LAST UPDATED 07/01/2008
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Surfing lesson in Morocco, accommodation and all levels of surf courses in Taghazout, the..

Level of surfing


Quality of surf


Call code


Net code





1,835 km


Mediterranean, becoming more extreme in the interior


Extreme Heat, Difficult Access

Best Months

November - March




Moroccan Dirham (MAD) Moroccan dirhams per US dollar - 8.7722 (2006)

Time Zone


Special Requirements

Private Beaches, Strict Religious Observance


CIA WFB: Morocco; 2007

Morocco is somewhat of an oddity in many ways. A proud Muslim nation, very westernised due to its close proximity to Europe yet often very conservative. Sometimes contradictory, sometimes confusing, always intriguing. The Moroccan coast is fed by the same swell systems that power western Europe to the north and whilst a lot of these systems can be attenuated before they reach the coast here they are often far cleaner with an excellent swell period. This is an intriguing and ancient land packed with unique culture. The addition of world class points and beach breaks minus the crowds make it a great option for the travelling surfer.


Fabos: Roman Mosaic in Morocco c.500AD; 2005

The area known as Morocco like much of the Mediterranean has been inhabited since Neolithic times, around 8000BC. Initially populated by Jews and Saharans, these people formed a unique group called the Berbers. The area was to become linked with the other Mediterranean nations via trade with the Phoenicians and eventually became part of the Roman Empire.

As Rome declines in the fifth century, power shifted back to the native Berbers. As Rome fell, the world was again up for grabs and it was eventually to be the nations of Islam that claimed the area in 670 AD. Morocco was a long way from the ruling Caliphs in Baghdad however and whilst the region readily accepted Islam it proved difficult to control. Eventually many of the regional Berber rulers established their own independent Islamic states within the region. Islam spread north and large areas of modern day Spain formed great centres of Islamic learning.

These peoples were known as the Moors. Eventually Christian Europe moved against these nations and the last Moorish city of Granada fell in 1492. Many of these people fled to Morocco and found safe harbour. In 1777, morocco was the first country to recognise the United States as an independent nation and was the only country in Europe to offer American ships safe harbour. The Moroccan-American Treaty of Friendship signed in 1786 is the longest standing unbroken friendship treaty that the United States was a signatory too. By the 1800’s, the great powers of Europe were looking to expand and Morocco was to come under French protection on 1912. Moroccan soldiers fought for France in World Wars I and II. Following world War II, France found the region difficult to control and by 1955, internal conflict was such that the exiled ruler Mohammed V was permitted to return.

Morocco gained her independence the following year in 1956. In the 1970’s, Morocco annexed the Western Sahara to the south west – citing a long running dispute with Spain over the region. The region had been known as the Spanish Sahara for over 100 years but the majority Berber population was dissatisfied with Spanish rule. Today the final resolution on Western Sahara remains unresolved and politically it continues to function with a government in exile based in Algeria. In 2003, the largest city, Casablanca was rocked by terrorist attacks targeting western tourists and Jews. Like all such mindless attacks, the indiscriminate nature of the act left 33 dead and over 100 people injured the vast majority Muslim Moroccans.

Morocco is held in very high esteem by international statesmen as being a prime example of the successful participation of an Arabic country on the world stage and indeed sets a fine example for others in the Arab world.



Moroccan Sky: Safi c.12 century; 2007

You can feel a little like a stranger in a strange land in Morocco sometimes but once you relax into the culture you will love this place. The Mediterranean coast offers limited surfing prospects mainly due to the very close proximity of the Spanish coast to the north. sirocco systems that stall in the Mediterranean can send a nice back draft of easterly swell which lights up beautiful desert points in November however.

The Atlantic coast offers far more reliable options including world famous rides such as Safi. Storm cells descend from the North Atlantic from Oct to Jan on a regular basis and the NE/SW lie of the Moroccan coastline here ensures that all of the points, reefs and beaches will be alive with energy throughout these periods. The further south you travel the more barren the coastline becomes. Travel around the West Sahara border can be a little sketchy and should be avoided at night.

The reality is that only a small portion of the coastline of Morocco has been adequately surveyed for surfing potential and the entire Atlantic coast offers excellent potential for discovery.  



Adrian Pingstone; Royal Air Moroc 757; Aug 2004

Travellers from most western countries will not need a visa to enter Morocco, at time of writing, so it's always wise to check. You will be allowed to stay for 90 days before a visa extension is necessary, this can be a lengthy process and most people find it easier to do a "visa run' to Spain and back to get their passport re-stamped.

Most major European airlines service Morocco and there are flights available from New York and Montreal, so getting here isn't hard and you'll probably fly into Agadir or Casablanca. Arriving by car has a few limited options, the only roads open are the ones at the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla. The frontier with Algeria has been closed for ten years. For the closest maritime connection you head for Algeciras or Tarifa in southern Spain. At Algeciras there are ferry services to Ceuta and Tangier that carry cars. Tarifa has a similar service to Tangier and this is the shortest and fastest route, just 35 minutes.

