If someone ever asked me to shortly describe Morocco, I would say this: “blend together lots of great waves, some warm sunshine, a couple slices of exotic culture, pour it into the glass, decorate with chilled lifestyle and relaxed smiling locals. And there you go… Still, it will be only just a very little part of what actually hides inside Morocco”. That’s a magnificent country, surprising, astonishing and even shocking. For instance, it’s pretty common to see four cow legs without the body in the middle of the street. You just need to get used to that kind of views.
When it comes to airfares flying from Europe, there’s hardly any airline Ryanair can compete with. Plenty of connections with main cities and always good price for budget travelers. First night, arriving in Marrakesh was extremely exciting and exotic. The main plaza was full of people. Food stands were full of exotic food like sheep brain, cobras, snails… and scooters… those crazy scooters squeeze into the smallest gaps to drive through. You simply can’t find this in western culture. Marrakesh is also full of annoying ORIGINAL FAKE clothing street sellers and local unexplainable outlook or behavior people. Cultural shock is included in your ticket price, so be prepared. Some might feel this sort of experience too radical, but it’s not Morocco yet. Southern and coastal cities are very different in culture and lifestyle.
There’s no need to pre-book your hotel. There’s plenty of hotels, hostels and apartments to rent. Locals will immediately recognize tourists and offer help to find a place to stay. Of course, they are getting their share of money you pay to the hotel they suggest. Thus, your stay will cost an Euro or two more. On the other hand, if someone helped you out, why wouldn’t you support them? The most important thing when traveling on a tight budget is to be patient. See as many places as possible and most likely you’ll find an option that suits you. Usually that kind of search takes you a half an hour. During our stay we’ve paid 6-10 Euros per person per night.
Restaurants and sea food stands will offer you a nice meal for 10 Euros. But if you have kitchen in your apartment and know how to use it, after a quick stop in the market, you’ll get a nice meal for four for the same price. The fish is fresh, delicious and cheap! 1kg of tuna costs around 1,5 Euro. Markets are full of various fish and seafood – from cats food to morays and lobsters. Don’t like seafood? No problem, you can choose from chicken (filleted or still running in the backyard), goat heads, sheep brain, snails, cow legs and traditional beef too. Everything except, as it belongs in Muslim country, pork.
Winds are more consistent and stronger in the summertime, while waves ar nicer and bigger in the winter. Of course you can still surf in the summer. Simply the conditions are better for longboarding. Those who are looking for wind, travel to Essaouira, Dakhla or Moulay bay. Surfers usually travel to Taghazout. That was our choice too. However we didn’t feel at the right place. Waves weren’t any special and the lifestyle “not-a-step-without-a-surf” seemed to be a bit oversaturated. We took the risk to explore the coast and went further South. We found the little town of Sidi Ifni. Ifni surprised us with relaxed atmosphere and left-handed waves. Dominant wave breaks in Morocco are right-handed, so for a goofy footer it was a real treat. Surfboard rent costs almost the same everywhere – 10 Euro. You are free to choose from shortboards to softboards. They have everything! Well everything’s not new but still rideable. Once I lost a fin. But lucky me, manager was high so I payed only 5 euro for it.
More about the spots we’ve surfed:
We were kinda disappointed about this highly publicized spot. Maybe if we have visited a couple of surf spots further away from the town (Boilers, Killers and others), our opinion might have been different. However, rocks, long lineup looked little bit too scary for our beginner surf level. For the late afternoon session you can count on Hash Point break in the middle of the town beach. It’s still not very friendly for beginners. If you’ll get washed on the rocks it’s easy to break something. Bottom is rocky and deepens pretty quick. After a short hike on the rocks you can reach Panorama spot. Sections close out fast, but whitewater keeps pushing beginners. It’s a great spot to learn or ride a longboard. Bottom is clean (no reef or rocks) and shallow. The only annoying factor here – camels on the beach. They stink.
As soon as we’ve arrived to Ifni, we have found what we were looking for (or at least me). Friendly locals, good lefthanded break, and chilled atmosphere. Ifni has A frame break (wave breaks both ways and you can ride either right or left) which peels slower and the wave isn’t as powerful as others. The break next to the main one we called “Ifni Jaws”. Wave is always bigger and it peels very nicely. RIP current will take you out to the lineup. But be aware that after staying for too long in the current you’ll have to paddle back to the shore. And this might produce some adrenaline or simply cost you some strength. After a couple of paddles against it you’ll get used to it, no worries. Dominant wind direction is off-shore, side-off-shore. With side-off wind water surface gets choppy, but with off-shore wind wave becomes cleaner and even slower. Sidi Ifni is one of those places I already want to come back.
Morocco is highly recommended for anyone in search of waves, warm weather and chilled atmosphere. To say the truth, what else does a human being need? After catching a nice >2m (7-8′) wave, carving a bottom turn and surfing the wave as it’s meant to be surfed, my emotions erupted. That was one of the best things that ever happened to me. And while euphoria lasted for a couple of seconds only, the memories will remain for much longer. At least until I catch something bigger.