Essaouira is one of the most popular destinations in the country, for Moroccans as well as overseas visitors. Not only is the citadel dramatic and beautiful but there is very little of the aggressive salemanship so prevalent in Marrakech and other cities. Indeed, within their own country the ‘Saouiris’ have a reputation for being very relaxed and friendly. There is a great variety of things to do, something for every age and almost every interest and the town also hosts several internationally recognised musical festivals during the year.
For the Active
Windsurfing, Kitesurfing & Surfing; we can arrange equipment hire and tuition for any level of expertise.
Horse riding or quadbiking along the coast: guided trips from 1 hour to 2 days.
Kayaking into the centre of an island.
A colourful labyrinth of narrow streets and alleyways packed full of artisanal workshops and galleries, restaurants, markets and shops. On the northern battlements, cannons jut out over the crashing waves below, while to the south the busy fishing port and boatyard hum with activity.
Many of our guests have spent days unwinding in the area immediately around the eco-lodge. One family spent a whole week without getting in their car.
At the beach
To the north lies the fishing village of Moulay Bouzergtoun, one of the world’s premier windsurfing spots, and to the south is a rocky headland and then Safi beach stretching thirteen empty kilometres to the very walls of Essaouira. At low tide thousands of rock pools teem with life and caves wait to be explored. At high tide the blowholes come alive.
Into the Forest
A vast forest of juniper and thuya reaching to the top of the hill and then as far beyond as the eye can see. If the beach is the beating heart of the community then the forest is its lungs. It’s home to wild boar, jackals and chameleons as well as a rich variety of birdlife. A short drive away is the fertile valley of Ain l’Hajar and, at the weekend, the fabulous farmers’ market of Had’Raa.
The garden of the eco-lodge operates as a demonstration site for permaculture and aspects of regenerative agriculture. Here we test water efficient systems for building soil life and a healthy eco-system; we experiment with pro-biotic sprays and compost teas and we trial potential crops for profit. There’s always something going on that guests can get involved with.
Become one of the roots of the Fertile Roots Foundation.
As the Fertile Roots project gathers momentum (and funding) there will be lots going on in the surrounding communities also. Among many other sub-projects, we have a program to donate and build a wicking bed for every household, and the building of rainwater storage cisterns will be ongoing for many years.
Whether in the garden or in our workshop, there’s always a project going on which guests can help with, or simply observe. It might be some planting, or building a new beehive, or something more complex, such as farm equipment, a gravity generator or solar beach buggy. We’re into DIY in a big way!
The fishing and farming communities of Azrou Issa & Al Fayda comprise only 39 households. With strong winds and very little water, it’s not an easy place to live but the people are unfailingly friendly and hospitable. We started Fertile Roots to help them transition over to more sustainable farming practices and they help raise money for the cause with a variety of craft workshops.
Learn how to bake bread in an earth oven, how to make your own cosmetic Argan Oil, or a beautiful Boucherwi rug from discarded clothes.
Apart from the arrival of electricity in 2012, and satellite TV, not much has changed here for a long time. The land is still ploughed by animal teams and crops harvested by hand. The weekly farmer’s market at Had’raa is a must see, like stepping back in time and a photographer’s dream.
Morocco is a big, beautiful country with every contrast. Camping amongst the dunes of the Sahara is a 6hr drive away, with absolutely beautiful oasises along the way. Trekking in the Atlas Mountains is 4hrs away.
Desert, Oasis & Mountain
We know a number of exceptional guides who will ensure you have a a delightfully cultural and inclusive experience in the mountains, or we can advise on how to do it yourself, with or without donkeys. Everything’s possible.
The only possible problem is too much choice. The Serai has a lot of comfortable little corners, for all angles of the sun and view.