Visiting Agadir and the surrounding area
A brief introduction to Agadir
Visiting Agadir and the surrounding area: Agadir is a beautiful city, the largest seaside resort in Morocco, but if you take away its promenade, which is reminiscent of the Promenade des Anglais in Nice, with its restaurants and stores, there’s not much left to see… The most beautiful things to see are outside the city, and that’s worth the trip! That’s why we chose to rent a car, as cabs (even though prices are well below those in France) add up pretty quickly if you need to get out of town several times. Around 60€ per outing. Besides, a car gives you the freedom to do what you want, when you want and, above all, where you want!
Visit Agadir Oufella
It’s always nice to have an overview of the town you’re visiting, especially when there’s the ocean! For that, head to Agadir Oufella. Originally the town’s Kasbah (built-in 1572), only a tiny part of the building remains to this day, so it’s not to admire a building that you go there, but rather for the panoramic view. This beautiful view overlooks part of the city, the ocean and Agadir’s long beach.
You can get there by cab, but for those of you with a car (as in our case), there’s free parking at the bottom of the site, as cars are not allowed up. Following a fatal accident a few years ago on the descent, only one shuttle bus runs there and back every 15-20 minutes for the equivalent of less than 1€.
Visiting Agadir and the surrounding area: A great activity to do. This park is home to over 300 crocodiles and other reptiles (iguanas, snakes, etc.), as well as giant tortoises. There’s also a botanical garden with species from all over the world. We thought we’d spend an hour there at the most, but in reality, we were there for just over 2 hours. The park is very well maintained and makes you want to visit it as soon as you enter. There’s a snake grotto with a scary Anaconda! There’s also a laboratory where you can see (through glass) baby crocodiles and baby turtles. A visit to the iguana area outside feels like a trip to the USA, with all the scenery you can see. The only hitch is that there are so many crocodiles that you get the impression they’re climbing all over each other, and I wonder if they really belong where they are…
Visiting the Agadir region
Youssef Ibn Tachifa Dam
Visiting Agadir and the surrounding area: You may not know it, but Morocco is full of dams, and we had the opportunity to visit the Youssef Ibn Tachifa dam. A beautiful out-of-town spot in the middle of nowhere, with an elusive view from the top and a desert backdrop.
Honestly, this is one of the two things I chose to visit Agadir for – the photos on the internet had me drooling, and all I wanted to do was get there fast, fast, fast!
Once I got there, I was sorely disappointed… The autumn and winter were poor in terms of rainfall, so the valley was pretty dry and a far cry from the Instagram photos… Anyway, it was still very beautiful, an oasis in the middle of the mountains. We went there by car too, otherwise by cab it’s 60€ minimum (price to the head…). I hope you’ll have better luck and be able to swim.
There are a lot of guides waiting for you at the entrance, but we chose to do it on our own, and at worst, given how crowded it is, we can’t get lost on our own. We didn’t get lost, and we’re especially fond of venturing out on our own!
Souss-Massa National Park Nature Reserve
Visiting Agadir and the surrounding area: The Souss-Massa National Park is home to an animal nature reserve with several species, all of which roam freely. Ostriches, oryx, dorcas gazelles, antelopes and more roam about. In June it’s very quiet, as the fine weather is here and we generally prefer to spend our time by the water, so we were very relaxed and able to make the most of it. We have a choice of two ways to visit, on foot or by car. We chose the car because the spaces are bigger and the animals are totally free to roam, passing in front of you like this group of ostriches we saw at close quarters, it was like a mini safari. The guide was very friendly and let us stop whenever we wanted. I can’t remember the price, but it was nothing exorbitant.
And here’s the second thing I came to Agadir for: Legzira Beach, no it’s not for the beach but for this natural arch carved out of the red mountain by ocean, erosion and wind. In September 2016, there were still 2 of them, but the best-known has collapsed due to natural erosion.
