I've always wanted to visit the Moroccan coast and when I read about a relatively new Surf and Yoga camp in Morocco, I was instantly hooked. Zen Surf Morocco is a small surf camp set in the South of Morocco near Agadir in the Taghazout area. The camp's tagline is 'awaken your senses' and focuses on relaxation and wellness to create a unique and relaxing experience. After a couple of particularly stressful months last year, I figured I could do with some well earned R & R and booked a week away for myself.
I'm a big believer in trying new things and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, especially when it comes to exercise and keeping active. Surfing and yoga perfectly complement one another, as yoga assists with building the flexibility required to perform surfing manoeuvres as well as helping with muscle recovery after a long day at the beach. Being by the ocean also provides a blissful and relaxing environment perfect for yoga or meditation.
There are several different packages available allowing you to customise your trip based on your experience, budget and preferences. I chose Zen Surf Coaching, which is perfect for beginners or intermediate surfers as you have five 2-3 hour lessons from an accredited surf teacher throughout the week as well as supervised surf practice and wetsuits and boards included. I also had a yoga package, which included rooftop yoga every day. What is included differs from package to package but mine included accommodation, three meals a day and some transport. For further information click here.
The camp is surrounded by banana fields and set back from beach, by about 250m, off a rough track in a cluster of other homes and buildings. It has six bedrooms and is set out in typical Moroccan riad style with the rooms organised around a central courtyard with a flat roof terrace, two traditional caravans and an outdoor space. It is extremely beautiful and full of relaxing plants, coloured walls and cool open spaces.
Everyone shares a communal kitchen, dining room and bathroom, which gives it a really community camp or hostel-like feel. As I seasoned traveller, I loved this and it also made it easy to meet others and socialise. There was a diverse group of people, mostly professionals from Europe aged 30-35 who were looking to escape from their hectic lives and relax. The majority had not surfed before but like me were keen travellers and outdoors enthusiasts.
The facilities were simple but clean and comfortable and attended to by a daily cleaner. There were also two live in staff members who were always around to help or answer questions or organise additional services such as massages. The camp offered a number of excursion options, such as visiting a local market on the Wednesday or going to Taghazout to party. The food prepared by the onsite cook was simple and hearty, there were amazing breads and olive oil with Amlou, almond butter as well as fresh fruit and traditional Moroccan dishes. There was also excellent wifi in all the areas.
Here's an example of a typical day for me at Zen Surf-
8.30am Breakfast in dining room 10am Leave for surfing with surfing instructor for a 2 hour surf lesson. Transported to local surf spots depending on surf. 12.30pm Packed lunch on beach 2pm Beach time including free surf time supervised by surf instructor 4.30pm Return to camp 5pm/6pm Yoga lesson in camp or in Taghazout 7.30pm Dinner in dining room followed by free time
Overall, I really enjoyed my experience and would recommend it wholeheartedly. The staff were incredibly warm and helpful and it was clear that they were passionate about what they do. My surf teacher Hossain was particularly amazing and as well as helping me with surfing, also taught me a lot about the local culture and traditions.
The waves were also great for beginners and intermediates and the beaches and surrounding area were beautiful and unlike typical touristy beaches I often come across when abroad. I already loved surfing after a previous trip to El Salvador but was unsure about surfing in the cold Atlantic in a wetsuit. However, I completely fell in love with surfing as it allowed me to get totally away from all my thoughts and de-stress as you have to be completely present, concentrate and just be with the waves. I would recommend it as a relaxing yet active getaway, particularly in the winter months when you're in desperate need of some sun to re-energise and reinvigorate.