Essaouira, Morocco

I had never really had any inclination to go to Morocco until recently. Marrakech doesn't really interest me much, and having already lived amongst Moroccan's as a teenager, I wasn't sure how comfortable I'd feel in their country anyway. That was until someone told me about Essaouira.

Essaouira

On arrival, the town is said to resemble Brittany in France, because each of their ports were designed by the same people. Yet the narrow alleyways, and the wind carrying the smell of fish guts, damp sea air, and many different spices make you remember precisely where you are. The winds the city is known for attract windsurfers, but not really sun, sea and sand tourists as you can try to sit on the beach but the winds blow the sand up in your face. As well as that, all the smells on the wind attract the insane amounts of seagulls you hear screeching around wherever you go. 

Seagulls, Essaouira
photo by Frank Douwes via Creative Commons

The Berber name for the city literally means The Wall, referring to the city's fortified walls. It was during the Portuguese establishment that the walls were built, in the 16th century. The Portuguese occupied six Moroccan towns and cities, fortifying them all during the 16th century. Other nations including the French, Dutch and Spanish and English tried in vain to conquer the town. Instead the town remained a haven for exports and anchoring of pirates.

Essaouira

Inside the walls of Essaouira, it is supposed to be like any other Moroccan town. Full of narrow alleyways, men smoking Hashish, a medina that serves the locals and tourists and woodworkers still make amazing crafts. Down by the harbour the fisherman are still working, and it is as busy as ever. In fact it's said that despite being right on the sea, the fish is expensive because of how much money the fisherman charge.

Getting there can be tricky, you need to leave from Marrakech. If you want to use a Grand Taxi it could cost you between 450-1000dh depending on your haggling skills and the mood of the driver, or you can get a coach but it is recommended to book in advance as there are rarely tickets available at the next departing slot.

Essaouira Except where specified, photo's for the post were by Bjorn Hornemann via Creative Commons





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Comments

  1. Looks amazing, Nice to connect and follow on http://aimingforapublishingdeal.blogspot.co.uk/

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  2. I've never known much about Morocco besides the fact I want to go...hoping to make it there soon but probably won't be for a few years as the Southern part of Africa tugs at my heart just a bit more :D

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    1. I have never really been that interested in Africa at all, aside from Egypt and Morocco. My friend lived in Cairo for a year but I was living in the Canary Islands and it was expensive to get from one to the other.

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  3. I agree with you Sammi that I honestly never really had much of a desire to visit Africa aside from Egypt, Morocco and South Africa. But I think that's more because of my lack of knowledge of the region but whenever you read posts like this, it certainly enhances your experience and knowledge base prior to visiting which I think is crucial especially in this part of the world.

    Great post, looking forward to seeing where you go next!

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    1. My friend just did a Kenya through to South Africa trek over 56 days and they camped the whole time which I thought was insane. I could never do that, plus I think the poverty would just break my heart (which is also a reason why I haven't been to India yet, I'm not sure how I would cope with that).

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  4. I must admit that Morrocco is not one of my favourite countries but I did enjoy out time in Essaouira when we were there. I'm not sure if it was because it is by the water and has some fabulous outdoor fish restaurants but I think it was because the people were a lot more friendly and not as pushy as in Marrakesh.

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    1. No, I can understand that comment Jenny. I lived in the Canary Islands and there are a *lot* of Moroccan immigrants there, and I can safely say I didn't feel safe alone at night. Tho' I have one good friend from my time of living down there who is amazing, and proves that not everyone is the same. As I said, my mind has been changed but I still don't really want to go to Marrakech. I think I would be tempted to wear a headscarf everywhere.

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