After the trip, I am still organising 500 photos and reading about the places I visited.
We covered quite a distance on the road trip. From Marrakesh, through Ait Ben Haddou, Kelaat M´Gouna, the Sahara desert and as far as Erfoud. So while I gather my ideas and plan a few exotic blogposts, let me mention Essaouira.
When I travel somewhere along the way or nearby, which is not on the itinerary will grab my attention.
This time it was Essaouira. Whilst in Marrakech I met a German girl who mentioned that she had spent a few days in Essaouira. Her description made me add this place to my every growing ´Travel to do list´.
Essaouira is a coastal town, west of Marrakech. Up the coast from the popular resort of Agadir, Essaouira attracts fewer tourists than Agadir and is just a 2 hour drive from Marrakech. It is a great location for water sports and horse riding. With ten kms of sandy beach and great surf conditions it´s not an ideal place for sun worshippers due to the constant wind and sea breeze.
Its known as the windiest place in Africa and clearly ideal conditions for surfers and kite surfing
You may be wondering what it was about Essaouira that caught my imagination.
As you may know I am checking off UNESCO World Heritage sites on my travels. I have already seen around 25 sites so far. On this Morocco trip I saw two new sites. The Ksar Ait Ben Haddou (blogpost coming soon) and the Medina in Marrakesh.
In Essaouira the walled medina became Unesco World Heritage in 2001. I was also told that it is quieter than the hustle and bustle of the Marrakech souk. So this UNESCO site is a must see for my next trip.
The photos of the city with its fortified walls from 18th century and the cannons perched on the walls facing the Atlantic are stunning. Overlooking the Ile de Mogador, sunset looks spectacular and you can even take a camel ride along the beach.
Notable visitors over the years were Orson Welles, Winston Churchill and Jimi Hendrix. Each year in the last week of June each year they hold a Music festival called Gnaoua here. Labelled by some as the Moroccan Woodstock, it has a mixture of Rock, Jazz, Reggae and Gnaoua music. So Essaouira hopefully will be on my itinerary for another Morrocco trip.
While online reading up on Essaouaira, I stumbled upon this competition on the Explora Morocco site. They are running a prize draw in September to win a seven day holiday to Essaouira.
What a great opportunity to enjoy the water sports and beaches for a whole week!
Did you already visit Essaouira? Let me know about your trip in the comments below.