After immersing yourself in the hustle and bustle of Morocco’s medina madness, fancy mellowing in the quieter fishing village of Moulay Bousselham?
You may be wandering, where on earth is Moulay Bousselham? And to be honest, until I landed in Morocco and started travelling around this stunning country, I had not heard of this village either – guilty. But that’s the great thing about travelling without an itinerary or plan.
Travelling from Meknès, this village is easy to reach as it is only a 1.5-hour train trip to Souk El Arbaa, followed by a 45-minute Collective Taxi ride to this quaint seaside town.
At the time of writing, when you arrived at Souk El Arbaa station, a platform did not exist. Instead, the train actually stops on the tracks, with nothing much around. You need to jump down from the train to the tracks, which is a couple of feet, with all of your luggage and walk across the railway tracks. Reaching the road, then walk another fifteen minutes until you reach the area where you take the collective taxi.
Taxi Tips for Souk El Arbaa:
- Something to bare in mind is that it appears that in Souk El Arbaa, the taxi drivers have their own territories. You will not be picked up unless you are in the correct ‘territory’. Both frustrating and annoying. Unless you know this prior to arriving, you could be wandering around aimlessly.
- Don’t expect a brand new or half-decent vehicle as typically, these taxis are rundown old Mercs and nothing flash. Although as long as you get from A to B, what does it matter? It’s part of the adventure, so go with the flow.
What to do in Moulay Bousselham
Apart from a place to chill, rest, eat, sleep, and take long walks along the endless golden beach, there really isn’t a lot to do in this sleepy fishing village.
Did I mention relax, eat, and laze around? Does this sound like you?
Although it is very easy spending a few leisurely days here just relaxing and re-charging the batteries before the next leg of your journey, do try and mingle with the friendly locals. I think you are appreciated more during low season as locals have much more time, than at the height of the season.
As this is a popular get-away for Moroccans, it is very busy in high season but in low season, it is similar to a ghost town. It is the off-season at the moment, so a very different place to when the village swells from around 5,000 to 65,000 people, during high season.
If you are anything like me, I would time my visit during the quiet time, especially if you need a break from the constant hassling in other Moroccan cities. Moulay is where you can find peace, solace, and no hassling – very refreshing.
Tip: For those of you with a car, time, and love to visit ruins, if you are heading south to Rabat, then you have the option to visit a couple of Roman sites: Banasa (near Souk Tlata du Gharb) and Thamusida (near Kénitra).
Moulay Bousselham Beach
Have I mentioned that the sunsets are spectacular in this part of the North Atlantic Ocean and a photographer’s delight?
With an expansive and ample coastline to catch a superb uninterrupted sunset, make sure to bring a wide-angle lens.
At times, although the current is quite strong along the beach for swimming, beginners and advanced surfers still love this part of Morocco’s coast.
Take in a spot of fishing whilst you’re here and maybe catch your own dinner.
Do you like bird watching?
If the answer is yes, then Moulay Bousselham is the place for you.
The Ramsar Convention protected wetland Merja Zerga (“Blue Lake”), creates a natural habitat in its stunning lagoon for thousands of birds. This pleasant lake spans over 30-square kilometres.
An organised boat trip for bird-watching ensures you can cast your eyes upon gannets, herons, pink flamingos, spoonbills, and a few other species.
Moulay Bousselham: an unusual name
Not sure about you, but I find the name of this town hard to pronounce correctly. Maybe you’re wondering how the name came about?
Named after a 10th-century Egyptian saint, who apparently converted the Atlantic Ocean to Islam, the meaning is ‘the man of the cape’. Moulay Bousselham now guards the mouth of the river from within his Koubba (monument) in which he was commemorated.
Where to sleep?
I remember the taxi dropped us off just outside of Moulay but not knowing our surrounds, we started to walk the wrong way. A kind local took us to his friend’s house to make a call to the apartment’s manager, who then picked us up from not too far away.
This rooftop apartment had a gorgeous view of the Atlantic Ocean with a separate bedroom, kitchen, bathroom, lounge room, and terrace area; with friendly and helpful managers (Chris and Driss).
2018 update: After extensive searching, I could not find the name of this apartment so sadly, I believe this accommodation is no longer available. However, there are many rooftop apartments available with splendid views.
Although the restaurants near the waterfront are pricey, walk behind this strip for cheaper and delicious meals. This is also where the locals go to eat. Of course, the seafood is very good in Moulay.
Enjoy a pastry or two? Then stop off at the small pastry stand, in front of the little general store, near the waterfront. Every day, you can buy cheap scrumptious freshly-baked pastries here, from the friendly vendor.
Leaving Moulay Bousselham
Time to move on again and keep heading north, but first, we need to catch a taxi to Asilah, which is about an hour away, for the connecting train to Tangier.