Since Meknes and Fez are too far from Essaouira, we decide to do a 3 days mini roadtrip near us, to Agadir. As usual, we call the car rental company recommended by our landlord. I will leave you his contact information at the bottom of the article.
Part 1: Travel Diary
Day 1: Imouzzer Waterfall
Let’s go for an extended weekend between Essaouira and Agadir.
Today, our car rental company is dropping off a Dacia Duster in front of our house at “9am inch’alla” (i.e. it only arrives at 10am in reality…). We have the same model of car that we will be in Iceland. It is super handy, comfortable, with a huge trunk, and quite capable of handling gravel roads.
We fill up the car, wrongly, because it seems to consume very little gas and we end up returning the car with the tank half full (when we can make it empty). That’s about 200 dh of tip at the rental agency…
First stop for a mint tea in Imsouane, the perfect spot for surfers. By the way, everyone has a board here and everyone is dressed hippie style.
We continue the road by taking the small paths to the Moulay Abdellah dam. It is the favorite spot of the fishermen. One can also observe there many species of birds.
After many bends, we arrive at the charming village ofImouzzer Ida or Tanane.
The road that leads to it is called “the honey road”. Several producers set up a small stand in the middle of the argan trees to sell us all types of honey and argan oil.
Right now, almond trees are in bloom, it reminds us too much of cherry trees in Japan!
We meet a breeder whose goats go up in the argan trees to eat the leaves 🙂 typically Moroccan!
Today, there are very few tourists, especially since the famous waterfall of the village (one of the most beautiful in North Africa) is dry (it has not rained for 2 months). The groups come only on Thursdays because it is the day of the souk.
We feel that it is difficult for the shopkeepers, they are particularly insistent that we buy them a souvenir. Except that we don’t need it 😞
We are accompanied in spite of ourselves by a local (a false guide) who takes us to see the olive trees, the three levels of the waterfall..
In order not to disappoint the tourists, the locals have set up a small pipe system to carry the river water to a 45m deep natural swimming pool during the dry season.
We are admiring the blue of the natural swimming pool when a man runs towards us and is about to plunge his head in the icy water from the natural platform a few meters higher, just to beg us a few dirhams to congratulate him for his performance. Fortunately, we guessed his intention in time. All this leaves us speechless 😐
We have lunch in a restaurant(Café de la Palmeraie) with a beautiful view on the mountain. The sheep tagine is to fall. And all the cats hanging around us seem to share the same opinion because we are entitled to a concert of purring, inviting us to share the tagine with them.
We end the day in the Valley of Paradise, where we sleep in a lodge in the middle of the mountains. I chose the gîte a little too quickly because I discover on arrival that the bathroom is common, but it’s okay, it’s very quiet, and the bed is comfortable. We have dinner at the gîte and then sleep.
Gîte Village Paradise Valley link Booking: 19€ for two, shared bathroom, no breakfast
Day 2: Paradise Valley & Meeting with a beekeeper. Night in Agadir
We had a very nice meeting today.
First of all, we went to visit the Valley of Paradise. The fake guides here aren’t as good as in Imouzzer. At least, they ask us if we need a guide and don’t apply the “foot in the door” technique. The presence of a guide isn’t essential even if there are no arrows (just open Maps.me) but if you want to contribute to the local economy, why not. The parking isn’t free (10dh).
What started out as a simple 45-minute hike has turned into a 1.5-hour walk, so beautiful! We saw a lot of Moroccans coming with their huge tagine dish to have a picnic at the edge of the natural swimming pools. Some have been camping here for days. It’s a pity that the water is so cold because the natural swimming pools are all deep and the water is so pure! We even saw people filling their water bottles directly and drinking directly. There must be a spring in one of these pools.
Then, on the way to Agadir we stopped by chance at the Café du miel held by Ali, a beekeeper passionate about his profession and respectful of nature.
Meeting him did us a lot of good because we say to ourselves that fortunately good people like him still exist.
He tells us that he has 1600 (traditional) hives, which he knows by heart, his hives are like his children. He knows exactly what type of honey is present in a particular hive. He made us taste the 6 types of honey he has, including thyme and cactus honey. Needless to say that all his honeys are organic and it’s really cheap (compared to the prices in the souk). Thyme honey is now used in French hospitals (cheaper than manuka honey) and the organic version can be used as a skin mask (anti spot, psoriasis…)
The argan oil comes from the cooperative where his wife works. And the eggs of his tagine with eggs (a massacre!) come from the neighbor’s house. Even the bread is made on the spot. We enjoyed ourselves!
