On the northern tip of Africa, just a 4 hour flight from the UK, is Morocco; a country alive with colour, charm and culture. It’s also home to year-round sunshine and atlantic surf breaks which, in my opinion, equals a perfect holiday destination. Armed with the knowledge that some friends had recently opened a boutique “surf camp” hotel in Taghazout, I got in touch with them to enquire about availability and a few weeks later myself and my friend Jules were fortunate enough to find ourselves being washed up (quite literally) on Moroccan shores…
Surf Maroc is based in the lovely little fishing village of Taghazout, about 50 minutes from Agadir airport. It’s the oldest surf school in the area with several different types of accomodation scattered throughout the village. We chose a seven day Surf & Yoga package staying at their fancy new venture, Amouage. We were picked up on arrival at Agadir and after a short flight from Gatwick, it was almost too easy 🙂
I’d visited Surf Maroc before and I was expecting their new hostel/hotel to be similar to the other quaint, traditional, “surfer” backpackers. But Amouage is unlike any other surf camp I’ve ever visited. It’s one of those places where whoever designed it, seems to have considered every last detail. It is utterly beautiful.
We began each day with a sunrise yoga class, then it was a quick breakfast, before jumping straight into the minibuses to head off to whichever surf spot had been deemed appropriate for each groups skill level. We were placed in group 2 (which basically means we weren’t very good!) along with three other people. We would all warm up together on the beach, and the instructor would give us plenty of guidance before getting us into the water. We had a different instructor nearly everyday and although a few were slightly better than the others, they were generally incredibly knowledgeable, patient, fun and encouraging. We took a packed lunch with us each day – with the idea being that we’d surf both in the morning and the afternoon. If I’m completely honest I was always shattered by lunchtime so I headed back to Amouage to laze by the pool and read my book every afternoon 🙂
We were able to surf for the first four days of our trip but then the biggest swell of the year hit the coast (the surf is at it’s biggest between October and March) and it was too dangerous for us to venture into the water. Instead we spent the next few days watching the pro’s and resting our weary arms. Anchor Point is probably the most famous surf spot (see below). When the waves are small it’s a perfect introduction to point breaks for intermediates (after a day or two warming up on the calmer beaches nearby), but at full size it offers a powerful ride – only for the most experienced surfers.
Yoga is perfect for both warming up and stretching out the muscles you use during surfing. It also helps improve core strength and stability to help with balance on the board. At Amouage they have two teacher-led classes each day – at sunrise and sunset. There are also 2 hour workshops once a week which focus on different poses (for example inversions). I signed up for one of these and no-one else turned up, leaving me with my own private lesson with the most amazing teacher 🙂
Although plenty of the surfers weren’t interested in trying yoga (no matter how much I tried to persuade them!), for me waking up to the sound of the ocean, watching the sun start to peak over the horizon, and flowing through a yoga class on a rooftop, is pretty much the most beautiful way to start my day.
Both breakfast and dinner at Amouage were buffet style – but definitely not the kind of buffet food you’d expect at a surf camp. Breakfast included fresh tropical fruits, eggs any-way-you-wanted, toast, pastries, granola, fresh ground coffee and fresh juices. Dinner was home cooked Moroccan cuisine; lots of couscous, tagine, roasted vegetables, barbecued meats, and salads. Spices were used liberally and dishes tended to be hearty – perfect for all the hungry surfers. We’d all sit around a few huge tables – I wasn’t too sure about this to begin with (sometimes when I’m tired it’s a huge effort to make small talk!) – but it was actually great because by the end of the week I’d spoken to pretty much everyone staying there.
The Amouage attracts single travellers, couples, friends and (sometimes) families. Alongside the surfing and yoga there are also other activities like a movie night (a surf film followed by a regular film) and a Moroccan night (complete with music and dancing). There’s also the option to give surfing a miss for the day, hang out by the pool, treat yourself to a massage at the beautiful spa, explore the charming village, and be back for tea and cake with the crew at 5pm 🙂
It’s also worth remembering that even the most reliable surf destinations go flat occasionally. Fortunately Morocco is a fascinating country and there’s a lot to see and do besides hanging out at the beach. The famous souks and markets in Marrakech and Agadir offer a unique experience, and magical Essaouira is worth another holiday in itself.
I think many people assume that going on a surf and yoga holiday means that you have to be a hardcore surfer or yogi, but that really isn’t the case. Whether you want to take it easy and just dabble with surfing, or get out in the waves all day, everyday, Surf Maroc could be the next trip for you.