Essaouira, Morocco


Exploring Essaouira's medina is best done by foot. Rasheeda, a local guide, met us this morning for a walk around the area. We went first to the Skala de la Kasbah where a climb up the top platform gave us a great view out to sea and the waves crashing below. There are brass canons lined up here, a reminder of the time when Essaouira, then called Mogador, was a Portuguese commercial and military base.


Place Moulay Hassan is the medina's Ground Zero, a square hemmed in by shops and cafes. This is the venue of the Gnaoua & World Music Festival held every year in June. 'Hippies' and hashish mix freely with the music which harks back to the time when Jimi Hendrix and Bob Marley used to hang out in Essaouira. Visitors these days take in the wide open space as an antidote to the maze of tight alleys in the medina.


Close to the square is the picture-perfect fishing port, a beehive of activity where the day's catch is hauled, where fishermen tend to their nets and where traditional wooden boats are repaired. Even the seagulls hover noisily above as local men scale and gut the fish. The scene is certainly not just eyecatching but very aromatic as well. There are outdoor seafood grills between the port and the square and what better way to enjoy the bounties of the sea than having it grilled fresh? The set menu of grilled sardines, shrimps, sole, etc. is only 60 dirhams per person.

We visited the various souks - there's the Spice, the Jewellery, the Fish and it's always busy with both locals and tourists. Rasheeda winds up our tour with a visit to the silver shop where teenagers learn the rudiments of jewellery making. The craftsmanship is good and the prices are even better - I ended up buying the Hand of Fatima pendant for $10.

After all that walking, Mel and I indulged ourselves to Berber massage. For 2 hours I was in relaxation heaven as my weary muscles were kneaded with Argan oil. The previous days in this trip have been backbreaking as we took long road trips and a nice rubdown is just what we needed. To cap our long day, I joined some members of our group for hookah or sheesha at our riad.


  1. Anonymous6:26:00 PM

    really cool!!!!

  2. Anonymous6:53:00 PM

    Morocco looks interesting. Thanks for sharing!


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