August
19

Surf Guide: Morocco

When MI OLA brand ambassador Susi @insta_susi isn’t surfing waves in her home country of Norway or chasing the Northern Lights, she loves to explore new places to surf. This past February Susi and her husband packed their bags and headed to Morocco to surf and explore. Check our Susi’s Surf Guide to Morocco below!

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Africa’s longest wave, Imsouane. Photograph by @kkbrunvaer

Morocco is a country on the Northwest coast of North Africa.  It’s at a similar latitude as the Canary Islands and not too far south of Spain. Morocco is one of the most diverse countries in all of Africa, boasting high mountains, desserts and a long rugged coastline. Winding colorful alleyways in ancient medina cities and souqs make you feel like you are in a fairy-tale like 1001 nights.

Morocco has been a popular European winter escape since the 1970s. Hippies and surfers would camp and explore the coastline and the country for months on end. Most Moroccan people still lead a traditional life on the countryside. Morocco’s ancient medinas are quite the contrast to the rural areas. These antique old towns are bustling with life. The country boasts four imperial cities. Marrakesh, Fes, Meknes and Rabat are packed full of colorful bazaars, stunning palaces and bustling town squares. In fact, Unesco has bestowed World Heritage Status on the Fez medina, the world’s largest medieval Islamic city, as well as parts of Marrakesh.

Morocco is an Islamic country.  You will hear prayer calls in the morning and evenings. If you speak French or English, most people will understand you – their native tongue is Moroccan Arabic or Berber. The currency is Dirham with 1 USD giving you about 9 Dirham and 1 Euro gives you roughly 11 Dh (as of August 2017.)  You can travel by train or bus from city to city. Taxis are fairly cheap and rental cars are also an option, just watch out for erratic drivers.

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Surf in Morocco.Photograph by @kkbrunvaer

Surf Guide to Morocco:

Morocco boasts waves all year round, but the better, bigger waves are found in the winter months November-March. Bring a wetsuit around this time as the ocean temp is only 60-64 degrees. The summer months will have small waves, but it’s also very hot (often over 100 degrees Farenheit, 35 degress Celsius.)  Always ask the locals or surf guides which surf spots will work best on certain tides and swells.

To escape the cold winter in Norway, we flew to Adagir in late February. Norwegian Air offers direct flights from Oslo to Adagir (or Copenhagen – Agadir) every Saturday in the winter time, so off we went to enjoy a week of warm weather, good waves and no kids.  While I prefer the tropical flair of Hawaii and Bali, this was a great way to maximize surfing time and not waste days on travel since the flights from Oslo only take 5 hours and from Agadir Airport it is only a little over one hour car ride to the beachside village of Taghazout.

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MI OLA Ambassador Susi – @insta_susi Photograph by @kkbrunvaer

Taghazout

This place is a little surf mecca with the world renowned Anchor Point and plenty of other waves within walking distance. Kind of like the North Shore of Oahu, you will find wave after wave within a really short distance. The village caters mainly for surf tourists with a surf shop, many board rentals and surf schools. Many of these offer packages for overnight stays and surf lessons.  At the south end of Taghazout there is a long, white sand beach where you can swim, play ball on the beach, rent sun-chairs or ride camels (this is your spot where you get your photo on a camel on the beach). Along the next 2 to 3 km north you will find plenty of right hand point breaks, and famous Anchor Point. Anything after Killer Point you will need a car. Also, if you have a surfboard with you, it is nice to just take the car from Taghazout and park in front of the big surf breaks.

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MI OLA Ambassador Susi – @insta_susi Photograph by @kkbrunvaer

If there is a big swell and good waves, an immense crowd will gather and watch the best surfers battle it out at Anchor Point. It is very much like when Pipeline goes off! The surf will be crowded, so unless you are very good, you are best to watch on those days and bring a camera. A real nail-biter to watch is people jumping off the rocks to get out to the surf break. This is not for the fainthearted and it is important to time your entry right with big sets rolling in.

Post surf: If you are lucky the doughnut man or mint tea man will walk past on the beach and you can buy some yummy moroccan treats.

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Anchor Point. Photograph by @kkbrunvaer

 

Anza:

About 20-30 minutes south of Taghazout on the way to Agadir you will find a surf spot called Anza. This place is a nice beach break with various peaks, lefts and rights. Make sure you walk to the end of the beach to check out the dinosaur footprints that are embedded in the rock shelf. You will find a couple of yellow info signs there.

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Dinosaur footprints at Anza. Photograph by @kkbrunvaer

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Dinosaur footprints at Anza. Photograph by @kkbrunvaer

Imsouane:

About an hour and fifteen minutes north of Taghazout you will find one of Africa’s longest waves, Imsouane, or lovingly called, “the bay”. It is a long right hand point break that rolls into a safe bay. It is very easy here to catch the longest wave of your life, walk back around the sandy beach and have a short paddle out just to do it all over again. As the wave can be a tiny bit sluggish, it is enjoyed by a lot of longboarders. Surf schools are big here too, so expect a crowded line-up! If you are a short-boarder, this place is still heaps of fun on your shortboard and I highly recommend it. Next time I definitely want to stay in this sleepy fishing village and surf some epic, long waves.

