They say that life begins at the edge of your comfort zone. Beyond that is where the magic happens. This is why we travel. To stretch our horizons further than our understanding. To teeter over the edge of the known.
This is also why Morocco is such a dream destination. Nothing compares to the mystique of this panorama: camel rides, berber tents and desert nights lit by the milky way.
Sometimes we should also seek out the familiar in far off places.
Familiarity is a perfect yardstick to measure distance and difference. We realize just how far we have travelled. One of the best ways to experience this is to seek out the other side of Morocco; to find Morocco's beaches.
On the south coast of Morocco, just north of the city of Agadir, you will find a stretch of coast and villages. Here you will sink into the familiarity of the beach lifestyle. You will be reminded of what surf culture is all about: relaxation, nature, camaraderie. You will recognize these villages as surf towns, see the similarities with Goa in India or the coast of Mexico.
These similarities highlight the differences. In Morocco, from daybreak to dusk, the day will resound with the call to prayer. Wherever you go, the harsh sunlight is shadowed by tall mosques.
Surfer Magazine has said that Morocco has “the best point break on the Atlantic”. This is just one of the reasons you should go. Morocco is both the perfect place to surf as well as to learn, grow and explore.
So, go seek the great unknown. Travel to Morocco. To put you on your path, here is an insider’s guide to the country’s best beaches. Meet you there. Insha'Allah, God-willing.
Taghazout is a small fishing village turned hippie haven, as famous for its surf as its postcard-perfect vista. Nowadays, more locals work in surfing than fishing. Surf culture is everything in this town, both its beating heart and its life blood.
Taghazout is perhaps more touristy than the surrounding beaches but its beach lifestyle draws a relaxed crowd of surfers, hippies and adventurers.
The aspect of the village faces due west. Salute the sunset from your yoga mat, whilst sipping fresh juice or paddling straight for the horizon.
Behind the beautiful doorways made of carved wood and mosaic tiles, you will find plenty of accommodation options.
Foodies will love L'Auberge, where you can dine beneath a cascade of purple flowers. Next door you will find a little nameless cafe where it is all too easy to daydream away the afternoon with mint tea, a book and fellow travelers. Imagine all this to the soundtrack of breezy acoustic songs, crashing waves and fishermen haggling in Arabic. Perhaps the occasional camel appearance, too.
A few kilometers down the coast from Taghazout is the sleepy town of Tamraght. Tamraght has less of the hustle and bustle of village life. Like buried treasure, you will find magic in the little discoveries here. Walking these quiet streets, you will stumble upon small luxuries like French cheese shops and a patisserie. There is a Hammam- a traditional spa, where you can indulge in an argan oil massage.
There are not so many dining options here, but Babakoul is a stylish little cafe where you will find great crepes and coffee.
There are a number of surf camps based in Tamraght. The closest beach is Immouran, a great option for beginners. It also hosts some international surf comps and is home to the Immouran Surf Association, a not-for-profit that teaches local kids to surf. On an off day, if the surf is below par, you can gallop on horseback along the beach.
Just around the point from Immouran is Banana Beach and it is unlike any other beach you have surfed or seen before.
The beach is strewn with more than just rocks. Walking toward the sea, you will stumble over washed up mosaics and the fragments of other people’s lives. Shoes. Cameras. Trash. Quite literally the kitchen sink. Yet, surfers still flock here for the waves and the whimsy. Yogis also come here for Villa Mandala, the yoga retreat right on the beach.
At the end of the beach you will find Aourir. This market town is perhaps the most authentic village along this part of the coast. You will not spot many tourists here. What you will find is a thriving community, charming in its chaos. Try the street food and fresh, locally grown, fruit and veggies. The best day for these precious finds is Wednesday. On Wednesdays the town is dominated by a huge market. Come by to sip tea with berber jewelers and haggle for remedies with a medicine man.
Be sure to practice your French, or even your Arabic, with the locals. You will be rewarded with great conversation, good friends and a priceless insight into the nuances of life in modern Morocco.
By the time you return home from Morocco, you will have changed in some small way. The best journeys in life are those that answer questions that you never thought to ask.
Your time in Morocco will be full of these questions and answers. We live in a time when we fear the unknown. In so many newspapers and media, Islam is the most unknown and feared of all.
This is the best part of Morocco’s beaches. The beach culture is a source of connection, something travelers and locals have in common. You will leave with some sand stuck in your shoes, maybe a souvenir tucked into your suitcase. The most important thing you will bring home is a new understanding. After all, that is what travel is all about.