A strategic port used by the Phoenicians, Portuguese, and Arabs and famous for its purple dye and Gnawa music (among other things), Essaouira is a delightful and picturesque world of stone mazes and salty sea breezes. However, outside the old fortified walls lie many a natural wonder, too.
Over the ramparts and through a hole in a wall can be found the dark and rocky tide pools that frame the ancient walled city. While not brimming with sea-life, the pools are easily accessible and provide an impressive view of the old city’s medieval fortifications and of the Iles Purpuraires and Mogador Island, as well. Make sure to check out the tide pools for bizzarre black sea cucumber-like animals with wings.
In addition, the area is full of local artists painting landscapes, vagabonds, fisherman, and stray animals. In accord with most Moroccan natural wonders, the presence of human life is easily discernible by the presence of several open sewage drains and heaps of sea-glass and old tile fragments. While not objectively beautiful these human additions all add to the unique atmosphere.
Know Before You Go
Accessible through the Place Moulay Hassan. Very chilly starting mid-afternoon. Renting ATVs, horses, or camels is highly recommended.