Most people Morocco travel to experience the richness of the culture, cuisine and natural landscape. But when thinking of surfing, Morocco almost never comes to mind. People’s jaws drop when they learn that Morocco’s southern coasts are some of the best surfing spots in the world.
Located on the southern Atlantic coast, Mirleft is a Berber town perched between sea and desert. It is known for its beautiful beaches, unusual rock formations and comfortable weather throughout the year. It is rare when you cannot go for a swim in Mirleft, even in winter. Mirleft, once the secret hideaway of Jimi Hendrix and the Rolling Stones, is now attracting tourists from all over the world, particularly Europe.
If you are in Agadir, Marrakech or Essaouira, you can easily access the village of Mirleft in a couple of hours and spend a day in one a Moroccan destination few people know about. Whether you are interested in surfing, fishing, trekking or just relaxing, Mirleft’s natural beauty and laid-back atmosphere captivate visitors.
Mirleft has several surfing beaches including Marabout, Coquillage and Plage sauvage. For decades, fishing in these waters constituted the main source of living for people in Mirleft. However, once running water and electricity were introduced and a paved highway provided direct access to the village, more and more visitors discovered what charmed the ’60s trendsetters. Today, a Moroccan surf scene has blossomed, with more Moroccans taking up the popular water sport and more international surfers spreading the word about the Berber village’s right breaks. If you are a beginner surfer, you can learn to catch the waves at a very affordable price. A number of European and local surf schools and associations have sprung up along the coastline to accommodate the growing legions of local and visiting surfers.
Overlooking Mirleft is the old Spanish fort. The site is a must-see, offering a spectacular view of the sea. Built in 1935, this site bears witness to the days when Morocco was colonized by the Spanish. You can see the Spanish influence in most hilly streets and Moorish buildings in the charming town. It is no wonder that Spain hung onto Mirleft for 12 years after Morocco gained independence in 1957.
Besides surfing and sightseeing, activities in Mirleft include paragliding, horse riding, fishing and trekking. Mirleft is a place where you will feel welcome. Your morning or afternoon coffee or tea will most probably be a social event. You will be greeted with ‘salam’ or ‘bonjour’ wherever you go and people will go out of their way to help. By accepting their hospitality, you’ll learn a lot about Moroccan culture.
While places like Essaouira and Chefchaouen have established an international reputation, it may be hard to believe that Mirleft, an equally beautiful town, has remained relatively unknown for so long. However, it is its raw natural beauty and quiet and laidback aura that makes Mirleft different than many other crowded destinations. One itinerary available that takes you to Mirleft and beyond is our Wild Sahara and Southern Sun itineraries.
Written by Ghizlane Gray.
Photo by si david.