Imsouane: a mecca for surfing and relaxation
Morocco’s Atlantic coastline retains an almost year-round vibrancy, thanks mainly to the comings and goings of water sports enthusiasts. Strolling through towns such as Imsouane or the neighbouring beaches of Taghazout or Tamri, you may find yourself wondering whether you are still in Morocco, because the atmosphere is more akin to the beaches of Australia or California. Any doubts rapidly evaporate however, as you glance back and see the low, brightly-coloured houses scattered along the coastline, the boats waiting to set sail for the day’s fishing, and the beach bars that serve mint teas throughout the day.
A trip along the Moroccan coast, following the N-1 road and visiting these types of towns, has much to recommend it. You will find Moroccan-style beach clubs, surfing camps everywhere, yoga centres, and scores of restaurants, each competing with their own versions of Moroccan-French fusion dishes. Whether you’re a surfer or not, this stretch of the coastline has an authenticity that you will find seductive, and that will lure you back time and time again. Moreover, if you’re travelling with your family, it is near cities such as Agadir where you can still enjoy every comfort, and find activities to suit your children’s ages and interests.
Imsouane’s beaches, regarded by some international publications as among the finest in the world, attract as many lovers of unspoilt beaches as they do surfing fanatics. But it has to be said that it is the surfers who have maintained a constant presence here for several decades. The town has two main beaches — the northern one, known as Imsouane, which is a sandy bay lying between two promontories, and the one known as Beach 2, to the south, which is a little more wild and rocky. One of the great pleasures of a walk along the town beach is the scenes it offers: children playing football, fishermen coming or going with their boats, the lighthouse, the modest cafés with their little tables overlooking the sea, and haphazardly scattered seafront houses, snack bars, bars, and shops.
Surfing in Imsouane
One cannot talk about surfing in Imsouane without mentioning that it has the longest right-breaking waves on the African continent. The two main surfing spots (and the reason why so many followers of the sport descend on the town during both autumn and winter) are Cathedral Point to the north, and The Bay, near the port. The longest waves, so eagerly sought after by surfers, are to be found in The Bay, which has a sandy floor and is best at mid tide. To reach the top of the wave, you can jump from the port, so that you don’t have to row for too long. This is the most popular point, and also the place where you’ll find the most establishments with a surfing vibe.
If you cannot be here during what is regarded as the optimum season, it is nevertheless well worth coming during the spring or the summer, because it is still perfectly possible to surf then. If you are interested in learning to surf, you will find lots of businesses offering classes, as well as surf camps where you can meet other water sports fans in Imsouane.
Imsouane, an alternative town
To completely experience Imsouane, it’s a good idea to wander through the town’s streets, after visiting the beaches and riding the waves. The streets nearest the coast are packed with shops selling surfing paraphernalia, along with bars, snack bars, and the like The perfect spot to watch the sun go down is near the lighthouse, from the terraces on the slipway. One thing you really shouldn’t miss in this little seafaring town is the market, where you can buy freshly caught fish.
If, in addition to Imsouane, you’d like to see a few other places, you could visit Tamanar, about 30 kilometres away, which is known as a centre of production of argan oil. You can buy excellent products there, and if you visit during the Argan-Haha festival, you can enjoy a unique celebration with plenty of local folklore thrown in.
Where to stay near Imsouane
Imsouane is 90 kilometres from Agadir, a city which offers some of the very best options for accommodation, and from where you can organise excursions to the Atlantic coastal towns and to inland Morocco. Agadir has a four-star hotel, the Allegro Agadir, which boasts excellent, fully refurbished facilities. Its 321 guest rooms are decorated in a modern style with touches of colour, and the hotel boasts a large swimming pool, a snack bar, and other bars and restaurants. And if you’re travelling with children, you’re in luck, because the Allegro Agadir offers a Mini Club with a pool and garden exclusively for the use of young children.
The hotel is close to Agadir’s 12 kilometres of beaches, and beyond that lies the town of Taghazout (the surfing mecca), as well as beautiful areas such as Paradise Valley, for wonderful excursions.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I get to Imsouane?
Imsouane lies 90 kilometres from Agadir, and to get there takes around an hour and a half. The best way is to travel by car, following the coastal road, (the N-1), or you could take a taxi, but agree the price in advance. There are also buses, but they are not frequent.
What is the best season to go surfing in Imsouane?
The best time to go surfing in Imsouane is during the autumn and winter, as this is when the wind and sea conditions are most favourable. Many surfing fans regard this as one of the finest surfing destinations, and believe that Magic Bay, with its long waves, is a spot not to be missed.
Are there surfing contests in the area?
Among the most important surfing competitions held along Morocco’s Atalantic coast is the Taghazout Bay Rip Curl Pro Search, although the February 2022 event had to be postponed due to the pandemic. This championship attracts the world’s best surfers, as well as spectators of all nationalities.