Once in Moroccogetting around is easy as there is a good train network. Renting cars, surfers favourite, is no dramas either; most cities have all the major rental brands available. 



Robert A. Rohde: Annual Average Temperature Map, 15 February 2008

Morocco’s climate grades from Mediterranean in the north and central regions, with hot and dry summers and mild winters, to drier more arid regions influenced by the Sahara in the south. The main influences of the weather in Morocco are the semi-permanent Azores anticyclone, a large subtropical semi-permanent centre of high atmospheric pressure found near the Azores in the Atlantic Ocean, cold fronts from the north and the Saharan heat low. The strength and position of these systems determine the climate in Morocco year round, which is divided into four northern hemisphere seasons: Winter (December-February), Spring (March-May), Summer (June-August) and Autumn (September-November).  Plenty of swells, offshore winds and warm temperatures, particularly compared to freezing Europe to the north, sees autumn and Winter a ravelling surfer’s delight. During summer and spring very hot local winds off the Sahara Desert known as the Chergui sees conditions uncomfortable and surf quality decrease.  While, cool Canary current, which flows from northeast to southwest along parallel the coast provides a moderating influence on the climate, and also means you’ll be packing a wetsuit

Winter (December-February)

During this period the Azores high dominates North African weather, bringing dry, stable conditions to the central and southern parts of Morocco, which are dominated by steady trade north-easterly winds originating from the Sahara Desert as Saharan and Azores high outflow.  The good news for surfers is that these winds are steady north-easterly at 5-10 knots and offshore the famous right point breaks around Agadir. Even better news is that onshores are at their lightest of the year. In northern Morocco, cold fronts from the north can slide into the Mediterranean and causing this region’s wettest part of the year.  Rainfall occurs on average 7-9 days each month. The mean highs are 18C in December, 15C the rest of the season. The mean lows are 10C in December and 6 to 8C the rest of the season.

Spring (March-May)

In Spring, the pressure and temperature gradients between the warming Sahara Dessert and the cooler Mediterranean Sea is at its greatest and cold fronts can slide even further south, This creates greater instability and increases rainfall over the northern and central regions.  Winds gradually shift from northeaster lies of winter to northwest to west-southwest all season, meaning your favourite points are blown out much of the time. Calm conditions are still fairly prevalent especially at night, so evening glass of or early morning are options.  The mean highs warm from 19C in March to 21 to 22C for the rest of the season. The mean lows are 8C in March, 11 to 14C for the rest of the season. Average rainfall monthly Rain days steadily decreases from 7-8 days per month in March-April to 3-4 in May.

Summer (June-August)

As the Azores high builds eastward for the summer and Atlantic cold fronts no longer reach the Mediterranean so precipitation is almost zero. Generally a northerly flow dominates Morocco all summer, with daily land and sea breezes being considerable, even greater than 20kts.  Cross or onshore winds mess up the surf. Also inconsistent swell from the Atlantic makes this the least desirable time to visit. Rainfall there occurs 3 days in June, and 1 day for the rest of the season. The mean highs are 24C in June, 27 to 28C for the rest of the season, near the coast, but inland they can be much higher and in excess of 40 C, can occur especially with local easterly dessert winds known as the Chergui winds. However the sea also moderates low temperatures because the humidity remains high through the night.  The mean lows are 16 to 18C all season.

Autumn (September-November)

In autumn the Azores high moves westward and Atlantic cold fronts begin slides south again.  This can see wetter conditions for the north, but it also means the Atlantic wave machine starts pumping swell more consistently towards Morocco again, beginning in September. Chergui winds are still possible in September, but generally winds remain northerly as the Azores high still dominates in this season, and by mid season the offshore trades see the likes of Anchor Point firing again.  The mean highs are 28C in September and 24C for the rest of the season. The mean lows are 17C in September and 14C for the rest of the season. Average rain days rise from 2-5 days in September and October to 8-9 days in November, mostly in the north.

where to stay

David Dennis; Street Scene in Marrakech; 04.07.2008

Morocco has a broad spectrum of hotels to suit every pocket. In the larger cities and holiday resort areas you'll find the major hotel chains available such as the Sheraton and Hyatt etc. Smaller cities and town do have some high class guest houses which are converted Moroccan town houses and known as riads.

At the other end of the spectrum you can expect to find youth hostels and budget hotels a plenty, though don't expect hot water and other refinements, the joys of travelling on a budget, well it adds to the adventure!

