Glad you have chosen to go to Morocco for your trip in June. Agadir is a good base or a handy airport to fly into and then take off for other sights further afield. Being June its summer and getting pretty warm or rather hot in some places so having the beach will be nice.
but you dont have to keep Agadir as your base for the whole time. There are places up along the coast that make interesting visits such as the national park that is just north of Agadir where the rare bald Ibis can potentially be seen if you are lucky, there are cute fishing villages such as Immousouane - which does have a good camping ground, as do other places along the coast from Agadir - and Essaouira is of course lovely....makes a nice drive and a good place to stay overnight as well at Essaouira.
Out into the mountains Immouzzer makes a nice drive and there is a waterfall out there - might not have much water in it but even still the daredevil locals still try to make money by captivatingly diving into a small pool at the bottom of the waterfall rocks.
then there are places south such as Souss Massa national park where you can get a guide at the entrance and go walking through a nature reserve and see different birds such as flamingoes, and also the rare bald ibis if you are lucky, that have flown in from elsewhere and sometimes wild pigs and other animals amongst the sand dunes.
South of there is very interesting walled old city gateway to the sahara city of Tiznit. and the lovely beach nearby of Aglou Plage with its fisherman cave huts. good place to stay overnight and have seafood lunches by the sea.
from Aglou theres a road following the coast down to Mihrleft and the old spanish colonial town of Sidi Ifni.
then Goulmime is interesting for its camel market on sundays but gradually been downscaling.
then from Tiznit the road into the Anti Atlas takes you over Col Kerdous to lovely Tafraoute - pink rocks and houses and good place to buy carpets with great colours by the women around the area, also special patterned shoes that the men and women wear. nice place to stay as a base and see the Ait Mansour gorge and Ameln valley with its cute villages amongst the rocks.
the up to Agadir via Ait Baha past the fortress hilltop town of Tizourgane (which is open for visitors and also has a hotel for overnight accommodation).
you can from Inezgane turn right and go to Taroudant or do Taroudant as a day trip from Agadir, like a mini marrakech with less tours and agressive hustle a good place to buy leather and silver goods and carved limestone. 2 permanent souks ie the Arabic souk and the Berber souk. but on Sundays a large souk on the outskirts of souk that people from miles away come to buy and sell animals and all sorts of produce and textiles and household goods.
a few sights to see then driving over Tizntest, Morocco's 3rd highest mountain pass - after an hour or so you come to 12 th century fortress mosque of Tin Mal and good souk at Ijoukak nearby on Tuesdays.
You can keep on going and drive up to Imlil and stay there at the hiking town that serves Moroccos highest mountain Jebel Toubkal. nice place to stay for a couple or more days and do some walks aorund the valley the town is in or head on up to the top of Toubkal - an overnight trip. flowers im told come out up there in June.
and then not far from there is Marrakech.
the freeway between Agadir and Marrakech has cut the drive time down by about an hour so can do the route in about 3 hours now.
north of Marrakech is lovely Cascade douzoud with nice lower priced hotel and Moroccos highest waterfall. just north of there is the Himalaya like drive over to the valley of Ait Bougoumez which is full of purple orchids in June. have a good place to stay there at Tabant and go for some good walks or horse rides to dinosaur prints or just enjoy beautiful landscapes and berber villages - so a good place for kids.
those are the handiest places from Agadir - but as said wouldnt stay and base overnight in Agadir more than a couple of nights Id reckon. lots of other places to visit and enjoy too.
Nestled in the picturesque area that is the Ameln Valley of pink mountains, berber villages and peaceful and fertile valleys with palmeraie is the village of Tafroute, tucked away in the Anti Atlas.
Tafroute is 107 km from Tiznit or 198 km from Agadir - both routes have striking scenery making it worthwhile to create a circuit that incorporates the three.
In between Tiznit and Tafroute the roads wind up to the pass of Col de Kerdous at 1100m - with the four star Hotel Kerdous, once a kasbah, perched right on the pass. There is a cafe and bar here at the hotel entrance for coffee or a beer etc with great views - or park and stay the night.
The road enroute gives stunning views over mud brick berber villages looking precarious on the sides of the hills, cactus plants and cultivated terraces - to even more stunning views from the top at Kerdous, especially looking back towards Tiznit at sunset.
During February and early March the almond trees that grow prolifically around Tafroute are in bloom adding even more colour and beauty to the route. There is an annual Almond Blossom festival in Tafraoute every February
Its a stunning drive out to Imouzzer - it was great to be driving out along this lovely drive since my previous visits with 2 nights here 5 years ago - seeing the impressive to dramatic sights of the oases and gorges and valleys with palm trees and homes perched on cliffsides and riders on donkeys making long journeys home up the steep climbs along this route.
At the end of this route are the cascades gushing down from the top of the mountains on high. In summer this place is a busy haven from the heat and a popular place to visit for locals from Agadir. Including a popular annual honey festival at the end of August which I managed to get to those years ago - along with a 3am in the morning dragging up onto the stage for a photo with the apparently famous woman singer there!
Walk through olive trees to the waterfalls - my return trip was in November and guys were in the trees harvesting olives...lots of olives on the trees and all over the paths.
Ive since learnt that there is also an Olive Harvest festival here which is of course worth a visit and that its beautiful to drive out around the valley when the almond trees are in blossom in Feb or March.
