AMOUAGE SURF & YOGA RETREAT // MOROCCO
Wow...well, what can I say. If telling you that this place kickstarted my calling to run retreats of my own doesn't speak for itself, then I'm not sure what will.
Absolute 10/10 of a place and genuinely don't know what I'd be doing right now if I hadn't have come across it :)
I never even knew there was a surf scene in Morocco, but when I was researching the warmest surf spots in April, close enough to the UK, I soon realised it sure did. Through doing some online research, I stumbled across a town called Taghazout which was just a little fishing town further down the coast from Agadir.
I soon found that it was quite popular to stay here on 'surf packages' where you get your accommodation and surf lessons included together, while mixing with other likeminded travellers and being shown the best spots for surf by the locals.
Good waves and good vibes was just what we were looking for, as this was the last part to our incredible (but exhausting!) holiday throughout Morocco. (Marrakech madness and a 3 Sahara Desert had us TIRED.)
I think I'd been on their website for about 45 seconds before I was completely sold!
It's a brand new hotel situated right at the end of the cliffside in the town. It's an expansion of their original surf school which is just a few doors down but this one's kinda like the elite of the elite. The description on their website says "where surf and yoga meet boutique hotel" and it's spot on.
Let's just say having stayed here once, I don't think I could physically allow myself stay anywhere else if I visited again! (I was in love!!)
We booked an ocean facing room but there are slightly cheaper rooms at the back with equally beautiful views of the mountains, it kinda really depends what you're into!
Half of the hotel has regular ocean view rooms with big windows looking straight out to the sea, and the other half has balcony's included.
To our delight, we actually had to spend our first night in a balcony ocean view room as our regular room wasn't free until the next day - this couldn't have been a better surprise. As if walking into these rooms wasn't phenomenal enough! We simply threw our things down, grabbed a drink from the bar and relaxed out on our balcony watching the sunset over the ocean, beats played below us and the atmosphere in the resort slowly built up into the evening.
It really was perfection.
The rest of the week was filled with sunrise yoga classes on the rooftop overlooking the ocean, followed by nourishing breakfasts in the crisp morning air (a fab array of fruits, cereals, yoghurt, nut butters, pancakes, eggs, tagine and coffee, tea and juice was available throughout). Then, once we'd created our own salads and sandwiches from the lunch bar, we grabbed our boards, hopped in the vans and set off to our surf spots with the instructors. (These guys know the best spots depending on your level of experience and coaching classes can be arranged.)
As we hit the road, the ocean glistened on our left the entire route, we mingled amongst the music in the van and finally arrived to a bustling spot.
The others had been surfing together for a few days already so while they jumped straight in to get salty, I spent some time on the beach with my instructor, Bahsine, to practice standing before I hit the waves.
Once we were in, Bahsine was so helpful in pushing us all along, giving us the encouragement we needed and I was catching waves in no time.
A couple of hours down and we decided to break, propping ourselves up on the shore next to the BBQ's with Moroccan mint tea and fresh fish. Basking in the sun watching others surf with a cool drink was just bliss. But oh how this was all about to change...
We decided to make another stop en route back and let's just say this surf didn't go so smoothly for me.
Two words: Weever fish.
Pain level? 11/10
Never, ever, had I ever experienced pain like this before in my life. (And I have a pretty damn high pain threshold as it is!) I'd obviously walked on it as I was making my way into the sea and what started out as a mere scratch like pain, very, VERY quickly turned into what felt like poison throbbing through my entire body. I'd caught a wave back to shore and was soon enough sat on the rocks, breathing like I was giving birth! I'd no idea what had happened until Bahsine returned and the locals came at me with a bucket of hot water, telling me it would have been one of these Weever fish.
As soon as I put it in, the pain started to subside, but boy I had a limp for a good 3 days still! Luckily for me, one of the guys who surfed with me that day was leaving the next morning and so kindly gave me his surf booties. Time to get back, shower and drink something strong!
This day we didn't manage to catch the sunset yoga class (but I think you probably get the jist that I wasn't down for it that night!) there were after surf massages available in the spa to wind down and a bit of free time before dinner. Big long tables were dressed with plates ready for those who had booked in, and as we took our seats chatting amongst the evening music, the chefs kindly came and dropped down the dishes.
The food was just magical, as was the atmosphere and it was at this incredible moment that I realised this is exactly how I want to make others feel.
The rest of the town was just as lovely to explore, with cute little cafes, beachfront bars and awesome souk like market shops.
(Also, if you're a cat lover YOU WILL LOVE THIS PLACE!!)
Another thing I truly loved about venturing around Taghazout was observing the local's lifestyles.
Day in, day out, the men of the village would simply sit out on the streets together and 'be'...and I loved it.
Watching the others bring back the fish for the day or gathering for gossip outside the shops, I just loved how simply these people lived and how that in itself brings such a wonderfully slow pace to life.
It's safe to say that this peaceful way of living was a complete contrast to the mayhem we'd experienced in Marrakech, and after such a crazy long trip through to the Sahara desert, walking in on this slow paced fishing town and being welcomed with open arms into the Amouage hotel was like walking into heaven!
The whole place was so difficult to leave, and we knew we'd be getting the blues as our trip home drew closer, so we decided to make our last day a special one and took an excursion to this famous 'Paradise Valley' we'd heard so much about. We booked a taxi to take us through to this mysterious place and the guy kindly said he'd drive us, take us for lunch and wait for our return as well.
As we followed through the hills, the beauty of this place was unravelling by the second, up and over rocky edges and through the forest we walked, the sun was blazing through the trees and it became apparent that this was a sort of secret village. Everything was naturally built and we passed the sweetest little food stops next to the stream.
Ravenous, we sat down for a meal before we searched for the pools and a local guy cooked us up an awesome tagine. A super friendly guy who even hand juiced us oranges on our return!
Fed and watered, we made our way to the pools and seriously, the place was just stunning.
Aqua waters started to glisten and we soon heard the buzz of people on the horizon.
There were loads of people enjoying this glorious day together but we hiked just that little bit further (as we'd been advised to by the staff at Amouage!) and finally found our own little spot of paradise.
We had two pools to ourselves, away from the bustle and oh how it was such a perfect way to end such an incredible holiday!
I don't think I really need to say much more, it's pretty obvious how much I love this place and recommend anyone goes if they're in need of a little time out!
Thank you Surf Maroc , I shall certainly be seeing you again soon!
Oh and p.s. ....if eating breakfast on the beach while camels casually stroll by wasn't on your bucket list already, it definitely should be.