Touring Morocco by Bike (18) : Essaouira – El Jadida

Essaouira – Safi – El Jadida

Essaouira – Safi – El Jadida

Essaouira – Safi – El Jadida (272km)

North of Essaouira is less remote compare to the South. Most of the area along the road are farmland, Safi and El Jadida are industrial cities, so it’s more difficult to do wild camping. The road along the coast ends at El Jadida, the ride is still pleasant relatively, then it goes more inland. These cities are all laid-back and nice to walk around, Safi is the ceramics center in Morocco, and don’t forget the cheap and delicious seafood.

Day 1: Essaouira – 15km before Souira Qdima
10km after N1 national road from Essaouira, I took the smaller road along the coast to Safi, which was in good condition and very few traffic. It is a countryside and forest area for about 20km, and there are some resort hotels. After a 200m downhill, I reached to the coast and there is a 30km quite a strange seaside road, with fields and camels, but also big houses of traditional or modern design, maybe they are holiday lodging for millionaire. It is not difficult to find good place for wild camping at the bay.

About 55km from Essaouira, the road goes to inland and more between fields. Farmhouse are not densely located but it is still not easy to find a empty place for wild camping. Finally I decided to stopped next to a abandoned house, there were several locals passed by and they just let me to stay without bothering me.

Day 2: 15km before Souira Qdima – Safi
I heard fuzzy sound while I was sleeping, the sound of wind, chatting, hoof beat, or something else? Anyway I got the impression that it was quite bustling outside, I did check the time, it was only 4-5am and still completely dark. Was I dreaming?

I woke up, made my breakfast and open the tent as usual, and then I realized what was happening. Horse and Donkey carts kept passing by – that was a market day. (In Morocco, many areas still keep the practice of having a market day per week) I found that the market was just less than 1km from where I stayed. The market was pretty small and just selling daily necessities, but it was quite surprised and funny to see so many carts were parking there.

I reached the seaside town – Souira Qdima after 10km, it has a very long beach and lines of holiday houses, but it was like a dead city in Winter, restaurants were closed too. On the other side of the town, there is a fishing port, a small market and a broken Kasbah.

The 35km road from Souira Qdima to Safi goes along the coast, the beginning 20km flat area is good for wild camping, but then there is a extremely huge construction site of a factory or a port. The quiet road became very busy with different trucks and construction vehicles, it was a exhaust ride for about 10km.

Just before the city, you will see some factories blowing white gas and the air is full of smell of canned sardines. It was so concentrated that made me felt nauseated. (Safi is the main industrial center for producing canned sardines in Morocco)

Safi downtown is not big, it’s perfect to roam around, and the city itself feels pretty energetic and many young people will like to chat with you. It is also the traditional pottery center, the colorful safi ceramics market is very interesting. The castle Qasr al-Bahr on the waterfront, the moment that I saw the sunset with locals, and talked with the street seller, was quite a surprising city for me.

SAFI Photos

Day 3: Safi – 5km after Oualidia
This 70km road from Safi to Oualidia is probably the most comfortable section in this several hundreds km. The road goes along the cliff or gentle grassland with some fields, it’s prefect for wild camping, but maybe it’s so green that attracts many herdsman and sheeps. I don’t think you can be completely alone if you set your tent in this area.

Except there is a long beach at Beddouza, landscape is quite similar until Oualidia. Oualidia is a popular holiday town for both europeans and locals, and the only campsite is for camper only… A hawker on a motorbike was selling different fresh seafoods near the beach, I tried it’s famous oyster, sea urchin, and different shellfishes, they were all delicious. It cost only 70MAD for about 15pcs and I was so full when I left.

I did wild camping at a hidden gentle hill, just 5km after Oualidia.

Day 4: 5km after Oualidia – El-Jadida

The last 75km to El-Jadida is mainly inland, and it is not able to see the ocean anymore, riding is less enjoyable compare to the previous section. Villages are quite densely populated and there are some markets or restaurants for every 15km.

It was harvest season, so it seemed everyone was working on the field, women and kids on donkeys were collecting dry grasses, there were some roadside stores selling fresh pumpkins and carrots, also many boxes of vegetables were waiting to pick up, sometimes there were few trucks and dozens of people were putting cartons of mandarins on the trucks.

At this time, the traffic was very busy, and it was a strong side wind, I was being blowed away every time I was taken over by a car.

The scenery after Sidi El Abed is quite good, the waves of the ocean was very scary that day. Within 35km of El-Jadida is manufacturing zone, the road became busy again with big trucks, I had to avoid them and cycled on the sideway sometimes, it was quite tiring, so I choose the shortest route to the city, not the smaller road along the coast.

El-Jadida was former Portugal colonial city, it has a UNSECO old town with a historical city wall. But sadly to say, only the wall is remaining…

Information / Accommodation: 

  • Essaouira – Safi: There are not many campsites on the road, but plenty of places are good for wild camping. Restaurants are available at Baihba Cafe (km45), Sidi Ishaq (km65), Khemis Ouled Elhaj (km83), Souira Qdima (km92)
    • Camp Esprit Nature
      • GPS: 31.553917, -9.623711
      • 15km after Essaouira, and then 6km off the main road
  • Safi
    • Hotel Majestic and L’Avenir Hotel near pl de l’indépendance, cost about 100MAD, both are clean and have convenient location.
    • Camping Amun(50MAD, WI-FI, Hot shower)
      • GPS: 32.317164, -9.237545
      • few km from downtown
  • Safi – El Jadida: 
    • La Brise(GPS: 32.989083, -8.733226), 20km after Oualidia
    • You can find restaurants at Restaurant Café Perla (km20), Beddouza (km35), Laakarta (km58), Oualidia (km68), Sidi Abed (km115) 
  • El-Jadida
    • Camp International El Jadida (40MAD, WI-FI, Hot shower 5MAD)
      • GPS: 33.240122, -8.487712
      • Surprisedly there is a bar inside the campsite.

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  1. July 31, 2017

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