Located in the Souss region of Morocco’s southern Atlantic coast, Sidi Ifni served as a Spanish port city from the mid-19th century until it was ceded to Morocco in 1969. From the 1930s until the late 1960s, the town hosted a large Spanish population, and today visitors to Sidi Ifni can see crumbling Spanish-built fortifications, Spanish signposts and funky European art-deco architecture next to traditional Moroccan homes.
Like most of Morocco’s southern coast, Sidi Ifni has a mild climate year round. The best time for swimming, surfing and kite boarding is during the summer months when the water is warmer and the wind picks up. A rocky coastline makes Sidi Ifni and its surrounding beaches a destination for advanced kite surfers and boarders; beginners would be better off in the calm lagoon of Dakhla further south in the Western Sahara.
If you’re flying in to Morocco, the closest airport to Sidi Ifni is 112 miles away in Agadir. From the Inezgane bus station next to Agadir, local buses ply the 3.5-hour drive to Sidi Ifni. Buses from Marrakech (8.5 hours) are also available, and from the towns of Tiznit and Goulmime you can travel by grand taxi (Moroccan share taxis).
One of the appeals of Sidi Ifni is its laid back atmosphere. You won’t find any discos, tour buses or large beachside hotels, and there aren’t likely to be many tourists hanging out around town. Aside from swimming and surfing during the summer months, other things to do in Sidi Ifni include meandering around the old Spanish church and consulate, enjoying the ocean view from the town lighthouse and checking out the local fish market.
Women in Sidi Ifni wear colorful, voluminous garments called malhafas, and female visitors can easily spend an afternoon browsing fabric shops and allowing the shopkeepers to offer lessons on how to tie and wear the local dress. Even if you don’t plan on wearing a malhafa when you get home, the pieces of cloth make excellent curtains, wall hangings or furniture coverings. If you are interested in smaller souvenirs from Sidi Ifni, check out the bead and jewelry shop adjacent to the beachside Hotel Suerte Loca.
The Hotel Suerte Loca also has an on-site restaurant and several larger rooms with ocean view balconies. It’s popular with backpackers and surfers. About a half dozen smaller hotels line the beach, although you can also find accommodations closer to the town center. One homey option is the Xanadu Guest House. Sidi Ifni also has two campsites for tent or car camping, although you should be sure to inquire if your campsite includes hot water access.
Six miles north of Sidi Ifni is a much larger beach at Legzira. The beach has two stunning natural sandstone arches, a collection of basic cafes and hotels, and plenty of space for a picnic or beach barbeque. If you don’t have your own transportation, you can arrange for a grand taxi from Sidi Ifni to drop you off at Legzira and pick you up at a specified time later in the day.
Written by Heather Carreiro.
Photo by Blake Seven.