I leave his contact information here. If you can, please help him to get more customers by leaving him 5 stars on google maps. Or go see him (it’s a 30 minutes drive from Agadir). His café/restaurant has a beautiful view!
Café Du Miel15
Alma، Agadir 80000, Morocco +212 670-148350https://goo.gl/maps/3TWefZHPXXs
Then we went to Agadir (where we will spend the night). This city full of all inclusive hotels overlooking the beach is a little more stressful than Essaouira but still more pleasant than Marrakech. The ledge is nice, we can walk for long moments.
At our hotel(Atlantic Hotel)(link Booking), wifi is strangely good for Morocco (25mbps going down, 5mbps going up). There is a small swimming pool and the massage is very good.
Day 3: Tifnit Beach & Taghazout. Return to Essaouira
The day begins with a well-deserved morning nap. We aren’t at all motivated to go to the souk of Agadir (we should have, because it is very very big and covered, an equivalent of the bazaar in Istanbul). Driving in the city is stressful, we almost had several accidents.
We take the car to Tifnit Beach and have to cross the Souss Massa National Park. As we are in Africa, the national park isn’t green and full of trees, but rather shrubs. We even cross about thirty dromedaries.
We have lunch on the beach of Tifnit. This fishing village has even more wind than in Essaouira. We are served the fish caught the same day: sardines and a sea bream at Maxim’s Restaurant.
We take the road again to Taghazout, where hippies and digital nomads have taken up residence. We even visit a coworking space (Sundesk Coworking) offering dormitories or private rooms from 19€/day/person + activities (yoga/surf). It is true that the idea of working with an ocean view and surfing between noon and two must be particularly appealing.
We tested their Internet connection, it seems to us very correct for Morocco (8mbps going down, 1.5mbps going up to the ground floor, it is surely faster in the offices because they say they have the best connection in the city) but the workspace seems a little small. It’s Sunday and it looks already quite tight so I don’t know what it looks like during the week. In any case, the chairs look comfortable, and the terraces too.
We have a snack at Dar Josephine’s. Their caramel cream is so delicious that I take two. And when I congratulate the owner (a former restaurateur from Lyon) for her caramel cream, she is so nice that she offers me the 3rd 😀
The road back to Essaouira was very hard with unsafe drivers (passing without any visibility) and zigzags along the cliff. But JB was a very good driver, which reassures us for our next roadtrip in Iceland.
Part 2: Practical Tips
2850 dirhams for two people, double room, all included
=> about 280€ for 3days, 2 nights
- Transportation :
- 4×4 rental : 400dh/day
- Petrol: 200dh is enough for the whole roadtrip
- Lodging :
- Visits :
- 50dh for the fake guide in Imouzzer, but I think that 20dh would have been enough
- 5 to 10dh each time for the parking lot
- Meals :
- Lunch at Imouzzer “Café de la Palmeraie”: 140dh for two drinks included (menu starter flat dessert)
- Dinner at the lodging: 165dh for two, tajines, drinks and desserts included
- Lunch at the “Café du miel”: 70dh for two drinks included
- Dinner in Agadir: we just ate the amlou bought from the beekeeper with some bread (1dh Moroccan bread)
- Lunch at Maxim’s: 130dh for two drinks included
- Snack at Dar Joséphine’s: 90dh for two
- Prices of honey and argan oil at “Café du miel”
- 1 liter of argan oil: 400dh for cosmetic oil, 250 for edible oil
- 1 kg of thyme honey: 280dh
- 1 kg of cactus honey: 300dh
- 1 kg of argan flower honey: 260dh
- 1 big pot of amlou: 100dh
We did not book any hotel, there are enough hotels in the area to show up at the last minute.
Be careful driving, when it is hot, it is twice as tiring and drivers are reckless, right of way isn’t respected at all. The logic of priority in roundabouts remains a mystery. You have to be vigilant every second.
No need to rent an SUV or 4×4, but there is about 2km where the road is under construction between Agadir and the Valley of Paradise. Be careful. If it rains, it is better to rent an SUV indeed.
Contact Khalid who rented us the 4×4 from Essaouira (400dh/day). He is a friend of our landlord (nicknamed “the painter”). You can call him the same day but the ideal would be to contact him the day before to reserve a normal car, or a 4×4. He speaks French.
No need to leave him the passport (he will only take the number). His number: +212 662 021547