Surfing Taghazout – By Sam Warren

We first came across Sam Warren on Instagram when his amazing surf photography caught our eye. You will often see his work gracing the pages of our Instagram and our blog. Late last year Sam headed to Morocco for a surf trip and has been kind enough to let us know his top tips for the famous surfing destination of Taghazout. Hope you enjoy!
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We headed over to Taghazout in December 2016 and would highly recommend it! We stayed with Surf Berbere, a surf house/hostel in Taghazout who were incredible! They catered to everyone’s needs, all dietary requirements covered, incredible staff and instructors, super duper friendly!
Whilst there the hostel also arranged for us to go on a series of different trips as well as surfing. I’d totally recommend checking out the Souk (market) in Agadir, it’s quite an experience and you can pick up some great souvenirs! It is also apparently one of the more relaxed Souks in Morocco, so you can wander round at ease!
We also headed over to Paradise Valley. It is about a 45minute drive from the hostel and is a series of rock pools hidden in the desert. It’s beautiful and there’s some sweet cliff jumping spots!
It was however the surfing that we had made this trip for so the spots that I’d recommend are:
Banana Point – The break is by the next town over from Taghazout (Banana Village). It’s a lovely right hand point break which works both on small and large surf depending on tides. It can get busy when the swell is good, but I’ve had a great time there when the tide is high and swell is smaller which resulted in us having the break to ourselves.
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Devils Rock – can be dumpy as the swell picks up but can also produces some nice left and rights. I’ve typically surfed here when the swell was 2-3ft so not crazy sizes, but still fun on a foamy! Gets a bit shit at high tide from my experience so probs best for a low to mid tide surf. There’s loads of beach salesmen here too, so if you fancy a donut (I don’t recommend the chocolate ones) or camel ride, I’m sure you’d be able to haggle a good price! (Will also have these guys at K17)
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K17 – a sorta point break between Devils Rock and Taghazout. Righthanders peel off a mini reef in the middle of the beach marked out by a ‘Magic Buoy’. You can see the reef at low tide, so it’s easy to avoid surfing on it, but at high it’s submerged so it’s best to keep the left of the buoy when you face the horizon (to the right if you’re facing the shore). What we found was just sitting right next to the buoy was the perfect take off point for most days, there’s a slight cross-current which drags you away from the reef which you’ll have to paddle against to maintain position but I’ve caught a few good long rides at this break when it doesn’t close out. Similar to Devils rock, can get dumpy when the wind and swell is strong enough.
Hash Point – situated right opposite Surf Berbere (check my insta for a photo of the lines coming through), this break is probably the most beautiful place I’ve surfed/watched surfing. Surfing here at sunset is incredible for visuals, and the waves are generally very nice! Can be a battle getting out back with the strong currents, but if you’re feeling brave you can jump in off the rocky point, although you might get smashed if you time it wrong! Popular spot for locals, but it’s totally worth getting in there just to give it a go. From what I’ve seen, it’s best at mid to high tide, but it still has surf at low. I tended to see surf of around 4-6ft here but can get bigger on the sets! Just be careful not to surf too close to the point or you’ll get smashed into the rocks!
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Sewers – Just next door to Hash Point, very similar case to Hash Point all round from what I saw.
Anchor Point + Big Swell = Heaven (either you die and go to heaven, or you think you have as you’ve just caught the best wave of your life!) Never surfed here, I value my life too much!!
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Imsouane – 1 hour north of Taghazout (totally worth the drive!) – famously the longest righthander in Africa, this is a beautiful place to surf, a very interesting wave which wraps around the headland and sea defence to scoop around the bay. I went when it was fairly small, but it was perfect for beginners. Been told on larger days it’s an incredible ride! Not sure about tides here unfortunately.
Imsouane (Cathedral Point) – point break off a headland which is very popular! The entire beach has breaks so doesn’t have to be crowded but by the headland it’s very busy. When I went it was low tide and it was nice, 4-6ft, sometimes bigger!
The dunes just south of Imsouane are another great place to to visit, amazing scenery and a little bit of sandboarding! Take the fins off a foamy and take the short hike up the dunes to witness beautiful landscape as far as the eye can see! There’s multiple slopes you can ride down, but we found the higher up you went, the better/steeper the slopes became! Probably best to ask a local or a surf camp about this as it’s pretty remote location and easy to miss the entrance of the dirt road which leads to the dunes!
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We had an absolute blast during our time in Taghazout, eating well, surfing well and even seeing a few sights! Who can ask for more!
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You can follow Sam on Insatgram here.

