A Local’s Guide to Water Sports in Essaouira

Try your hand at kitesurfing in Essaouira
Try your hand at kitesurfing in Essaouira | © Szymon Barylski / Getty Images
Photo of Giulia Bottaro
27 April 2020

A labyrinth of alleyways wrapped up in a fortress and overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, Essaouira is the perfect coastline destination to immerse yourself in Moroccan culture while enjoying the waves. With no cars allowed, the city takes visitors back to another era and offers some of the most beautiful sunsets in the whole country.

Essaouira fishermen head out early in the morning and sell their catch in town | © Federica Gentile / Getty Images

Protected by fortifications dating back to the 16th century, Essaouira’s medina is a Unesco-designated site where you can get lost among art galleries and stalls selling piles of spices and fresh bread. There are quaint blue boats docked in the old port and fishermen can be seen gathering every day to sell what they caught in the morning. In the fish market inside the medina you will find street-food vendors happy to grill or fry what you just bought. There are also countless eateries here, so you can feast on tagine and couscous to your heart’s content.

Take up windsurfing in Essaouira | © Wendy Connett / Alamy

As the beach is usually too windy to lounge in the sun, most people will hang around to do water sports. Essaouira is a popular spot for surfing between October and March, although the weather can feel colder than other areas of Morocco due to the strong winds. Kitesurfing and windsurfing are usually practised in the spring and summer months.


Morocco is a surfer’s dream | © John Seaton Callahan / Getty Images

Morocco is a very popular destination for surf camps as they tend to be cheaper than other destinations in Europe, US or Australia. Located in a riad in the medina, Surfari Essaouira offers lessons of surf only or surf and yoga including accommodation and food.

If you’ve always been intrigued but never had the chance to try the sport, you can schedule in an afternoon to see how you feel on the board.

At Atlantic Zin you can take private or group lessons to surf or windsurf for as little as two hours, where you will be given all the necessary equipment.

For those who feel comfortable enough on the surfboard, Essaouira Surf offers surf guiding packages with accommodation and food included. Guests stay in a typical riad in the heart of the medina and are transported to the best beaches for their level of expertise by a local guide.


Essaouira’s windy climate is ideal for kitesurfing | © iStock Editorial / Getty Images Plus

As Morocco’s windy city, Essaouira is the perfect place to have a first go at kitesurfing. A longer course for kitesurfing could be more effective than a couple of days of lessons as there are many tricks to master. Mogasurf has packages for all levels, offering accommodation in one of its surf villas.


Windsurfers rule the beach in Essaouira | © Jan Fritz / Alamy

Windsurfing isn’t particularly popular in Morocco, but that’s not the case in Essaouira. Windsurfers rule the beach here! Explora Watersports offers courses of six or 12 hours for windsurfers of all levels. Guests can choose between two of its riads, one in the medina and one along the beachfront, both of which serve first-class Moroccan food.

Surfing and horse riding in Sidi Kaouki

Enjoy a leisurely horse ride in Sidi Kaouki | © Carolina Llamusi / EyeEm / Getty Images

A 20-minute drive from the city, Sidi Kaouki is popular destination for both surfers and windsurfers as well as those who to experience rural Morocco’s Berber villages. Sidi Kaouki Surf Station offers several kinds of packages, including a surfing week with horse-riding trails.

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