Morocco… this is a country of fragrant food, flamboyant colours and chaotic markets.
The wonderful thing about Morocco is it is close enough and cheap enough that you don’t have to plan a long time out to visit. It’s a great destination for a quick week break to grab some sun and soak up a new culture. This desert country is known for two main activities – hiking and surfing. Hiking in the intense North African heat didn’t quite feel like the flavour of the day so we signed ourselves up for a week of yoga and surfing instead.
Now, normally when I travel, it is very much as a backpacker. Staying in the cheapest hostels or home stays, eating from local markets and shopping around or pre-planning for any activities so I can manage my budget. This time round, instead of figuring out where to stay, where to eat, how to get around and how much to pay for board hire, we stayed in a surf camp – and I’m so glad we did! Not only are all your meals, travel and even activities sorted for you, staying in a surf camp gives you a great opportunity to meet some really cool people and forge new friendships around the world.
There are so many surf camps around Agadir so make sure you do your homework. We signed ourselves up for a Surf and Yoga stay at Moroccan Surf Adventures because their villa was so beautiful, close to the beach and the airport and their package included so many great extras. Also, a lot can be said for their speedy and incredibly helpful service over email to get the trip set up and answer any questions I had – that was really what closed the deal for me.
Every morning we woke with the sun for an hour of Vinyasa Flow yoga before breakfast was served. Straight after breakfast we would pack up all our gear, grab a board and go in search of swell. We would spend a good 6 hours out on the beach soaking up the sun and paddling for the waves before heading back for the incredible daily dinner spread prepared by resident chef Momo.
Momo even treated us all to a Moroccan cooking class on one of the days and I have to say I have never seen cooking like it. Throw out the recipe book, forget the measurements, add more of what you like and leave out everything you don’t. All the ingredients are roughly chopped and thrown into one pot with ladles (I’m barely exaggerating here) of home grown herbs and spices and a pint of fresh olive oil. Once everything is in the pot, Momo tells us we need to let it simmer for thirty minutes. An hour and a half later – we get distracted by some highly competitive ping pong and a few too many beers – we tucked into an authentic Moroccan tagine and it was delicious!
The other activity that was highly recommended to us was a trip to the Agadir Souk. We took a day out from surfing and went shopping in one of the largest and most chaotic markets I have ever experienced. You have to do it but maybe just once!
I have managed to rack up quite the list of countries I’ve been lucky enough to catch a wave or two in – including Bali, Australia, the Canary Islands, South Africa and now Morocco. If you’re keen for a surfing trip I would definitely recommend booking yourself into a surf camp as they will save you a lot of time and effort (and probably money too) setting you up with the right equipment, driving you to where the waves are and giving you the insider scoop on the best places to eat and shop.
If you do want to go it alone and keep your costs down, make sure you check out the local accommodation – stay in a local Riad or home stay rather than a hotel – book ahead for any tours or activities as much as possible or you will be over-charged, eat local dishes because pizza and bangers and mash is going to cost you, and learn to haggle!