Essaouira is a beautiful part of Morocco and its allure is emphasised by its sensational, natural beauty. In a world that is increasingly under threat of global warming, what better way to experience travelling than in an eco-friendly manner? Here are 5 activities that fit the bill, the budget and the planet.
This is a strongly recommended tour – although this is pegged as a hike, it’s most definitely more relaxed and much more like a stroll than anything else. The well-informed guide will walk you through the Argan forests full of trees and you may even be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the local tree-climbing goats. The tour itself takes about 5 hours and although it may be more of a stroll than a hike, this duration requires sturdy shoes or you’ll experience deep regret.
A trip to a local Berber village for a round of traditional mint-tea and a tasty lunch is a welcome change of pace while walking out in the sun. The women’s cooperative is an interesting visit too – the process with which they turn Argan nuts into oil is painstaking and will make you want to add value to their labour, by buying some of their hand-made products. The guides themselves are well-versed in the local ecology of the area and will provide an interesting insight into the effects of man on the environment.
Kite Surfing Adventure
The kite surfing adventure is certainly that – an adventure. If you’ve never done this before and you’ve got the courage, it’s most certainly worth a go. The lessons are relatively cheap at the time of writing, but check before you go to avoid any nasty surprises. The lessons usually last an hour, but the preparation time takes quite a bit longer, so leave an hour either side.
As with many of the attractions in Essaouira, you have to have an open mind and a bit of faith when embarking on this particular journey, as it will take persistence and of course, a little bit of patience. The instructors are very welcoming and will always do their utmost to accommodate even the absolute beginner.
The Medina at Essaouira has to be experienced to be understood. Its ancient walls wrap completely around the labyrinthine souks (Arabic markets), while the internal architecture’s blue and white aesthetic conjures imagery of the sea. Within the souls there is much to be experienced – a plethora of shops and stalls, selling everything from silver tea sets to musical instruments – you can even pick up a kitchen sink.
The food in the souks is not to be missed. The rich and spicy tagines and cous-cous dishes will whet your appetite for the delicious Moroccan pastries that will come as dessert.
Getting to Morocco is wonderfully simple – regular flights leave from Glasgow airport, but as there are a limited number of car parks in Glasgow, it’s worth taking advantage of the car parks in Glasgow Airport itself. Once you’ve arrived, getting a coach from Marrakech to Essaouira is again, surprisingly simple and cheap. The best way to approach this is to ask in your hotel or riad.