A link to reset your password has been sent to your email
Already have an account? Log in
We have sent you an email to validate your email address. Follow the link provided in that email to complete your registration.
Didn't receive an email? Resend
You will enjoy the atmosphere of Essaouira, Morocco where there is no pollution of sounds as the peacefulness of this place is only disturbed by breaking waves and shrieking seagulls. There will be plenty of time for you to explore and discover the intricate paths of the town while also taking the chance to surf at the nearby beaches. You will certainly have a pleasant stay in Dar Al Bahar!
Dar Al Bahar is certainly the name it deserves: the house by the sea. Built on the ramparts of the city of Essaouira in the "San Dion" district, Dar Al Bahar faces the ocean and its trade winds.
From the terrace, the view is one of constant movement; winds breaking against the rocks of the coast, offering an amazing spectacle. From there, you can also enjoy the panoramic view over the medina with its northern fort of the ancient Scala and the Mellah (the former Jewish quarter). In the distance, you can see the sand dunes, which actually touch the northern outskirts of the city.
Jean-Claude and Lise, a french-dutch couple, have completely renovated this house which was built at the turn of the last century. At that time, this part of Essaouira was much more animated thanks to the presence of an authentic windmill which formerly provided flour for the city and the backcountry. At this place, a hotel has been built but the street name remained: Touahen, which means ‘mill’ in Arabic.
The hotel is located in Essaouira, Morocco.
Essaouira, “the jewel of the Atlantic”, is a small fortified port on the same latitude as Marrakech, between Safi and Agadir. Since the first century B.C., there has been a small settlement on the Purple Islands, so-called because the murex; a mollusk from which the color purple was extracted, was found in its waters.
In the 15th century, the Portuguese then came and built the first fortifications. The Scala is worthy of special mention. The city was then given the name Mogador. Later, in the 18th century, merchants from Europe also arrived and the city began to enjoy its Golden Age.
The sultan of that time, Sidi Mohamed ben Abdallah, decided to make it the most important port of the kingdom. He permitted different tribes to inhabit the city and consulates to be established: Denmark first, then France, Brazil, and Portugal. This intelligent and tolerant prince even welcomed an important Jewish community, which contributed greatly to the development of the city.
Mogador became the first Moroccan port to trade with the non-Islamic world. It also became the destination for caravans bringing African riches from Timbuctu. The town-planning was entrusted to the Frenchman Théodore Cornut, a disciple of Vauban, who gave the city its present look, building ramparts, and straight, wide streets.
However, the end of the big caravans and the development of Casablanca caused the decline of the city and it became less and less important. Finally, in the 20th century, after the independence of the country, the town was given the name Essaouira; meaning ‘the well designed’.
However, in the seventies, the hippies discovered the town again and it became a fashionable destination, where even pop stars of that time: Jimmy Hendrix, Cat Stevens, and others, liked to stay. Fascinated by its natural beauty, the film producer Orson Welles made his famous movie ‘Othello’ there.
Today, Essaouira, recently classified by Unesco as part of the World Heritage, should not be missed when visiting Morocco. Tolerance, a multi-confessional tradition, the mildness of its climate, and the kindness of its inhabitants make a visit worthwhile.
When entering one of the monumental gates, Bab Sbâa, Bab Marrakech, or Bab Doukhala; you find yourself in the midst of an animated and joyful crowd, where everybody is going about his own business. There are no motor vehicles here, everything is carried by carts sometimes drawn by mules. What fascinates visitors are the white-washed house walls and the blue doors and windows which are reminiscent of Mediterranean islands.
Owing to the straight main streets, you will have no problem finding your way and even if you get lost in the numerous small lanes because sooner or later you will find a main street again or a dead-end. What is also worth seeing is the central market with its numerous butcher shops. Under the market arcades, you can find all kinds of merchants selling vegetables, spices and seeds, meat, and fish.
To get away from the hustle and bustle of the marketplace, a glimpse at the ocean view from the Scala, the fortified place of the city, is breathtaking with its beautiful battery of canons pointing out to the sea.
Sooner or later, you will come to Moulay Hassan Square lined by trees and coffee bars where you can drink a peppermint tea and watch the coming and going of the Souiris; the inhabitants of Essaouira, who are very fond of this square. A bit further on, past the Gate of the Marine, you will reach the port and shipyard, where ships are still built in the traditional way.
In the Jewish community, there were jewelers who made their own jewels but when they left the country, this activity stopped. However, you can still find some shops that sell mainly silver items.
Wood carving is, in fact, the main craft in Essaouira. You will find some wonderful items made of thuya wood, inlaid with other kinds of wood such as a lemon tree or ebony. The objects range from simple key cases to ornate cupboards, desks, stools, and tables. Thuya wood, a typical scent of the medina, will stay in your memories because of the numerous workshops under the arcades of the Scala.
Of course, you can find shops selling typical Moroccan items such as carpets, blankets, babouches, iron or copper articles, pottery, ceramic, and tables covered with tiles. Some objects are actually made in the shops themselves: lamps covered with leather and decorated with henna, as well as musical instruments (djembés, guembris).
In the past, Essaouira attracted poets, artists, and other creative talents; but modern art and especially painting have found here again a favorable environment. It would not be exaggerated to speak of an ‘Essaouira School’ representing a mixture of modern and naïve art, which finds its inspiration in the Gnaoua culture.
There emerged a real “cradle” of artists, of whom the most famous is Mohamed Tabal. Although without any academic or artistic education, one day they were inspired and expressed their creativity on canvas, producing some great and sometimes astonishing works of art. In the meantime, these artists have acquired global recognition and exhibit their work all over the world.
Essaouira is famous for Gnaoua music, first introduced by the caravan men from Africa. The musicians play on percussion instruments (djembés) and strings (guembris), and the dancers, entranced by the rhythm, use castanets called krakeb.
Their shows or lilas are mostly organized in private circles and find their culmination at the June festival of Gnaoua music, which has become internationally famous. It is now open to other forms of music and is called Festival of World Music. In 2001, the king of raï-music, Cheb Mami, and in 2004, the Wailers, the former group of Bob Marley, captivated the audience on Moulay Hassan Square.
The beaches are splendid and endless. They are visited in the morning by joggers and in the afternoon by volleyball players and families. The picturesque bay of Essaouira, protected from the big waves of the ocean by the Mogador islands, is a paradise for windsurfers thanks to the constant and strong winds. For surf enthusiasts, the coast offers some famous spots like Sidi Kaoki or Moulay Bouzarktoun, the former in the south and the latter in the north of Essaouira.
When leaving the town in the direction of Marrakech after about two kilometers, you come to a wonderful panorama. Then, you go through the forests of thuyas, eucalyptus, and especially argan, which only grows in this area. The argan trees produce nuts from which a delicious oil is made.
For this organizer you can guarantee your booking through BookSurfCamps.com. All major credit cards supported.
We respect your privacy. We will not publish or share your email address in any way.
Please go to your inbox and click the confirmation link we just emailed you.
Don't miss our special promotions, exclusive offers, new destinations and inspirational stories!
We respect your privacy. We will not publish or share your email address in any way.