Locals enjoy the Sunset in Essaouira
When: Essaouira is a year round surfing Mecca.
Happenings: Delicious seafood but most importantly, fantastic wind for surfing
Remember to bring: Wind surf board and a chilled out temperament
The small coastal town of Essaouira makes a welcome retreat from the bustle and hassle of Marrakech, just half a day’s bus ride away. This little fishing town boasts long, white sandy beaches and some of the best conditions for windsurfing in the whole of Africa. Above all, Essaouira is the place to visit when you want to kick back and relax, and as yet remains relatively unspoiled, being popular with independent travellers and holidaying Moroccans rather than package tours.
Essaouira plays host to several national and international windsurfing competitions promoting itself as ‘Windy City Afrika’. Diabat, Sidi Kaouki and Cap Sim are the most popular places for windsurfing, and over the years the windsurfers have replaced the hippies of the 60’s when Diabat was home to a commune lead by Jimi Hendrix.
If you wander down to the harbour you can savour freshly cooked seafood: sardines, squid and prawns in particular. The old sea bastion here offers excellent views out over the bay toward the exotically named “Isles Purpuraires” (Purple Islands). No, they’re not purple, but were named because of the oysters once farmed there for the purple dye they produce – a luxury sought after by the upper classes of Italy who used it to dye their robes. Today the islands are home to a bird sanctuary and the endangered species ‘Eleanor’s falcon’.
With good whether all year round, there are no ‘best’ times to visit Essaouira. Day time temperatures can get very hot in the summer months, and are pleasantly warm in the winter. Windsurfers frequent the waters all year.
Go windsurfing and hire the kit on the coast from:
Ocean Vagabond, Essaouira
Tel: 00 212 61 13 56 44
Fax: 00 212 44 47 44 90
Everything you need to know about Essaouira
By Debbie Fabb