Africa, Surfing

Morocco

5 weeks in Morocco. Arrived with zero expectations which is possibly one of the most important things travelling has taught us! Flying into Marrakech was so cool, sorta felt like flying into the Pilbara in West Aus haha, and the last thing I expected to see was the HUGE mountain range framing Marrakech!

A HUGE thankyou to Anthony and Kathy for welcoming us into your wonderful home and collecting us from the airport 😀 So nice not having to haggle with taxi drivers! Anthony and Kathy are from NZ (Ants, Dan and I all went to primary school together then college with Dan before heading off!). They’ve been living all over Morocco for the past 10 years and I can’t express how epic it was having them to share their local knowledge/show us around/help out! Ants speaks Arabic too, sooo good!

Morocco, Sun Surf Soul

We ventured into the Medina which is absolutely buzzing at night, people everywhere, stalls, carts, shops with everything you could imagine and we tasted our first of many tagines- a traditional Moroccan dish.

Headed off to Essaouira the following day, where we were to start our next workaway, at a surf hostel in the medina. SO HECTIC! We were supposed to be running the reception (just being in the lobby incase someone comes) from 8-11am and then after 9pm at night but it was a new hostel (old building but just aquired) so it was empty most of the time! Constant noise and chaos from the streets outside started driving us nuts so we left after 2 weeks there. We were also unfortunately there for the slaughtering of the sheep festival (Eid Al Adha) which was absolutely HORRIFIC. Most of the medina was empty though as families tend to head home, it’s kinda like the Muslim equivalent of Christmas. A few were left in the medina though and the stench from the dead sheep was just horrid, for quite a few days afterward too. Poor sheepies, world sheep populations declined significantly that day!

The other hostel (owned by the same couple) is more established and they run the surf trips from there so we joined in a couple of times and went to Sidi Kaouki, past all the Argan trees with GOATS ALL THROUGH THEM hahah. So cool seeing it. The water is pretty nippy here! Hello numb toes. Essaouira is normally supposed to be windy but we somehow managed to score great weather 😀 Found heaps of really neat restaurants and did plenty of beach walks too with very quick swims. Camels and camel poos everywhere 😛 It’s so sad to say but there’s so much rubbish here, the beaches are covered as well as the rocks around the harbour/main square. Sitting back watching a beautiful sunset but it smells pretty gross and if you look over the wall you’ll see rubbish as far as the eye can see, heartbreaking.

So we left Essaouira and headed to Imsouane which is about 1.5hrs South along the coast. Sooooo peaceful and quiet and just what we needed 🙂 We stayed on the point overlooking the sea and mountains which was so picturesque. Surfed the bay as soon as we got there which was heaps of fun! On the point is a right hander, one of the longest in Africa! Wasn’t enough swell getting in to see it really work but you can get the idea from the lines.. wow. Morocco, the natural footers DREAM.

There aren’t many stores here and on a few occasions we tried to pay for lunch/coffee/dinner/dog food and the guy would be like oh sorry I haven’t got change can you come and pay later or tomorrow? I loveddd that! This is where I started accidentally finding puppies and kittens and feeding all of them. Generally, Moroccans (obviously not all!) don’t like dogs but seem to be ok with cats and some are really awful and mean and throw rocks and hurt the animals 🙁 The street dogs are just SO gorgeous too. Really beautiful but often very afraid of humans (no wonder 🙁 ) Just wanted to take them home and cuddle them all day long! Maybe on your next holiday you could find some snacks for some hungry little animals and full their bellies up for the night?! 😀 The dog pictured below (actually in Taghazout) was so awesome, we walked to Anchor Point for the sunset and she came running over and followed us down onto the rocks (it’s a popular spot for sunset so there were heapssss of people around) and she just wouldn’t leave my side, if I stopped giving her pats she would nuzzle my arm or rest her head in my lap or put her paw into my hand and went bizerk at a local guy who climbed up near us on the rocks! She even walked us home before we stopped and waited for her to turn around and head back to her spot. The next day we went back for the sunrise, she was sleeping and heard us coming, gave a quick bark then came running over SO fast and just leapt up onto me (dirty paws + white shirt=whooops) then just chilled next to me while Dan went surfing. Such a sweet girl! We also saved all our veggie/food scraps and gave them to the goats who seem to munch on cardboard a lot.

 After 4 nights here we continued south to Taghazout, about 1.5hrs further south along the coast. This place is a surf mecca! We stayed right on the beach here and had a peaky wave directly out front and could see Anchor Point from the balcony. So many surf spots here, Boilers and Anchor Point are the most well known but there are SO many other ones too! This was where I smashed my head open though so instead of visiting Paradise Valley the next day as planned we spent the day laying on the couch watching the ocean. Not so bad I guess! Taghazout is such a cool spot and the surf is just all time. However, they don’t seem to teach surf etiquette here which is really concerning given how many surf schools there are around…Unfortunately it’s been approved to build a huge hotel along the beachfront there which is going to kill the whole vibe! Glad we got in before it’s charm was taken away, but maybe/hopefully it will mean the waste management will be taken care of properly, we smelt this awful stench around midnight one night and popped out to the balcony only to see all the waste from the apartment blocks being pumped straight out to sea 😐 that was the end of my swimming in the ocean here!

After a week we were back on the bus to Marrakech and back to Kathy & Ants place (and the cutest kittens Holey and Moley)! Ahhh good to be home 😉 Marrakech has this really cool vibe about it, it’s crazy, there’s always something happening! We hired scooters and went all over, from the very real part of the medina which was overflowing with locals doing their shopping to the upper class area and a massive shopping centre! So mind blowing going from two extremes. Spent the weekend here then ventured into the Sahara Desert for 3 days, incase you missed the Sahara post, check it out here Sahara Desert.

Was an amazing experience that we highly recommend! A couple more days in Marrakech, we hired a car one day (dans toe couldn’t handle shoes without pouring out with blood so no scootering!) and Anthony drove us all over the show, thankyou 😀 A HUGE thanks again to Kathy & Anthony for welcoming us in!

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