KITESURFING HOLIDAYS - MOROCCO
Bordered by the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, situated at the top of Africa, we've often thought of Morocco as the nearest 'faraway feeling' place from Europe. Vastly different in culture but very well equipped, Essaouira offers you comfort and luxury as well as plenty of new experiences having retained its culture with a charming, bustling old medina by the harbour. The icing on the cake is that this picturesque fishing town is also Morocco's windiest town with a vast sandy beach that stretches for three miles.
THE SET UP
The best kiting is found towards the left side of the bay, away from the town, where the beach is less crowded and the wind is more constant. The curved shape of the bay and cross-on winds make it safe and kite schools offer safety boat assistance. Protected by the Mogador Islands and harbour, cross-shore winds from the right offer ideal conditions for beginner to expert. Find flat water up close to the medina (where the wind is a little gustier), open water in the middle of the bay and waves and clean winds in the downwind corner. In the summer this is a great spot for getting in to waves. There are also some other fantastic spots close-by. Advanced wave riders head to Moulay Bouzarktoune and Sidi Kaoki, both just out of town.
WIND, WEATHER AND WATER
The huge temperature differences in land and sea accelerate the summer northeasterly trade wind in the afternoon. Generally blowing from the north / northeast 15 - 25 knots, during the summer months of July and August this increases considerably, up to 40 knots. Consistent winds from April - September. Out of the water it's very warm when the wind drops. Constant water temperatures 17 - 20°C / 63 - 68°F, but with the wind it's recommended you wear a wetsuit all year. Bigger waves in winter with the wind coming from the south. Conditions aren't guaranteed then, but still good for about 60% of the time.
The kite spots are just a ten minute walk from town. You may want a car for outside the medina or to get to other great spots. It's usually $30 per day. Car hire certainly isn't essential though as most things are walking distance and taxis are cheap and reliable. Daily kite trips to other spots can be organised by the kite schools.
Currency: Moroccan Dirham (MAD) - £1 = MAD13 / €1 = MAD11 / $1 = MAD8 ATMs and card payments outside the medina. You will struggle to get Dirhams outside of Morocco so change your money when you arrive or take a few Euros with you.
The character of accommodation is hard to beat; from local guest houses and stunning hotels to riads - from the basic to mini luxury palaces. Some riads come with your own cook!
FOOD & DRINK
There is an area with bars and restaurants on the opposite side of the bay to the old town where the main kite spot is, making it a great place to hang out all day. There's everything from supermarkets to pharmacies in Essaouira in general. Eating out is quite cheap and there's a great selection of restaurants serving international cuisine. Hot tip for traditional food: Ramsess. Lots of places don't serve alcohol, but you'll find some spots to slip a few down. Essaouira is more about great days and good food than all-night parties, but there are a couple of clubs.
SHOPS & SCHOOLS
There's everything from supermarkets to pharmacies here. Eating out is quite cheap and there's a great selection of restaurants serving international cuisine. Hot tip for traditional food: Ramsess. Lots of places don't serve alcohol, but you'll find some spots to slip a few down. Essaouira is more about great days and good food than all-night parties, but there are a couple of clubs.
SUP and surf trips, camel riding, quad biking, horse riding, fishing and more. Take a traditional cookery course or go do some shopping - if you're short of a rug, you'll pick up a beauty here!
Marrakesh (RAK) airport is a two hour drive / taxi. Bus from the centre of Marrakech by Supratours of CTM cost around $10 each way. Agadir (AGA) is a little further. Explora and Kite Morocco both offer transfers if necessary.