Taghazout & Essaouira, Morocco

Taghazout

The next stop on our trip was the coastal town of Taghazout. Historically the town was known for its hippy hangout but nowadays it is the surf capital of Morocco.


We arrived in the town, again via grand taxi, and started looking for accommodation. Within two seconds a gentleman approached us and asked if we would like to rent his apartment. By this point we were completely used to being approached by the locals and didn’t see it as quite so intrusive. We agreed to view his flat (which was right at the top of a hill looking out on the coast) and agreed to pay for one night stay. I remember it being an absolute bargain – we had two bedrooms, a big living room and a kitchen. Not that we actually really used them, but it was a nice change from the hostels that we had grown used to.



The streets of tagazhout are lined with surf shops and cafés and there is most definitely a very ‘chilled’ out vibe to the town.



We decided to take a wander across the beach and were swiftly approached by an elderly man and his young grandson and asked if we wanted to buy drugs. Oh right. This turned out to be quite normal in this town, apparently it hasn’t quite shaken off its hippie reputation!

Taghazout beach

We didn’t stay too long in Taghazout but enjoyed spending another day in front of the ocean.

Essaouira

Our final stop on our tour of Morocco was the beautiful port city of Essaouria. Essaouria is a fortified walled city right on the sea – it’s known as the ‘wind city of Africa’ due to the strong sea breeze that hammers at its defenses.

Wind swept in the wind city of Africa

We loved Essaouria – there was so much to see and do that it was easy to lose track of time. The ancient Medina (now a UNESCO heritage site) is the perfect place to explore, get lost in the narrow alleys and take in the thick sea air mixed with sweet spices. Essaouria is quite an arty town and there’s many installations to see which makes for an interesting stop off.

Carpet Alley, Essaouria

Miles and I made sure that we purchased all of our leather goods here at the end of the trip – it’s safe to say we went to town, from shoes, pouffes and boots to camel bags!

During our trip I had seen many stalls selling authentic leather boots with Moroccan carpet edging – I completely fell in love. Here in Essaouria I saw a gorgeous pair but didn’t like the cream colour of the leather – ‘not a problem’ said the shop owner before picking up a pot of paint and lacquering the boots. I guess I had no choice at that stage – I had to buy them! Lucky I loved them so much.

My beloved carpet boots!

Essaouria is famous for its thriving fish market and it’s safe to say the presence of seafood in the air is never far away. At the end of the market the traders literally throw all of their off cuts and unsold produce onto the street where the hordes of seagulls swoop down to devour every last scrap. One piece of advice – if you do visit the market, do not wear any type of canvas shoe! Miles and I both wore Toms and must have absorbed half of the fish guts on the floor by the smell that lingered on our feet. I say lingered – it was impenetrable – the shoes had to be thrown away!

The fish market

After enjoying the delights of Essaouria for a couple of days we reluctantly made our way back to Marrakesh to board a plane back home.

I’m so pleased we decided to travel around Morocco, it’s crazy that you can fly only a short distance from home and enter a world with a completely different culture, landscape and people. It’s fascinating and magical and I couldn’t recommend it more.