Flavoured with a squeeze of lime and a touch of vinegar, shell suitably gnarly and its contents glistening under the early winter season solar, the oyster I’m about to shuck on a in the vicinity of-empty Moroccan beach is about as straight-from-the-sea as it gets.
Barely out of sight a number of hundred metres absent, shells cling to sticks poking out of the floor of the lagoon, where by they’ll remain for two several years before the plumpest molluscs are purified in a compact farm setting up on the beach reverse.
While travellers will be effectively knowledgeable of the North African country’s sticky lemony chicken tagines or ras el hanout spiced lamb, oysters not so a great deal.
However Oualidia – nestled on the Atlantic coastline involving Casablanca and El Jadida, a 200km travel from the purple-walled funds – is known as the ‘oyster funds of Morocco’, and 1 of only two locations farming them in the nation.
The beach – our lunch location under a cover – curves into the distance, meeting a natural break building the safeguarded and picturesque Oualidia bay, fringed with generous golden sands and a raised sandbar in the centre, where by light waves roll and sizeable Atlantic waves break versus the rocky ridge.
I sense like I’m now privy to a effectively-retained secret of Morocco’s coastline it’s tranquil, unspoiled and feels incredibly undiscovered by European visitors – unlike the hippy city of Essaouira and sprawling seaside resort of Agadir. As soon as a regular fishing village, Oualidia is becoming more and more upmarket, thanks to effectively-to-do men and women from Marrakech and Casablanca escaping to their blue-shuttered white-washed vacation households on the weekends. But you continue to won’t locate beachside bars with plastic chairs or rows of compensated-for deck chairs on the sand. At least, not nonetheless.
It is out of period in November, but even the winter season temperatures are warm plenty of, notably for a far more active break canoeing, browsing or fats-tire biking together the shore.
Is it ordinarily so tranquil in Oualidia? “At this time of year, certainly. In summer it’s also busy,” says Youness, a waiter, who functions at the lodge. “This is the best time of year in this article, and March and April.” The shoulder seasons merge the best of what this distinctive corner of Morocco has to offer: the promise of good climate with out sweltering warmth, no crowds and a vastly distinct lifestyle – fewer than 3 and a half several hours from the United kingdom.
Across the h2o, gold-painted crumbling ruins continue being of Morocco’s royal family’s kasbar from the Fifties – when King Mohammed V declared this the initial royal beach. Five-star La Sultana has royal connections also (the king’s mom has stayed in this article 3 situations) but its glamour isn’t ostentatious. Tucked subtly into the curve of the lagoon, a pier lined with twinkling lights reaches out into the h2o.
As the tide retreats mid-morning, fishermen scatter to handpick spider crabs and razor clams, as effectively as the vivid green wild samphire, all staples on the lodge cafe menu – as a great deal as possible is sourced on their doorstep.
It wouldn’t be real luxurious with out an infinity pool, which falls absent into the see of the lagoon. There’s also a regular hammam spa – an encounter not for the shy.
Just about every of the grand-over and above-perception rooms has its possess big non-public terrace comprehensive with an outside daybed and incredibly hot tub to sink into as the solar sets, palm trees framing sweet colors distribute across the sky. With only 12 rooms, there is a legitimate emotion you are getting appeared following each guest is even handed a Moroccan smartphone with manager Nabil on velocity dial for any help.
There’s a thing about Nabil’s love and enthusiasm for this location, and its locally sourced foodstuff, that is definitely pure. It operates in his blood his grandmother farmed the lands just the other facet of the property and agriculture is continue to most people’s livelihood in this article. This facet of Oualidia is best experienced as section of a guided bird safari by specialist meandering up the 12km estuary.
The safeguarded lagoon has a prosperous ecosystem, with 400 species of bird coming to feed in autumn and spring. Further more together, flamingos harmony in salt marshes mid-migration from Spain to sub-Saharan Africa.
Morocco is most likely far more well-known for its surf than storks however Safi, an hour from in this article, is deemed to have some of the best waves in Africa, but the light undulating waves within Oualidia bay are secure plenty of for novices.
It is my initial time and Medhi, a laidback teacher greets me with a fist bump and declares, “It’s quick!”
Even getting splashed continuously in the confront with salty h2o just can’t dampen the life-affirming exhilaration of driving (even the smallest of) waves in this unassuming little pocket of the entire world.
Costs at La Sultana Oualidia commence from £354 for each night time. Costs at La Sultana Marrakech commence from £289 for each night time for a Prestige Place (lasultanahotels.com).
A lesson at Surfland costs from 250MAD (£21)pp.
EasyJet (easyjet.com) flies to Marrakech from London Gatwick, Manchester and Belfast with return costs starting up from £68.48pp.