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Friday, 9 May 2014 12:00 AM

Things to do in Morocco on Holiday – Try a Watersport

Although my trips to Morocco are normally not for holiday, I often find time to relax a little and see what’s on offer where I am. A classic example of this is Essaouira and the watersports available on the beach there, which are in complete contrast with the history of the town’s medina.

I am an enthusiast of water sports, but am no better than intermediate standard at any of them so Essaouira is an excellent place to dip your toes in the water.

The Beach of Essaouira

Essaouira lies on the Atlantic coast around a 2.5 hour drive almost due west of Marrakech, which is the main port of entry for most visitors.

Essaouira has a walled medina and plenty of choice of accommodation with classic riads available in many price bands, but it also has a long, wide, shallow sand beach, which is protected from the worst of the Atlantic sea conditions by the Island of Mogador that lies a little way offshore.

Towards the end closest to the medina are a few cafes and places for hire of sun loungers and parasols, but from there on as you head south along the beach away from the medina are a number of international brand and local watersports’ huts – offering kit hire and tuition as necessary.

The weather in Essaouira is remarkably temperate, so watersports are an option all year round, but in peak winter many visitors many consider it a little chilly (late teens deg C average, wet suit advisable) and in peak summer it can get a little too windy for most. At all times strong sun protection is recommended.

I Tried to Surf and Kitesurf

The ability to do watersports is notoriously unpredictable, specifically whether the conditions (waves, wind etc) will be right for you on the day, so Naturally Morocco does not recommend pre-booking kit or tuition, and there are plenty of suppliers on the beach to book on the spot.

That was the case when I wanted to try to kitesurf (for the first time). I turned up at a hut late in an afternoon and was reassured that the conditions would be ideal (light to fresh breeze) the next day so I put my name down. The next day came and, full of nerves, I turned up to find the forecast had changed to that of almost a flat calm (no good for getting a kite to drag me across the water) so after an hour or so of doing the basics (rigging the kite, safety etc) we flew our kites for a little while on the beach in the very gentle breeze before being persuaded to stop for the day and go surfing.

I am a novice surfer but the waves were around 2-3 foot and gently peeling, almost perfect for me to catch some clean waves with almost no-one else around.  Later we looked at Sidi Kaouki (a drive to the south) but the shore-dump looked a little rough for us, and then we were taken to a beach just to the north of Essaouira which suited us rather better.

I had several pleasant hours in the water, none of which had been pre-planned and so was rather a bonus during my time in Essaouira.