily, as long as you can see the minaret of the Koutoubia Mosque, the tallest minaret in the city, you can always orient yourself.
Motorcycles and scooters zip by an inch or two beside pedestrians, and you have to always be on the alert so as not to get sideswiped by the vehicles.
The Djemaa El Fna is the heart of the Medina. It’s a wide-open square where vendors, street performers, snake charmers and food sellers set up, and tourists and locals alike mill about day and night.
My two favorite places that we visited were the Musée de la Photographie, which holds a collection of vintage black-and-white photographs of Morocco from 1870 to the 1950s:
The Musée de la Photographie also serves up a mean chicken tagine at their rooftop café:
and the Jardin Majorelle, a garden that belonged to Yves Saint-Laurent and was gifted to the city of Marrakech upon his death. It’s a peaceful and soothing respite from the heat and traffic of Marrakech.
YSL’s ashes were scattered in the garden, and his memorial is tucked away in a shady corner.
When our surfboards arrived, we took the bus to a small town on the coast near Agadir. The most famous surf town in Morocco is Taghazout, which fellow travelers had warned us had become so overrun that it should be called Tagha-zoo; aggressive touts, crowded waves, and pricier-than-average food and accommodation. We heard about a small fishing village with a few good-quality breaks, close to but much less crowded than Taghazout, and we headed there.
The village is super small, with no wired internet and only one local payphone. There are no ATMs or supermarkets, and only a handful of cafés and small restaurants. The entire town can be walked across in ten minutes.
The first few days we were here, the waves were mediocre: disorganized swell caused by a storm front. We were worried that we’d made the wrong choice of towns. But then the weather cleared up, the sun came out, and the waves turned on.
There are two point breaks and a reef, and the waves are fun and uncrowded.
We rented a nice apartment and will just be hanging out, surfing and enjoying the Moroccan food and village life for the next month.