Touring Morocco by Bike (17) : Agadir – Essaouira
Agadir – Essaouira (195km)
I have travelled in Morocco for few months, but except Tangier, most of time I stayed are inland or in Altas mountain. This coastline from Agadir to Tangier is the last chapter of my tour, and it shows me the other side of Morocco, there are many former colonial cities of France, Spain or Portugal.
Essaouria is the best among them, with its mixture of Moroccan culture and French city plan. This road goes along the coast, so you always have the superb view of Atlantic Ocean, and very good chance to have a incredible location for wild camping, but this region always has extremely strong wind (if you are heading north, very likely you will have a head wind…) which really makes you feel complex.
I left Agadir in the afternoon and followed the N1 national road, reached Aourir after passing a village near a big port. Aourir is also called Banana Village which is quite interesting, the village was full of smell of banana, and all street stores hanged uncountable comb of bananas. The famous surfing destination – Tamraght, is not far from Aourir, there is a campsite cost 105MAD/night, which is so far the most expensive one in Morocco. Anyway, I am not a beach person, so I kept continue.
After Tamraght, the area was much quiet, and it was not difficult to find a good place for wild camping, either on the hillside or near the coast. There was a big construction site for a huge resort, so the national road was re-routed, I needed to climb a small hill and there was a grassland at the top, so I camped there and had my dinner while enjoying the sunset. It’s only 30km from Agadir.
Taghazout is not far to where I camped, once famous for hippies and now become Morocco’s premier surfing destination, there are many guesthouses and surfing schools, but it’s more peaceful than Tamraght. It is about 40km from Taghazout to Tamri along the coast, which is not really special for me (imagine cycling in southern part of Hong Kong Island), but that was a warm sunny day with breeze, and also very less traffic, so it was a very pleasant morning ride.
There is a superb view point just before Tamri, you can overlook long curved beach from a high cliff. There were dozens of surfers even though the ocean was rarely calm that day. It is a must stop view point for tourist, so you will be surrounded by kids selling this or that.
You probably can’t miss the huge banana trees ‘forest’ at Tamri, after Tamri, there is long plain area between the road and the coast, there were many campers parking in this 10km. A strange big sand dune (not beach) was appeared on the left side, I went downhill and it remind me the sand dunes in Merzouga, that was a pretty good wild camping spot but it was really too early.
After that, there is a 300m climb and then the road leads to a valley with fields and many trees. I turned to the small road heading to Imesouane (the main road goes north to Tamanar), up and down hill and backed to the coastline again, it was another breathtaking view point overlooking the coast from the South to North, and the needle-shaped seaside town – Imesouane. I set my tent and enjoyed the beautiful sunset, and later, the quiet ocean with moonlight.
I went downhill quickly from 300m high to Imesouane, it’s another surfing town, with restaurants, guesthouses and even a campground, but I met very few people, maybe it was too early, or just because the town is too remote. After 10km is a small village – Tilit, if you follow the main road, it joins back to the N1 nation road, but I decided to go on the coast, so I turned to a very small road (with no sign, it’s difficult to find if you don’t have GPS) and soon it became a dirt road with many rocks, there is another unnamed village after 10km, and it’s so much isolated that they don’t even have a kiosk.
It was extremely strong head wind, and I felt so deep while cycling on the empty cliff. I saw the beautiful bay – Tafedna after 10km dirt road, there was a flat area which was similar to the place I camped as the day before. The beach looked unspoiled with no tourist. The road was really bad, sandy and rocky and there was even a river crossing.
I was relieved when I saw asphalt road just after Tafedna, there is a junction and one goes to the main road, and another dirt road follows the coast again. I took the main road without hesitation, because it was such a hard day, hilly and dirt road, strong head wind, and most importantly, I was so hungry! I didn’t have any food at all…
I backed to the N1 national road dizzily, and still climbed few hundred meters before the small town – Tamanar, I ate full and took a long rest, it was already sunset when I started again, from there it is still 40km to Essaouria. I got the impression that the area is relatively flat and good for wild camping, I was so tired that made me want to reach the destination even I cycled so many hours in darkness.
My mobile was out of battery when I reached Essaouria, I asked help from a tourist and he was a little bit surprised, “Oh! We saw you on the road, and thought you are going to stay in wild~” I smiled “Well~ I have something important to do! I need a shower!~”
Information / Accommodation:
- Agadir – Essaouira: Campsites are all overpriced in this region, but wild camping with amazing location is easy to find. Remember the strong wind may change your plan, it is quite remote after Imesouane, so bring enough food and water.
- Camp Altantica D’immourane
- GPS: 30.510063, -9.684039
- at Tamraght, 15km from Agadir, 105MAD, the most expensive campsite in Morocco.
- Terre de Ocean
- GPS: 30.563184, -9.740283
- 5km before Imi Ouaddar
- Camping Imesouane
- GPS: 30.846222, -9.821905
- Tamri has some guesthouses.
- at Aourir (km15, Taghazout (km20), Plage Imi Ouadar (km28), Tamri (km56), Imsouane (km90) has restaurants and kiosks. If you take the same route as mine, the first place after Imsouane to find kiosk is at Smimou, 40km from Essaouira.
- Camp Altantica D’immourane
- Camp Side Magdoul Essaouira (GPS: 31.491503, -9.763468) is few km from downtown, I have checked this place but seems it’s not so clean, there are several hostels in Medina which cost about 60-70MAD a night.
- Souk Jedid (GPS: 31.514314, -9.768037) has the best wet market of the city, and there are two big supermarkets, Aswak Asslam (GPS: 31.524592, -9.754077) and Carrefour (GPS: 31.497065, -9.752197)