For those looking to camp, almost every town and city has a campground, although these can often be some way out of the centre. Many of these grounds have water, electricity and cafes. In rural areas and villages, locals are usually more than happy to let you camp on their property; just make sure you ask first.

what to pack

Aka: Camera Nikon D70; 19 September 2005

Pack light, there's no need to bring your expensive belongings. Going to a sunny country, which is near Ecvator, make sure you take a good sunscreen (SPF 30+), sunglasses; a good insect repellent is a must. Bring on the medicines you are used to take. Comfortable walking shoes, sandals, hat and natural fabrics (such as cotton or linen) clothes will be useful as well. Don't forget a backpack that might be useful if you’re planning to travel around or sail. If you have space in your bag, take some extra clothing you don't use anymore, your unwanted items will easily find a welcoming home and the locals will be grateful to you.

You won't regret swimming and snorkelling gear! And protect your camera from sand and dirt.

It is a good idea to bring some presents for local children you might meet: colouring books and crayons, little toys and nick-nacks (like hairclips, bouncy balls, etc.), pencils. If you can afford it, leave some sports equipment, for example a new football, this will mean a lot to a community.


dangers and warnings

US Fed Gov; GHB Powder; 21.07.2004

First and foremost, as with any travel regardless where, you should avoid leaving valuables on display whether in a vehicle, hotel room or on your person, try and keep as low key as possible, don't flash around expensive cameras etc. Keep your passport in a safety deposit box if possible. Try not to travel alone, especially at night and avoid dark areas around cities - just all common sense stuff.

Women should take extra special care when travelling alone and dress modestly. Expect hassles from men if alone, though usually harmless encounters and random hisses and whistles, just ignore it and keep walking, but don't let it put you off travelling here, as mentioned, it's harmless.

In the bigger cities expect hustlers trying to sell you something and constantly trying to stop you to talk, no matter how friendly they first appear, there're all after money, be polite and keep moving - don't stop or you'll never get rid of them.

There have be cases of drink spiking with a drug known as GHB, it'll knock you out for 3 hours, be vigilant. 

restaurants, shopping and nightlife

Rmx; Spice Pyramids, Casablanca; 21.10.2006

The currency in Morocco is the Dirham (Dh) which is divided into 100 centimes. It's forbidden to bring local currency out of the country, so it's virtually impossible to obtain local currency outside Morocco. Exchange rates are the same at all banks and official exchanges, as required by law.


In Morocco the shopping is all about the markets, the colours and smells that alert the senses as you walk between the stalls is amazing. Here, the best and most Moroccan things to buy are the fresh and bold spices that'll get your nose tingling, also processed dates (kind of like a sweet dried plum) are very tasty and cheap here. The leather ware is also of good quality and well priced, but still haggle. 


Foodies will love the Moroccan cuisine, it's reputed to be some of the best in the world, with countless dishes and variations proudly bearing the country's colonial and Arabic influences. Unfortunately as a tourist through Morocco, especially if you're on a budget, you'll be limited to the handful of dishes that seem to have a monopoly on cafe and restaurant menus throughout the country. Traditional Moroccan dishes are thing like couscous, a staple carbohydrate based product made from semolina grains. Also tagine, a spicy stew of meat and vegetables that has been simmered for many hours in a conical clay pot.


There are a few discos and bars around and most hotels will have a bar but remember Morocco is a Muslim country therefore alcohol consumption is mostly frowned upon, certainly don't drink in public places and don't appear drunk walking around the streets. Not only is it disrespecting the locals but you'll make yourself an easy target from crime. 


what to do when it's flat

Donarreiskoffer; Evening in Marrakech; 17.12.2005

The markets are great fun when it's flat, if you look like a tourist you'll get lots and handshakes and stall owners bantering with you. Even if you don't particularly want to buy anything, go just for the experience whilst your here, you'll get lots of conversation and come away smiling, and probably with a bargain or two whether you meant it or not! Do remember to haggle, haggle, haggle! you'll get anything for less than half the starting price when you get the hang of it.

The drive from Agadir to Marrakech via the mountain pass is a great adventure and takes in some wonderful places, and then you can stay in Marrakech for a night or two and drive back. It's a great change of scenery and you'll see some of rural Morocco and get some great piccies for the album.


useful phrase guide

Indolences; Standard question mark; 04.05.2007

The official language of Morocco is Moroccan Arabic. It is a dialect pretty dissimilar to traditional Arabic as it has lots of French and Spanish influence. Most people in the major tourist areas will speak some English but outside of that the best secondary language is French as most Moroccans will understand this. But to help you along here at SurfingAtlas we've done our research and found you some Moroccan Arabic phrases to get you out of the mire, aren't we good!

Hello                                Ahlan

Goodbye                          Beslama

How are you?                    Cava?

Can you help me?             Yemken lek t'aweni?

Do you speak English?       Wash katidwi bil lingliziya? 

Excuse me                        Smah liya

Nice to meet you               Metsarfin

Please                             Afak

Thank you                        šukran bezaf

No thanks                        La šukran

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