Sunshine, beaches, waves, a surfboard – is there anything better? I have loved surfing ever since I lived in Brisbane on the Australian East coast a few years ago. Whenever I come to a place that has good waves I rent a board and dash into the sea. But this time I even traveled to another country just for the waves, I went to surf in Morocco!
And I was not alone: Line and Nina came with me and together we spent a week at Original Surf Morocco, a really cool surf camp in Tamraght close to Agadir and Taghazout. In this article I will tell you what you can actually experience there and if we came back as surf pros!
Time to surf Morocco: one week at the surf camp Original Surf Morocco!
Surfing – the greatest sport on earth!
Why surfing, anyway? I don’t even really know why but I love surfing! If there is a sport that I really like to do and that doesn’t feel like I sport then that’s surfing. To me there is nothing like being out in the sea looking for the right wave, to start paddling towards it and then to be standing on the board. Also, I love the sea and am instantly in a good mood when I am by the water. And it is how it is: surfers are super cool!
Off we go: with Easyjet from Berlin to Agadir!
Quite conveniently Easyjet flies from Berlin to Agadir once a week so we boarded the plane Thursday afternoon. Line and I only flew with carry on luggage so we could go straight to security check and then on to the gate. The flight was around 5 hours though Morocco is only an hour from Germany so we landed around 5 in the evening. The plane was pretty modern and even I, with a hight of 1.86 meters, had enough space. You can buy some snacks and sandwiches on the plane which are almost cheaper than the ones you get at the airport. After 4 hours of flying I simply had to get something!
Once at Agadir we were picked up by our surf instructor Youssef. He had a sign with the name of the camp on it, but we would have recognized him in the crowd no matter what, he was wearing chilled surf apparel: shorts, flip flops and a wide tank top. The ride along the coast from Agadir airport to the surf camp in Tamraght takes roughly an hour. And if you don’t want to go without a cool bear after surfing you should stop at a super market on the way and get a six pack because Tamraght is non-alcoholic. So that’s what we did!
We finally arrived at Original Surf Morocco around 6 and moved into our rooms. Then we went straight up to the camp’s roof top terrace which is amazing! Here you have a fantastic view of the sea and the town of Tamraght and can watch the sun disappear into the Atlantic.
At 7:30 we had our first typically Moroccan dinner: Tajine with beef, beans, carrots and potatoes along with a kind of pita bread and pasta salad. It was all really good! Omar, the chef, is the brother of Abdellah who runs the camp.
Dinner was served at 7:30 the following days as well, but I have to admit we had imagined Moroccan cuisine would be spicier than it turned out to be. And there was hardly any fresh salad and not really any fresh veg apart from tomatoes and cucumber. Sides were always either bread, pasta or potato salads.
After dinner we were always relaxed, hung out to talk, play card games or simply listened to the sound of the ocean and watched the sun set.
Day 1: dry runs and the first attempts at standing
The first night I slept like a baby, Line and Nina were awakened by the call of the two Muezzins in the town that call for prayer five times a day. The first call is very early in the morning when it is still dark, just before the sun begins to rise.
Breakfast was served at 8:30 on the roof top terrace. Like every morning there was pita bread, usually omelette, a sweet pancake, cream cheese, oil, a kind of peanut paste, fake Nutella, honey and great mint tea. Unfortunately there was no fresh fruit or vegetables which Line and Nina really missed.
After breakfast, around 9:30, we all gathered downstairs to be assigned a wetsuit for the week. Then we set out for the beach.
The camp is only a few minutes drive from the beach and even walking you will make it there in 20 minutes. But packed with surf boards, wetsuits and other gear we took the car. When we arrived we immediately got into our wetsuits and started warming up. I was able to take for the water with my board, Line and Nina reviewed the theoretics a little and then did a few dry runs.
But soon they were able to hit the water as well and they had to practice standing in the so-called white water – this is where the waves have already broken and will easily wash you towards the beach. Line and Nina both could get onto the board pretty well but could not stand yet!
I got to go straight for the real waves further out. But I realised that I have no more power in my arms and was a little out of practice. After all, my last attempts at surfing had been half a year ago, when I was surfing in Bali. But still I could at least stand on the board a couple of times and had loads of fun!
The concept: classes in the morning and then practice on your own in the afternoon
After lunch we all went into water again, Lina and Nina tried their luck without a teacher for the first time. This is also the idea of the camp: you have lessons in the morning and in the afternoon you have to try to apply what you learned earlier. After another hour in the water we went back to the camp, showered, worked and chilled before we went for dinner at 7:30.