It’s about 2.5 hours’ drive from Agadir, but there are other things you can do on the way (Youssef Ibn Tachifa Dam, or just pull off to the side of a desert road as if you were in the American West: magnificent) and it’s well worth the trip! Once you’re down there: wow! Spectacular and impressive, magnificent to behold. But that wasn’t enough for me, so I thought: seeing it from above would be much better! I look up but NOBODY has this idea, um, never mind I WANT to see it from above! I take the map on my phone and put it in satellite mode to see if there’s a way up … Verdict: an unpaved track leads to the cliff, so we take it! And the view is even more beautiful, alone facing the immensity of the blue ocean, this red arch, this beach with black rocks. Just a marvel! The photos are appealing, but nothing beats seeing this work of nature in the flesh.
Visiting Agadir and the surrounding area: Tifnit is a small fishing village, so why go there? I can’t remember why we decided to go there, but I’d definitely go back! A little place with a lot of fishing boats and a horrible smell of gasoline to welcome you… As we get further away, we head into the desert, without a guide or anyone around us, but we don’t have to go far to admire the desert and see nothing around us but sand on one side and the ocean on the other. NO tourists or even locals to bother us. It was magical, sitting on a dune and admiring the ocean in total calm! To be in the desert without actually being there, no need to equip yourself or think about taking liters of water, since the sandbanks and the road are right next door! Our TOP 1 vacation!
What we remember about these vacations: almost every time, we found ourselves alone in the world without a crowd of tourists, and that enabled us to seize the moment like never before. We always try to get a little further away, and the feeling is definitely different!
What are the best travel destinations in Africa?
Africa is full of nuggets of all kinds. Often overlooked by tourists, Africa has nothing to envy other continents. Here you’ll find magnificent landscapes and a wealth of flora and fauna like nowhere else. Here are the best destinations to do with Morocco and Agadir.
South Africa and Cape Town. Cape Town is one of South Africa’s biggest tourist destinations. The Mountain Table overlooks a city by the sea. The scenery is splendid and it’s a lively city!
Marrakech. It’s impossible to travel to Morocco without visiting its jewel, Marrakech. This destination is often the most popular with Europeans, as it’s only a few hours away by plane.
Egypt and the Cairo region. Have you ever dreamed of visiting the pyramids of Egypt? The Cairo region is very popular with visitors, as it is home to many of the jewels of our history!
Tanzania. Tanzania is a destination that many travelers dream of. You can enjoy superb trips there, such as to its heavenly beaches or on a Ngorongoro safari.
Kruger National Park. Located in South Africa, this national park is an incredible nature reserve, home to many protected species that you won’t see anywhere else!
Masai Mara National Reserve. Another nature reserve in Kenya. It’s a magnificent destination, ideal for safaris. Here, too, the flora and fauna are ultra-protected.
The Okavango Delta in Botswana. Another African wonderland, with breathtaking landscapes and incredible colors!
Alexandria, Egypt. The historic city of Alexandria boasts superb historical remains. It’s a must-see destination when you travel in the region!
Lake Nakuru. Located in Kenya’s national park, it’s famous for its flamingos, which make for superb photo opportunities. Although the lake is heavily polluted, it’s a great place to meet the local population.
Victoria Falls. A beautiful part of Zimbabwe, close to the Zambezi National Park. These dizzying waterfalls are well worth a visit when you’re in the area!
Ascent of Ighil M’Goun – 4071m
Morocco’s third highest peak, Ighil M’Goun is much more isolated and less touristy than the Toubkal region. A magnificent high-altitude trek far from the beaten track and at the heart of Berber culture.
Climbing Ighil M’Goun had already been on my mind for several years. Four years ago, I left for Morocco for the first time, invited to the Atlas by a Moroccan friend, Omar, a mountain guide. As we hiked in the Toubkal region, I met some of his friends (also guides), and as we discussed the various treks possible throughout the country, I heard about M’goun for the first time. Omar, aware of my aversion to overly touristy and crowded itineraries, told me that I’d probably enjoy climbing this peak much more than Toubkal, which can be crowded at certain times of the year.
What’s more, I understood that their profession as guides meant that they had to respond to customer demand, which meant that they had to climb Toubkal countless times a year and that most of them fantasized about a little more diversity in their professional organization.
