Hitchhiking from Essaouira to El Ouatia : The idea
After a first trip to three lakes near Imouzzer Kandar (Dayet Aoua, Iffer and Ifrah) with my dear friend Yassine, I took a liking to hitchhiking; sleeping under the stars, listening to good music in front of a campfire, and especially that feeling of freedom. Everything immediately charmed me!
That was how we decided to go on another trip, a long one. The destination: unknown, we only agreed to begin from Essaouira and go south, following the coast, because the best things are always unplanned. I packed my things: a tent, a sleeping bag, a digital camera, few clothes, a teapot, a stove, and two books : ‘La civilisation, ma mère !…’ by Driss Chraibi and ‘Animal farm’ by George Orwell.
The trip from Fez to Essaouira by bus lasted approximately 10 hours and was really exhausting. We arrived as the sun was rising.
Essaouira : City of art
The city of Essaouira has a soul. A soul that blows hard enough to attract windsurfers from all over the world; as other cities’ wind moves normal hair, Essaouira’s soul is strong enough to move the dreadlocks of its inhabitants.
We visited the city, home of several painters and sculptors, and had the chance to enjoy the work of many of them, exhibited in several stores and galleries, scattered throughout the medina.
We didn’t stay long in the city of music and art since the primary goal of our journey was to fuse with nature and return to the wild.
We took the bus to a beach 12 kilometers far from Essaouira Sidi Kaouki, a very beautiful place where we spent two amazing nights. As soon as we arrived, I got into the agitated water to cool down a little bit. We chose our spot afterward, raised the tent and fetched firewood. We gazed at the magnificent sunset. We listened to music and fell in love with the sea and the surrounding rocks.
Imessouane : The new friends
We left Sidi Kaouki early in the morning, walked some kilometers while hitchhiking, we finally found an old man who accepted to get us to the main road. We waited a few hours again before meeting a nice guy, traveling with his girlfriend, who accepted to take us to our next destination, Imessouane, a small village loved by surfers and hippies. It never stopped welcoming travelers from all over the world in search of a change of scenery. The atmosphere of the village is conducive to disconnection, walks and surfing in a beautiful natural setting, far from the effervescence of big cities.
We cooked our lunch ; some fish offered by the fishermen at the port.
In the evening, we met other travelers from different cities: Casablanca, Marrakech, Beni Mellal and Agadir. We spent the night together, telling stories, laughing and eating prickly pears.
We enjoyed the second day with our new friends. I did some reading in the afternoon and wrote a few lines. Then we decided to leave without having really decided upon our next destination. We walked around 20 kilometers before reaching the main road. We couldn’t find a pickup, and it was almost night, so we just slept, at the side of the road; it was the worst night of the trip so far.
Paradise valley : The unexpected meeting
After a storm comes a calm. A truck picked us up in the morning, it took us to Aourir, a village 30 kilometers ahead of Agadir. The well-known destination there was Paradise Valley, which is a section of the Tamraght River valley.
While waiting for a pickup, we met two fellow travelers, one of them was a friend of mine. Since they were headed to the same place, we agreed to camp together.
Paradise Valley, names like this one would diminish lesser locations and their beauty quaking under the weight of heightened expectation, but not in this case.
The valley was amazing, even if it was a bit crowded during the day, and a bit too hot at night. We enjoyed the company of our friends and all the trippers who were there.
During our last night in paradise, we gathered all the travelers around a big campfire, and we spent hours singing and laughing.
We headed towards Agadir afterwards with the idea of going further south. It was while hitchhiking at the entrance of the city that we met a woman who changed the course of our trip.
The road to El Ouatia
She was a Belgian woman, with a Pathfinder. She had in the back of her car, a bed, a kitesurfing board, and a balafo –a musical instrument which looks like a xylophone-. She was traveling all the way to Dakhla, enjoying life to the fullest. Her name was Anna.
With Anna, we visited Mirleft, a small picturesque seaside city. Because it was too late, we ate dinner at a restaurant in the main street, which includes arcades under which are distributed also hotels and grocery stores.
We found a high cliff, plunging into the ocean. We gazed at the waves, listened to the song of the sea and finally raised our tent and slept next to Anna’s car.
In the next day, Anna took us to ‘Le Nid d’Aigle’, an amazing inn where skydivers gather from all over the world. It had a great view. We visited Lagzira, a beach famous for its arch, which fell down a few weeks after our visit. We headed towards Sidi Ifni where we spent the night. The beach there was very calm and beautiful, we prepared dinner and did some talking before going to sleep.
Our next destination was El Ouatia, also known as Tan-Tan beach, a shadeless and often windswept beach that is increasingly popular with surfers. We spent the day and night there, with Anna’s friends.
The following day was when we took the road back to our homes. It was the end of our journey, an amazing and life-changing journey, which will always remain etched in our memories.