There are 3 teachers at the camp: Youssef, Yassin and Rachid. And sometimes Abdellah himself will give you advice. They all speak English well and will always make you laugh with their humor!
Lunch was always taken at the beach, usually we had baguettes with different toppings every day, either chicken, sausage, meat balls or tuna. We also had pasta salad and rice salad once. And there were apples and oranges. The meals once again were a little carb heavy for us. Moroccan food is simply different from German food!
Day. 2: still practicing standing
On the second morning we all really felt our muscles, especially the arms, shoulders, our neck and thighs. But still we were really excited to get back onto the boards and improve our not really existing technique. For Line and Nina this meant more theory and dry runs, whereas I got to take on the waves again.
This time we were at a beach a little south of the other one, right by the so-called Devil’s Rock. The waves were a lot better that day and I could stand on the board a bit longer a couple of times. Line and Nina grew more confident and were even able to balance on the board for a few seconds too.
Day 3: excursion to Tagazhout
On the third day we had already grown a little antsy and wanted to finally explore the area a little. We went to the beach in the morning to surf and Nina and Line made their first attempts at paddling to catch a wave on their own. In the afternoon we ditched surfing and drove to the neighbouring town Tagazhout.
Tagazhout is a fishing town situated on the coast as well but here the houses go right down to the water which makes for a beautiful scenery. Unfortunately it smells really bad at the Taghazout beach due to fishing boats sitting out in the sun all day long. Still locals go swimming here and enjoy being at the beach.
Towards the north on the right side you can walk along the water next to the houses which is really cool. The houses are colourful with narrow winding streets in between and here and there you come across a café with a terrace that offers a great view. Go for this walk, it is only 20 minutes and really worth it.
Tagazhout’s main street is lined with cafés, restaurants and shops and here you will meet a lot more foreigners and tourists than in Tamraght. We stopped for a fresh smoothie in a fruit and sandwich place. I had an avocado smoothie with bananas and dates which was great and cost 20 Dirham, 2 Euros respectively.
After exploring the little fishing town we took the bus back to Tamraght. It leaves a the parking lot at the beginning of the village right off of the main street, the ride is 5 Dirham, so around 50 cents per person. Look out for bus number 32 and let the driver know that you only want to go to Tamraght, otherwise you will go all the way to Agadir!
Day 4: yoga sessions on the roof top terrace and a trip to Paradise Valley
On the fourth day we treated ourselves to a break from surfing. If you also don’t surf regularly this is a good idea because you do put a lot of strain on your muscles when surfing. On the fourth day our muscles were really aching.
Luckily, Original Surf Morocco offers yoga lessons as well! So on this day, rather than hitting the surf boards in the morning we took to the yoga mats. The session was a little over an hour and we did yoga poses to specifically relax and stretch the shoulders, neck and back. The perfect complementation for surfing!
We had breakfast after yoga and shortly afterwards we mounted the car and took off towards Paradise Valley. The ride was around 45 minutes past little villages, creeks and oases into the hilly back lands of the region. On the way we stopped at a family that produces argan oil, they showed us their gardens and the production process.
After arriving at the parking lot we set out on a little hike because Paradise Valley is only accessible on foot. We needed around half an hour to get there. On the way we passed a few small huts, crossed an almost dry stream and at times stood under huge palm trees.
Smelly Trashy Valley
When we arrived we were pretty disappointed. The valley is rather small and the pool in which you can cool off after hiking in the heat is also pretty minor. But that isn’t even the problem, the problem is, that there is trash everywhere and that this trash stinks!
The valley nowadays draws a lot of visitors, most of them Moroccans themselves. And most of them tend to make their excursion to Paradise Valley a day trip, bringing along food and drinks. But instead of taking all the packaging back they leave it out in nature – horrible!
Because of this we didn’t stay long and we also didn’t go swimming. It smelled so bad and was so filthy that it killed all intention of swimming. On the way back I gathered two full bags of garbage but there was no trash can around, not even at the parking lot. No wonder that the trash is left to nature, who would want to carry it all he way home? Not many people, but we did. We brought it back to the surf camp to dispose of it there.
Even though the place itself is pretty I cannot really recommend Paradise Valley. I would much more refer to the place as Smelly Trashy Valley. Really sad!
By early afternoon we were back and spent the rest of the time before dinner with working on the terrace.
Day 5: back on the board!
On the fifth day it was back to the surf boards for us and after the collective day of rest we were super stoked to go surfing. As always I went straight into the water alone while Line and Nina had theory lessons at the beach and then went into the water with a teacher. On this day they got to know a few terms like white water, green wave and beach break and learned a little more about the currents at this beach, the varying winds and how to best work with a fixed point on land.