At high tide, the wave just about disappears, so grab some delicious fresh seafood at one of the beachside restaurants. You won’t find any better freshly squeezed orange juice anywhere in the world – the flavor is awesome as the oranges are locally grown! If you are a surfer and want a place to stay, try the BoardXhouse – a surf house overlooking the surf break and bay with a rooftop swimming pool.

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Photograph by @kkbrunvaer

 

 

 

What to do in Morocco (besides surf!):

Visit a souk! Markets are called souks and are one of the biggest attractions all over the country. Souks are major feature in Moroccan life and act as the heart of a city. Within a souk there are various sections that specialize in certain crafts. All the spices will be sold in one area while the rugs, fabrics and jewellery will all have their own place. Be sure to bargain about the price!!!

Discover ancient Morocco by visiting one of the imperial towns like Marrakesh and Fes and get transported back in time.

Go on a camel-back trek with an overnight stay in the Sahara and stay in a traditional Berber tent.

Climb North Africa’s highest peak. With 4167 meters you can even bring your skis along, but be prepared to carry them for a good part of the way.

 

Where to Stay:

We stayed a week at the Lapoint Surf Camp and chose their “basic” model, which is accommodation with breakfast and dinner. This way, we could head with our rental car to wherever the waves where best and were independent. Lapoint’s main clients were in their 20s and learning to surf or working on their surf skills that they had acquired on a previous surf trip. (Some Lapoint camps offer more than level three coaching, where you can choose intermediate or advanced surfing options and get a surf coach + video analysis.) Lapoint surf camp offers dorm rooms for either 4 or 8 people with their own showers and toilets. If you want a bit more privacy, you can pay extra and opt for one of their two apartments – that’s what my husband and I opted for.

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MI OLA Ambassador Susi – @insta_susi Photograph by @kkbrunvaer

Breakfast and dinner were both buffet style and served on a rooftop terrace overlooking the fishing village. Free Wi-Fi and healthy, tasty meals were exactly what one wants to relax a bit after surfing. For lunch we went downstairs to La Paix or Sunset, but there are quite a few other restaurant options as well.

Twice a week Lapoint offers free yoga classes for guests on their roof top terrace –It was nice to stretch after all that surfing!

Other options in Taghazout are Berbere surf school, WOW (World of Waves – – which just recently opened and offers beautiful double rooms and a lovely restaurant for non guests overlooking a surf spot right at the beach. Their food was delicious and reasonably well priced.), and Sol House in Taghazout bay, quite close to Anchor point. (This is where Carissa More stayed in January. There are beautiful, small, freestanding wooden bungalows with a lovely pool overlooking the ocean. Since the area around Agadir is quite earthquake prone, this will be your safest accommodation since all the other buildings are made of brick.)

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World of Waves. Photograph by MI OLA Ambassador Susi – @insta_susi

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MI OLA Ambassador Susi – @insta_susi Photograph by @kkbrunvaer

Families or a group of friends could rent an apartment at La Source, a few hundred meters north of Anchor point. Surf spots Mysteries, La Source and Killer Point are right in front! There is a pool area where you can nicely watch the surf at all three breaks. Also, you can sunbathe and swim in the little bay just to the right where you will be paddling out (or walking along the cliff ) to surf Killer Point.

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Photograph by @kkbrunvaer

How to get there: 

By ferry: From Spain there are 5 ferry-ports that reach 4 different ports in Morocco. If you are adventurous, book yourself a flight to the south of Spain, rent a car there and travel to Morocco by ferry. This can be your cheapest option and the quickest ferry routes take 1 hour.

By plane: Options are Casablanca (CMN), Menara (RAK) – just 6km away from Marrakesh, Adagir (AGA) and a lot more. National air travel is also a good option to get from A to B if you have little time.

Good to know:

Dress with modesty as it is a Muslim county and go easy on public affection if you travel with your partner. Cheeky bikini bottoms are OK, but not thong!  Also, be careful when getting changed in and out of your wetsuit on the beach. I had to gather all three surfbuddies around me once as two men just stopped 2 meters away from me and gave me death stares as I was changing. As far as clothing, avoid wearing anything sexy or revealing. As a rule of thumb, ussually skirts and shorts should cover the knees and one shouldn’t see much cleavage or the shoulders. Since Taghazout is a surf town, they said tank tops are OK and that one could wear shorts. Finally, watch your belongings or hide them out of sight in your car.

 

Interested in joining the MI OLA Ambassador Program?

Know of anyone who should #GetOutThere with us?

Then shoot us an email at info@MI-OLA.com