Activities in Morocco

The laid-back attitude, artsy atmosphere, bracing sea breezes and p­icture-postcard ramparts make Essaouira a firm favourite on the traveller’s trail. It’s the kind of place where you’ll sigh deeply and relax enough to shrug off your guarded attitude and just soak up the atmosphere.

The beach dominates the Essaouirans’ leisure time, although the strong wind and currents make relaxed swimming a little difficult at times, it is perfect for kitesurfing and windsurfing. With good winds for most days of the year, Essaouira is a watersports paradise. Equipment can be hired from various hire centres on the beach front.

Gnaoua World Music Festival

For the past ten years one weekend every June the Moroccan city of Essaouira has come alive with the music of the world. From traditional Moroccan Gnaoua to jazz and blues the Gnaoua Festival and Musics of the World Essaouira offers music to suit any taste and is a must-see for music lovers worldwide.

The Gnaoua

The Gnawa are descendants of African slaves who came together to establish brotherhoods throughout Morocco. Despite being Muslim, the Gnawa blend African and Arabo-Berber customs to create their unique music-based rituals. These rituals are based on djinn – or spirits- that come straight from the African cult of possession. Their most important ceremony is Lila during which the maalem – or musicians – call upon the saints and supernatural entities to take possession of their followers. The followers and listeners of the music then fall into trances, the ceremony itself is said to be therapeutic.

The Festival

Beginning as a place for the Gnaoua to emphasize and appreciate its musical diversity and heritage The Gnaoua Festival invites jazz, blues, electric fusion, and Moroccan contemporary artists from around the world to perform at one giant festival. It is now celebrating its 11th Edition with over 500,000 festival goers. The city of Essaouira comes alive with the hums, beats, and dancing of thousands of music lovers uniting under one sky.

Jimi Hendrix Tour

The nearby town of Diabat is at the other end of Essaouira’s beach, and where Jimi Hendrix once spent some time. Even if the stories aren’t true, this long, windswept beach with its ruined fort is a fantastic walk. Diabat is an empty, concrete Berber village that is practically devoid of attractions except the Hendrix ruin and a Hendrix Cafe. It’s best visted in the early morning via taxi and then return to Essouiara via a short and very romantic walk on the beach past the castle in the sand of Hendrix fame.

Horse Riding

Zouina-cheval organize horse treks and horse rides outside of Essaouira. The rides are for everybody (beginners, good riders, children) but the treks are recommended to good riders only as you spend hours riding in the saddle. From 170dh for 1h to 7150dh for a week.

Walking Tours

You can discover the Argan Woods, the Thuya Forests, and the unimagined world of the Dunes… take mint tea in a berber village, and learn the secrets of a unique and irreplaceable ecosystem at your own pace. Price per person per day: half day is 200 DH and full day is 400 DH (including a traditional meal with moroccan family) Transport is included from town to the departure point of each walk.