Both of them were able to go a little further out this time but the waves and the current were so strong this day, that they went back to the white water and practiced there. Line and Nina were able to stand on the boards significantly longer today and made it onto the board almost every time they tried. A really cool improvement!
Day 6: like a surf pro
Day six was Lines highlight. On this day we all went to the back to line up and each took green waves alone! Of course there was a little theory for Line and Nina first, they learned how to steer the board to the left and right and how to accelerate by moving the foot in front forward and pushing down on the board.
They were also shown how to react when a wave comes towards them while they are paddling on the board. I had been given the same lesson a few days earlier: if it is a small wave you have to push your body up from the board, pushing the board down, if the wave is big you have to turn around with the board and hold on to it. I did that a couple of times and it works very well!
After the theoretical part Line and Nina joined me at the line up. They got a few waves and stood on the boards for really long! Line even managed to steer the surf board to the right a couple of times. Their development really showed that day. As for me, I also got a few good waves.
A visit to the market at Banana Village
In the afternoon we all went to the market in the neighbouring town of Awrir. The locals refer to the place as Banana Village, because all the bananas are grown and traded in this region.
Every Wednesday is market day and you can get mostly fresh fruit and veg from local farmers here. There are also delicious, juicy dates that cost only 50 cent per half kilo! And those were the best dates that vendor had to offer. And of course there are people selling fresh olives, nuts and endless amounts of spices that look great when all heaped to mounds!
But you can also find household goods like knives, carpets and cleaning material, clothes and shoes at the market. Don’t expect too much though, the market really is typically Moroccan, not touristy at all and a little chaotic.
The streets around the market and especially the main street of Awrir offer plenty of opportunity to shop groceries as well. There is one butcher next to the other and you will come across dead goat heads or pigs feet, or a poultry vendor whose chickens are still running around behind the counter and will probably be freshly slaughtered.
Also there is a little pastry shop located a little further down on the main street that is supposed to have incredible avocado smoothie but it was closed every time we were near it.
Day 6: surfing in the morning and in the evening back to Berlin
On our last day we went for one last surf in the morning but the waves were pretty high that day. For me it was the best day, maybe even the best surfing experience of my life. I caught a couple of waves and was on the board a long time! The weather was great, the sun was shining and I had loads of fun!
We went back to the camp at noon and left for Agadir airport around 3. Our surf instructor Youssef picked up two people on the way, the nut vendor from the beach and his son who sells donuts. It is normal practice here to give people you know a ride.
We were at the airport around 4, our flight was at 6. When flying back from Morocco you have to go the the check-in whether you have luggage to check or not. This is because you receive a stamp on your ticket which allows you to leave the country – you will not get past the departure gate without it!
Due to good tail winds the flight back only took 3,5 hours which meant that with the one hour time difference we landed shortly before 11. Just like coming here the flight was very nice and we even had two rows to ourselves. And though the food in Morocco was nice I had to go straight to Burgermeister from the airport in Berlin and have a really good burger! Good thing I only had my carry on luggage with me!
Prices and other possibilities
One week of surf camp all in
The surf camp costs 430 Euros per person per week, 7 nights that is. This covers accommodation in a room that you share with someone else, up to 4 hours of lessons a day, three meals, transfers from the camp to the surf spots, the equipment (surf board and wetsuit) and the transfer from the airport to the camp and back, Alternatively you can book a surf and yoga package which includes an hour of yoga per day and costs 500 Euros per person per week.
Prices for excursions
The trip to Paradise Valley costs 20 Euros per person. But as I already mentioned, I don’t recommend it. You can also make a trip to a sand dune by the sea which is an hour away by car. You take boards along on this trip and can ride the sand testing your surf skills. Sandboarding is supposed to be great fun! This also costs 20 Euros per person and includes the transfer, equipment and lunch.
Surfing is my favourite sport and surfing in Morocco was fantastic! I can highly recommend Original Surf Morocco. The people are super nice and the camp is one of few run only by Moroccans. You will feel like family there or like at your friends’ home and will have great time!
In general I highly recommend visiting a surf camp once in your life. Surfing a few hours every day for a full week you will really see improvement quickly. Each one of us, me, Line and Nina really got better every day and at the end could stay on our boards for pretty long. Surfing is also a great workout for the entire body and after one week at the camp your body will look great!
Thanks so much to Original Surf Morocco for the invitation to the surf camp and for the wonderful time in Morocco!