In the years that followed, Omar and I kept talking about the possibility of going back to the Atlas Mountains together for the M’goun, but neither he nor I could find the right time.
Finally, in August 2019, I received a phone call from him: “Tell me, I’m going back to Morocco in mid-September and I’ll be free at least until October. Would you like to come and do the M’Goun?
I didn’t hesitate for a second, and a month later found him and his wife in Marrakech. From there, we took a shared cab that started out on the road to Demnate, then wound its way up the high Atlas mountains to Tabant, in the Aït Bouguemez valley, over 200km from Marrakech.
We spend a whole day in Tabant, where a friend of Omar’s welcomes us. It’s a chance for me to slowly get used to the altitude, as I’ve just arrived from Paris and we’re already at almost 2000m. After a few hours’ walk in the valley, including a visit to the old granary overlooking the village, we return home to organize our trip.
We buy food for the next 5 days. There are 3 of us and we decide to take a mule with us, a luxury I’m not used to. With the muleteer, 4 of us set off. As everywhere in Morocco, we’re received like royalty, and the slightest tea break is an opportunity to pamper ourselves even more.
I feel like I’m eating my own weight in couscous, tajines and cakes every day, but the food is really delicious and it’s hard not to want more.
The next morning, we get up early, load up the mule and head for the Arous Valley.
Visiting Agadir and the surrounding area: We first follow the Aït-bouguemez valley for several hours. The terrain is flat and progress easy. At the end of the valley, we turn left into the Arous Valley.
The trail climbs gently to a plateau where we stop for a short rest.
We then cross the plateau and pass the Ikkis sheepfolds. We bivouac shortly afterward at around 2300m.
Aghouwri ridge – Tarkeddit pass
The next day begins with an ascent to the Oumskiiq pass at 2900m.
Then the climb continues up to the Aghouwri ridge, from where we have a magnificent view of the Arous Valley and the Tarkeddit plateau, our future bivouac. We’re now at 3400m, and I noticed it quite clearly on the last few meters of the ascent. My breath is getting a little shorter.
The Tarkeddit plateau, the starting point for our ascent of M’Goun, now stretches out before us. We descend from our ridge and reach the plateau by mid-afternoon. We’re here at around 3000m altitude. We set up camp before a well-deserved tea break.
On the day of the climb, we set off at night. We leave the plateau, and by the time daylight comes we’re already in a totally mineral world. After a steep climb through the scree, the slope eases and we reach a plateau.
Shortly afterward, we reach the ridge that will take us to the summit. The view opens up 360 degrees and the landscape is magnificent.
From here, several kilometers of ridge walking await us. A deep cirque stretches out to our left.
We reach the summit after almost an hour’s walk along the ridge. The weather is magnificent, and we couldn’t be happier. We choose to go back the way we came, giving us another hour’s walk on the ridge to boot. We’re back on the plateau and at the bivouac by 4 pm.
The next day we set off at dawn for the Oulilimt Valley. A long day of walking awaits us. We leave the plateau with the first rays of sunshine, and the colors are magnificent.
We descend into a valley before crossing another pass. Along the way, we catch a glimpse of the Arous Valley we came up through.
We then follow the bed of the Oulilimt River. Pass a few sheepfolds along the way, then have a picnic amid the fairy chimneys – strange mineral formations – that line the river.
We then continue to follow the Oulilimt River to an abandoned building where we’ll bivouac. Visiting Agadir and the surrounding area.
It’s already the last day of the trek. After a hearty breakfast, we load up the mule and set off. We continue along the river for another hour before arriving on a dirt road.
We then take the dirt road over the Tizi n’Aït Imi pass. Fortunately, we don’t have to walk on the road all the way, and can sometimes cut straight across the road’s long switchbacks. On the other hand, we don’t always have this choice, and we have to cover our eyes at every passing vehicle that sprays us with dust. Once we reach the pass, we enjoy the view over the Aït Bouguemez Valley as we picnic.
We descend the pass in the afternoon and arrive in the village of Aït Imi. From here it’s less than an hour’s walk to Tabant, where we’ll spend the night.