Disclaimer: I feel like my words are not good enough and my pictures don’t make justice to this beautiful place at all; but I guess it’s like that for any travel post!
Calm, time & beauty.
That’s how I would describe Sidi Kaouki in three words; a small seaside village, 20km away from Essaouira, 15 minutes from the airport. I really think it’s hard to find a place like this anywhere else in the world. If you go on vacation to relax or if you have been traveling for a while, it’s really the place to unwind, to breathe.
It’s so calm.
There are only a few hotels, a few restaurants, no ATM or grocery shop; except the shop that sells some chocolate bars, bread and vegetables. There is basically just you, the sound of the waves, the wind, the sun and your thoughts. Oh and the donkeys screaming, sometimes.
There is time.
A lot of it, and it’s good like that. No hustle and bustle. You are far from everything, so you let the sun guide your day. The time Sidi Kaouki gives you is perfect to do some activities you enjoy; going for a walk or run on the beach, doing yoga to a colorful sunrise, drawing or writing.
The beauty of the place is inspiring.
It will make you want to do something creative in some way or just be in awe in front of it. Sidi Kaouki is such a small place that you are completely open to the elements. You see the raw beauty of nature. There is nothing better. The sand, the waves, the sunrises and sunsets (that will blow your mind by the way)… the rain, sometimes. It is nature at its finest and humans are made for nature, not the city, in my opinion. We then can’t help but feel revived, inspired, refreshed by it.
I arrived there in a weird moment of my life. I went with HelpX to work in a hotel for free food and accommodation and I was supposed to stay there a month, but really soon I understood I couldn’t leave just yet. It feels like every breath of the salty and humid air you take is the best breath ever, like every time you go in the sea you feel a bit lighter, that the wind clears your head of grey thoughts and the sunsets fill it up again with dreams in pastel colors. I left the place after 3 months; lighter, regrounded, refreshed and ready for new adventures!
What to do in Sidi Kaouki
Well… not much and too much at the same time! Taking long walks, riding a camel or horse on the beach, taking a bike ride to the waterfall, drinking good coffee in front of the beach at la Trattoria, reading, surfing, running, doing yoga, doing anything creative (trying to draw the sunsets, maybe?), enjoying the sun, watching the stars at night, building sand castles, spending quality time with your friends/family/loved one, enjoying life as it is, writing a book, practicing cartwheels… Anything really, cause like I said, in Sidi Kaouki you have TIME and you fill it with anything you want!
Also, there are a couple of good surf spots in Sidi Kaouki. First, there is the spot at the marabout –that’s where I tried to surf and it’s right next to the surf schools if you also want to learn. Otherwise, there is l’Oued (rivermount), la bouteille, la couronne and la grotte. Ask around to know where they are.
Where to eat
First, there are the kiosques, right in front of the parking lot. They are the cheapest option. At the hotel, we recommended chez Iziki and la Trattoria. But after a while, you will know the menu by heart and will want something new. Then my friend, try Al-Vent, a Spanish-owned restaurant. It’s still pretty cheap and it’s good Moroccan food. Ask them what are the fresh food they have; sometimes it’s fresh fish, but others it can be camel! Why not! Otherwise, the favorite of everyone who went there is La Pergola. It is a bit nicer and slightly more expensive, but still very affordable. It is French-moroccan cuisine and apparently it’s very good (I know… in 3 months I should have been). You can even enjoy your meal with a glass of wine.
Tip: if you want alcohol in Sidi Kaouki, the best way is to buy some in the cities before coming there. It could be hard to find/expensive/not what you would like.
Where to sleep
I recommend the Blue Kaouki Hotel as the best place to stay. That’s where I did my help exchange, so you’re going to tell me that I have a favor, but I swear it’s really amazing! The rooftop especially makes the magic of the place. You have the perfect view of the sunrise in the morning and the sunset at night. It’s also perfect to watch the stars at night under a blanket.
My friend Louis and his mom Veronique–who owns the hotel- are always there to help you and tell you crazy stories about their stay in Morocco. There are surf racks and a line to dry wetsuits. You can watch movies under the cinema tent that makes you feel like if you were in a fort you built as a kid. The breakfast is good and served by smily helpers -like I was . The rooms are nice, my favorite was the Suite Coquelicot. The employees and animals also make the charm! It’s really worth the 30-something euros you can pay for a room!
CAUTION: Sidi Kaouki is highly addictive. People tend to go back again and again.
CAUTION no2: Kaouki will change FOR SURE in the next few years. It’s so perfect that I’m sure business people will start to invest and build things… Go while it’s still pretty much intact!