Despite an absolute love for driving and road trips, any thoughts of getting behind the wheel in Morocco has always put the fear of God in me.
So when Tommi and the Vanareys (don’t they sound like a punk band!) turned up in Tamraght with their beautiful Transit van (hereon known as the Vanos), I couldn’t wait for the chance to jump in it and start exploring more of the coast!
Tommi, Renee and I had already undertaken an epic girls trip South to Legzira, so it was time to head North with the boys to one of their favourite Moroccan surf spots – Imsouane.
As with most of my research on the smaller towns of Morocco, it’s been difficult to piece together a short history of the town.
But from the little information I can find, it seems that Imsouane, much like Legzira, formed as a fishing town due to it’s proximity to the North Atlantic Ocean.
Visiting the village, you can easily see how its two biggest features – fishing and surfing – combine to offer an exciting mix of local experience and beach life.
We were there for surf. With a consistent swell on most days (according to the Vanarey brothers), the popular and often crowded break wasn’t working quite as well as the boys had hoped it would that day.
Which gave us even more chance to explore the local town and immerse ourselves in the hippie surf culture of cafés and surf shops…
Despite Imsouane’s popularity with surfers from across the world, the village is a first and foremost home to a bustling fishing community.
The bright blue painted wooden fishing boats that are synonymous with Morocco’s fishing trade line the slip from the ocean to the trading hall. Most visitors to Morocco experience this immersion in its fishing culture in Essaouira, but the trade is just as vital to Imsouane.
Here lies ample opportunity for nabbing the perfect photo – as photographer Michael Vanarey found out by enticing some of the local kids playing on the boats to pose for his camera.
But to get a true feel for a day in the life of an Imsouane fisherman, turn your back from the ocean slip and tide of wooden boats to enter the trading hall.
I’ll be honest with you – it’s pretty smelly! But the aroma of freshly caught eels and crabs is soon overcome by the loud bargaining cries of local restauranteurs and village residents trying to get the best price for their dinner.
The pungent smell of fish is just a little less gross than the slippery floors you are required to slide through in your sandals; that is if you want to get a really good look at the exotic catches brought in on the day.
I’ve never seen anything like the faces on some of the fish for sale – and you won’t believe the size of the eels!
Once you’ve marvelled at the range of creatures that can be found under the lip of the surf – and possibly even tasted some fresh of the fires that are stoked outside the trading hall(!) – it’s time to relax and enjoy the sunset.
And I have to say that the sunset over Imsouane was one of the prettiest ones I’ve seen in Morocco. Excluding the desert of course but I haven’t shown you that yet…
Unfortunately, I can’t go in to quite as much detail about how to get to Imsouane as I did for my trip to Legzira as we took the Vanos and therefore didn’t have to worry about public transport.
What I can say is that I have heard collective taxis offering rides to Imsouane both from the main taxi ranks in Agadir and Taghazout – and judging according to local prices this shouldn’t cost more than 25 EUR. Alternatively, hitch-hiking is relatively common in Morocco – but I wouldn’t advise this for solo female travellers for similar reasons as I have outlined in my post on the dress code in Morocco.
Travelling Morocco by Bus
If you prefer to travel by bus, then my best advice is to ask staff in your hostel or hotel. The main bus companies that run in Morocco are CTM and Supratours, although from a quick browse of their websites it doesn’t appear that they offer a stop at Imsouane.
Driving to Imsouane
Driving from Agadir to Imsouane
Driving from Marrakech to Imsouane
Driving from Essaouira to Imsouane
So would I recommend travellers to visit Imsouane? Absolutely, yes.
Imsouane’s reputation as a great surf break means that the village is used to socialising with tourists and café and surf shops have been built to cater for this.
But Morocco is still a haven for travellers who want to experience a country relatively untouched by tourism and Western influence.
Imsouane’s rough and almost untouched Moroccan fishing scene is one of the best I have seen.
I have written for my love for Essaouira, yet the hustle and bustle of the fish trade hall in Imsouane seems more local and traditional than what I remember from watching the fisherman at Essaouira, who seem more concerned with selling lunch to tourists than trading.
So needless to say I can’t wait to spend more time in this cute little town. And I can only hope that next time I return it is with a squad as fun as these guys…!
Lots of love,
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