200km north of Essaouira, between El Jadida and Safi, is the peaceful town of Oualidia. Overlooking a coastal lagoon frequented by migratory birds, beyond which is the vast expanse of the Atlantic ocean, its setting couldn’t be more idyllic.
Golden sandy beaches surround the horseshoe-shaped lagoon where colourful fishing boats bob on the still waters. The lagoon is protected from the ocean making it ideal for canoeing, kayaking and swimming. Those after a little more adventure can surf the waves of the Atlantic.
As you might expect from a town on the coast, the seafood here is excellent. Feast on calamari, lobster, shrimp and oysters, considered the best in Morocco. Few things beat a trip out to an oyster farm followed by a tasting with a crisp glass of white wine.
A ruined kasbah built in 1634 for the Sultan El Oualid offers panoramic views of the lagoon, cliffs and beaches and can be reached on foot or by bike. Venture a little further out of town and explore the castle at El Jadida, an early example of Renaissance military design.
While there is plenty to do in Oualidia, part of the joy of a stay here is taking the time to simply relax and dial back the pace for a few days.
What to do
- Canoe, kayak or swim in the calm lagoon
- Surf the waves of the Atlantic
- Visit an oyster farm
- Explore the ruined kasbah built for Sultan El Oualid