Backpackers, Beaches and a Big Burning man: My Christmas in Kilifi By Calum Warriner

We all know that Kenya is famous for one of nature’s most incredible spectacles; the great wildebeest migration. Perhaps what is less well known around the globe is the mass migration down to the coast for the festive season. If people aren’t heading up country to see the family, then you can bet your bottom shilling they’re making this annual journey to kick back on little piece of white beach and soak up the sun. A trip I was privileged enough to round off 2015 with and one that will leave anyone from the northern hemisphere swapping they’re stocking for a snorkel, and they’re hot coco for an ice cold tusker! Here are just a few of my thoughts, experiences, tid bits and tips. Those I can remember anyway 😉

The majority of my stay on the coast was spent in the lovely little town of Kilifi, about 56Km northeast of Kenya’s second largest city, Mombasa. If you are coming from Nairobi, most bus companies will run all the way to Kilifi town, although if you find yourself stuck in Mombasa for whatever reason, local minibuses (matatus) run all day and should only be a few hundred shillings. A little heads up, Kenya’s matatus can be overcrowded and a bit on the rough side let’s say, but if you don’t mind getting cosy with a local and are on a tight budget then it’s the only way to get around. In my experience, cheap is cheerful, and its always best to keep an open mind, you never know what might happen on one those things.

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At the epicentre of Kilifi’s travel and social scene is the one and only Distant Relatives Ecolodge. Only a couple of kilometres from the main town, tucked away in Giriama village on the doorstep on the creek, this magnificent place is a haven for weary travellers, families, couples, and lone wolfs alike. Good company, relaxation, warm hospitality and an environmentally sound ethos. You’ll find it all there, in an intimate and idyllic setting. I would recommend this place to anyone going to the continent of Africa, let alone the Kenyan coast! I was also blessed enough to be a part of their truly epic New Year’s Eve celebrations, which took part over 2 days in the hostel and down on the beach. We were graced by the musical stylings of internationally renowned DJ’s such as Wanklemut, Monolink and Toby2shoes. To top it all off and give 2015 the send-off it deserved, a huge burning man was lit up in the creek, giving the hundreds of us party animals a spectacle we’d never forget…

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Kilifi is also home to one of the most stunning and untouched stretches of beach on the coastline: Bofa Beach. A Vast expanse of warm white sand lined with towering palm trees and calm blue waters, this place is straight out of a postcard. It goes without saying but remember all your beach essentials and if you fancy a snooze in the shade, always put your blanket down or you could end up with a ghost crab hanging off your nipple. Trust me on that one. Although there’s not a lot of surf there, it’s got the perfect conditions for wind and kite surfing. With little tourist influence, the town itself is your typical Kenyan coastal settlement. You’ll find all the basic amenities, supermarket, banks, a liquor store and bus companies etc. but precious little else. So if your craving a bit more variety, it’d be worth heading up the coast about 40Km to Watamu to check out the marine reserve and indulge in some authentic gelato.

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I could spend all day reminiscing about the unparalleled beauty of Kilifi and the inspiring people I met along the way, but I’ll keep this piece like my holiday; short and sweet. I implore all of you, if you ever get the chance, to experience this lifestyle for yourselves. I can’t promise it will be easy to leave, but I can promise it will give you a whole new perspective on Kenya and change your life for the better 🙂

Kilifi creek at sundown

 

 

The Musafir is a great little project ran by some of the most talented, dedicated and kind hearted people it’s ever been my pleasure to meet. The best way to describe it would be a floating community project/hostel. Some of the most interesting conversations and memorable evenings I had were spent with the crew on deck of the big dhow boat, watching sundown in the creek and jamming out. Check out their website and Facebook to find out more about the work they’re doing and if you can, get involved! Asante sana.

Until next time,

Calum.

Special thanks to Romy Latter for her impeccable photography skills 🙂