Further up the coast the ancient fishing port town of Essaouira with its ramparts, long idyllic beach and sea front, provides opportunities for wind surfing and other water sports . It has a reputation for being windy but temperatures are much lower than inland which means that you can enjoy the fun of Essaouira’s colorful relaxed souks and walk the ramparts with their 17th century cannons or simply enjoy the thriving cafe life and many good restaurants. You can take a private tour to Essaouira with a Morocco travel agency which is the easiest option. Other less convenient options of travel to Essaouira is the CTM and Supratour buses offer regular daily luxury airconditioned bus trips from Marrakech to Essaouira return, which take three hours with a stop on the way at a roadside café. This for budget travelers and the way to travel if you do not have other transport arranged or the budget for a private Essaouira Tour.
Two more relaxed alternatives to Essaouira are Sidi Kaouki some 20 kms drive from Essaouira and the alluring lagoon and beaches at Oualidia which is between Safi and El Jadida. Both locations are quiet and uncommercialised. Sidi Kaouki is a delightful small town with a few small hotels and an unspoilt beach which is also ideal for surfing and relaxing. The Hotel Villa Soleil, is a white villa with a garden and restaurant close to the beach. Other hotels along the beach are Hotel windy Kaouki, a traditional Moroccan residence and Hotel Blue Kaouki.
Oualidia is becoming more popular with tourists. The lagoon and extensive beaches were a well kept secret and a favorite of Moroccans as a seaside venue and a place to unwind, the beaches extend for miles. It is a beautiful natural beach and fishing location where surfing and swimming in the shallow waters of the lagoon can be enjoyed by all the family. It is ideal for swimming, surfing, wind-surfing or water-skiing. You can also hire a kayak and explore the lagoon or go fishing. There is a French run surfing school for children and beginners.
Oulalidia is a very important ecological location. Among the marshes and wetlands there are curlews, flamingos, sandpipers, plovers, and many other migrating species making it a paradise for bird watchers.
It is the main place in Morocco for oysters and you can enjoy them and the best seafood in the restaurants and small hotels along the beach. The most luxurious hotel is the luxury boutique hotel La Sultana Oualidia situated on the edge of the lagoon. It has an infinity pool ringed with jacuzzis, whose waters seem to merge with those of the lagoon, and an exotic, terraced garden as well as a five star health spa and an underwater restaurant.
Alternatively you can drive to the Atlas Mountains to places such as the trekking town of Imlil and the Shangri la setting of the Kasbah Toubkal surrounded by mountains with outstanding views from its terrace. You can experience the life of the Berber people and the cool clear air of the mountains. Even a trip to the Ourika Valley with its bubbling streams or further up to the seven waterfalls of Sebti Fatima which leads on to trekking in the mountains. The ski station of Oumkaimeden offers views over the Vale of Marrakech.
Other mountain locations include Midelt, Ifrane and Azrou which are high up winter stations and offer a cooler temperate climate with forests and national parks to explore.
Even when you are in Marrakech, you can find a shady spot in the eco paradise of the Majorelle Gardens owned by Yves Saint Laurent or the green palm tree lined Moulay Abdesalam Park off Avenue Mohammed VI or the delightful Harti Park near the Place 16 Novembre and Macdonalds which has a children’s playing ground with two large stone dinasours.
You can take the family for the day to the Oasiria Water Park just outside Marrakech,or the Beldi Country Club 6 km outside with its adult and two children’s swimming pools, Spa and three restaurants, set in fine gardens with roses,olive trees and flowering plants. This is also an hotel and the club serves non guests. For the seriously trendy there is Nikki Beach in the Palmeraie which has a DJ with groovy music as well as an excellent restaurant and swimming pool. Many hotels and some restaurants in Marrakech now welcome guests and nonresidents for lunch and a dip in their pool.