During my 3 night stay in Essaouira and keen to explore the surroundings outside of the city I had pre-booked a day of coast trekking. I was collected by my local guide, Naima (the same guide from the previous Had Draa half day tour) and together with Ariana (also from the previous day) and Norwegian ‘Johan’ (not his real name) we were driven for about 40 minutes south towards Sidi Kaouki.
We drove through the small resort of Sidi Kaouki and after another 10 minutes or so the driver dropped us on the outskirts of a tiny village. Here we saw goats climbing trees which they do to reach argan nuts. The photo above is not great due to the backlighting and poor composition but if you look closely there was a goat or two up in the tree! Apparently local farmers have got wise to the idea this is a tourist photo opportunity and along major roads which are lined with argan trees, they tie the goats up and charge tourists to take pictures. At least we saw them for real.
We began to walk towards the coast and Naima led us along some track roads and towards a small canyon.
Before we got there, Naima explained the Argan tree is endemic to southwest Morocco and argan oil is made from the seeds of this tree.
We continued our trek which led us through the small canyon. Naima explained more of the history of the Berber culture as we walked.
From the highest point we had great views across the barren and rocky Moroccan landscape.
After a couple of hours and with Naima stopping regularly to explain the plants and landscapes we came closer to the sea. Before reaching this we went into the burial place of Sidi Mbarak who was a north African hermit (a marabout) after who the village and area was named.
We stayed for about 15 minutes at the top of the waterfall. There wasn’t too much water however this was quite a spectacular and unique location where a large sand dune meets the craggy rock formations and with the cascades in the middle.
Naima led us towards the village and a shepherd had arrived to the top of the cascades where his goats enjoyed a refreshing drink. We climbed over soft sand and up a hill before arriving at the village.
In the village we arrived at Hussain’s house for lunch. Naima opened his back gate and we crossed his back yard and entered the back door of his house. We were asked to remove our foot ware (which is a Berber custom) and one by one we washed our hands. No sink was available so this involved a squirt of liquid soap and Naima pouring water over our hands with a bowl underneath to catch the drips.
We sat cross legged on cushions on the floor around the above table.
Hussain poured a glass of water for each of us together with individual bowls of finely chopped salad flavoured with parsley and coriander.
Next he put a huge tagine in the middle of the table which contained goat and vegetables. The vegetables were tasty, tender and perfectly cooked. I tried a small piece of goat but as I generally avoid meat I left that for the others.
Fresh Moroccan flat bread is delicious and especially when served warm. Traditionally you tear pieces of bread and use it to scoop up your tagine food.
Lunch was finished off with a large bowl of oranges and apples and mint tea.
From Hussains Naima led us around the side of his house and down the rocky stoney path towards the sea. We walked along the edge of fields and the paths became sandier.
After 20 minutes or so the stoney fields ended and we had reached the soft sand dunes.
The beach was vast and we walked for about 30 minutes along the firm sand until we reached the end. It was also deserted, we saw just two people in the distance in the opposite direction.
From the beach Naima led us up the cliff where we followed a path around the headland, turning back to see the vast expanse of glimmering sea behind us.
From the beach Naima led us up to the cliff path which we followed the rugged Atlantic coast line.
Another huge beached stretched off into the distance. This leads towards Sidi Kaouki beach where, from Sidi Kaouki village you can find a number of activities such as surfing, horse riding and quad biking. It was close to this spot where the 12 km trek ended and we were collected by our driver and taken back to Essaouira.
I had pre-booked this tour directly with Berberlands.org a small local company I found when I was researching ideas for my trip. After a few emails back and forth, the trips were finally confirmed. As it was the low season, I had to wait for more people to book onto each! I would recommend Berberlands – Naima was a knowledge and easy-going guide. I had been liaising with Claudia via email, always helpful during the booking process.