Exploring the Essaouira Province: Between Argan Trees and the Atlantic
Posted on 22 November 2018
The Atlantic wind and the powerful city's light make you forget the bustle of the touristic Marrakech once you arrive in Essaouira. Eating fish in its colourful harbour and getting lost in its beautiful Medina were the perfect preamble before going to explore the green sea that surrounds Essaouira. This sea is made of Argan and Juniper trees, also of Jasmine bushes, and blesses the inhabitants of this region with the Moroccan gold: Argan Oil.
Sidi Kaouki, Slow Living at the Sea
I chose Sidi Kaouki, 20 km away from Essaouira, to be my base in the Essaouira Province. Sidi Kaouki is a sea village where fishermen and shepherds live facing the Atlantic.
It is a place where rhythm of life is slowed down, and the ancient Berber culture impregnates the locals' daily life. My first day there started with exploring the forests and fields around the village. I decided to do it riding one of the horses of Mohammed, an experienced local guide who also showed me around the next days.
The day ended up savouring grilled fish on Saida's restaurant terrace, and getting delighted by observing people enjoying themselves at Sidi Kaouki's endless beach.
The Oasis Sidi Mbarek, a Small Glimpse of Heaven
On the next day I decided to visit the oasis Sidi Mbarek by myself, which is located nearby Sidi Kaouki. This oasis is a unique place that reveals itself in a beautiful creek. This location was chosen many years ago to retire by a marabout, a sacred person in Berber culture. It's not hard to imagine why he decided to settle down here. From the top of the cliff, the marabout could see the creek filling the dry landscape with life. I ended up strolling along a heavenly beach after descending a number of small waterfalls. The fishermen worked there standing on the water as their grandparents use to do it.
Tafedna Bay, Beach Life Off the Beaten Track
I spent a couple of days enjoying the slow pace at the beach before Mohammed took me to Tafedna Bay, around one hour by car from Sidi Kaouki. It was a bit foggy when we arrived to this hidden beach, making what I saw even more amazing: Around 50 small blue boats were waiting in front of the beach waiting be towed by a tractor to the shore. Fortunately the weather changed completely during the way back, and a bright sunshine welcomed us in Tafedna village, located above the cliffs. Some men convinced me there of the touristic potential of the place.
Moroccan Treasures at the Had-Dra Market
My trip was reaching its end and I did not want to leave without visiting a market and stocking up with Moroccan specialities. I contacted Claudia, a lovely woman from Germany who lives in Essaouira and makes a living showing tourists to enjoy Morocco as she does herself. Claudia took me to the Had-Dra Market, the biggest on the area, a place where every single Sunday you can find everything you need, from animals to metal doors... I even got shaved there! This place was like going back a couple of centuries, and the perfect closing for such an amazing trip.
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© All Photos via Alvaro Cabezas
Author: Alvaro Cabezas