From the moment I stepped off the plane in Agadir, I was overwhelmed by the beauty of this extraordinary country. The sun had just set over the Atlas Mountains in the distance, and the sky danced in shades of sherbert, light orange to light pink, creating a visual I can only describe as breathtaking. I have heard many people describe Morocco as a “sensory overload,” and I can understand why that is, however, my experience was different.
To me, Morocco is a sensory masterpiece.
Photography by Maggie Joeckel
Presented by Surf Maroc
The purpose of this trip was multifaceted. While I have been mesmerized by the souks, food, culture and people for years, the rest of the group had more of a one-track mind, and that was surf. Many people may not think of surf when they hear Morocco, however, it’s actually quite well-known within the surf community for its consistent winter swells and endless right-hand point breaks. For this reason, our Moroccan adventure started toward the south, in a town called Taghazout. Eventually we made our way up the coast, over to Marrakech, and finally ended with a night in the desert. Not surprisingly, each stop along the way was even more incredible than the last, in a way I could have never imagined it would be.
Allow me to set the record straight.
I had been told Taghazout was a dirty town that had little to offer other than perfect waves. This news was great for some, not as great for others (eh-hem, me). Well, allow me to set the record straight, Taghazout is an incredible seaside town, with vibrant, colorful buildings, winding alleyways weaving in and out of the beach, and some of the happiest, friendliest people I have ever met. How this place remains under the radar is a miracle and one that I don’t want to ruin by explaining why it should be on your 2018 bucket list.
No cars are allowed inside these 18th-century walls–walls that are still lined with original brass cannons pointing out to sea.
From Taghazout, we drove two hours up the coast to the windy port city of Essaouira. As we pulled up to the gated walls of the medina (the old city) it felt like we had been transported back in time. No cars are allowed inside these 18th-century walls–walls that are still lined with original brass cannons pointing out to sea. You’ll find plenty of mule-drawn carts, with Berber rugs spilling over the sides. We spent our days wandering the narrow, cobblestone streets and eventually ended up in the marina – where the fish market was bustling, and everyone came to buy the fresh catch before sundown. Watching this scene unfold gave us a pang of nostalgia for the fishing village we call home.
The next part of our journey took us to Morocco’s golden child, Marrakech. This city is the reason people from all over the world make the pilgrimage to Morocco, and let me tell you, it’s for a damn good reason. The Red City is truly nothing short of amazing. The hotels are stunning, the food is culinary greatness, the people are so welcoming, and the energy inside the medina rivals that of a bustling New York City–but much more civilized. I spent days getting lost in seas of leather, straw, wool, and silver, wandering the souks in search of something special to bring home. Since I left quite a big piece of my heart in Morocco, it seemed only fitting that I bring a piece (okay, multiple pieces) of Morocco home with me, too.
Before heading back to the homeland, our bags filled with finds from our days wandering, we spent a night at a Kasbah in the peaceful Palmeraie and ended at the foothills of the Atlas Mountains in a tented desert camp. Both experiences were vastly different, neither to be missed.
It’s safe to say my love affair with Morocco has only just begun, and I look forward to many more trysts through the desert.