And for a second time Ive watched a man dive from about 30 feet above down into a small pool below my feet - the first time was gut wrenching mind boggling and the second time knowing that its done many times over hoping nothing went wrong in front of me!
And its a place that intrepid tourists who want more than a package holiday with a week on the beaches around Agadir can add to their itinerary when renting a car or grande taxi to see the surrounding sights.
Officially the grand taxi prices s are fixed - they of course see a tourist coming and they will try to charge more - but the normal Moroccan recommended by the govt/fixed price for the whole taxi - which we do mean grand taxi
El Batwaar (near the big souk) to: Taroudant - should be 300 dirham
Tiznit - 300 max (really about 260/270 but say 300)
Tafraoute - 600
Sidi Ifni - 500
Essaouira - 500
Immouzzer 300 return plus whatever time you want to stay for needs to be added - makes a nice half day trip - stay for 3 hours add 100 dirham
For somewhere excellent such as Amtoudi for an excellent day excursion I have contact details for a small company that have taxis and will do a day excursion for something like 1300 dirham
Hire a car and take it for a drive through the anti atlas mountain to Tafraout, it is a lovely drive and you will see some lovely scenery on the way.
Leave Agadir around 10am and you will be at Tafraout for lunch. From Tafraout you can drive onwards to Tiznit, where you will find a lot of silver merchants selling all sorts of silver souvenirs in the market.
This is a lovely day out driving through some beautiful untouched scenery, you will pass through many berber villages and see the real Morocco.
Lots of locals up on the top of the big hill at the fortress above Agadir around sunset time - the camels and their keepers were still there for the tourists - the place is quite busy at sunset time - great views over the port and harbour and Agadir below and out to sea.
Handier to drive up with your rental car! but taxis will bring you up here - the walk down is okay though and the road way is lit until quite late. The walk up is steep and takes about 20 to 30 minutes.
This wonderful nature reserve that is Souss Massa National Park, 65 km south of Agadir, was created in 1991 and extends along the Wadi Massa where the river meets the sea providing a haven of about 1400 hectares in which many bird and animal life live.
Our guide was rattling off names of many creatures that live or can be found here at Souss Massa National Park - unfortunately the names he was using or pronouncing as english needed translating! - eg. he was using the word sects for insects (under the water) which I guessed he was meaning shrimps which when I translated back as crevettes is what he meant.
We could see wild pigs on the opposite river bank - which he called wild hogs - and went on to say that they can be a problem as aggressive.
But as they were thankfully on the other side of the river from us it was great to be able to see them and photograph them!
Souss Massa National Park was created in 1991 primarily to preserve the bald iris which is threatened with extinction. Half the population of the bald ibis live in Morocco.
The mild temperatures along with the river and the sea here attract hundreds of migratory birds such as greater flamingoes from the Camargue in southern France and from Spain, as well as godwit, snipe, grey heron, turnstone, dunlin, coots and many other species.
I was pleased to get up fairly close to flamingoes - and see that they really are pink - well, as the guide advised us, under their wings and feathers - and get fairly close up shots of other birds and also see wild pigs.
In all the times Ive been to Agadir and down to Tiznit and around the area Ive never seen signposts nor information advertising the Sous Massa National Park being where it is - my Moroccan connections had never been there nor had any interest or knowledge of going there - the only information and inspiration to try to find this place or visit this place has been frequently noticing it standing out in green as a National Park on my Lonely Planet guide book's map of things to see around Morocco.
The DK Eyewitness Travel Guide has a photo of flamingoes and a small write up on it and luckily some instructions on how to find the place. As driving there this latest trip with the intention of going to visit the National Park we still did not see one single signpost advertising this beautiful paradise in the middle of the flat, rather uninspirational landscape of the area between Agadir and Tiznit.
65 kilometres/40 miles south of Agadir along the road to Tiznit, is this Sous Massa National Park which was created in 1991 and extends along the banks of the Wadi Massa, which on its way to the Atlantic, irrigates a large palm grove.
This nature reserve where river meets the sea and winter temperatures are mild, attracts hundreds of migratory birds such as flamingoes from the Carmargue in France, and many species from Spain.
The main purpose though of creating the park though was apparently to preserve the bald ibis, which is threatened with extinction, and of which Morocco is home to half the world's population of this bird with a pink, featherless head. (which we didnt get to see!)
So as the DK Eyewitness guide advised us, visitors should approach the park and entrance from Sidi Rhat - of which this village is signposted along the P30 between Agadir and Tiznit.
At the 'gate' are guys offering to guide visitors - we decided to take the opportunity to use our time efficiently and be shown where to go to see birds as I especially wanted to see flamingoes. Our guide asked for 70 dirham - but after spending about 2 hours walking around the park with him and his interesting company (though I had great difficultly understanding his english!and my Moroccan friend had to translate at times for me!) the asking price was obviously too low and warranted a further donation to give value for the time well spent with him.
The Paradise Valley is situated north of Agadir in the foothills of the High Atlas. It's a 1-2 hours drive by car from Agadir on the way to the waterfalls of Immouzer des Ida Outanane. Because these waterfalls dont have much water in summer, we decided to visit the lovely Paradise Valley.
After a drive through the beautiful palm-lined gorge we left our car at the startingpoint of the signposted Paradise Valley trail. Aziz, our guiding friend who knows the area allready from the time the hippies still lived in the valley, guided us to the other side of the valley into the shade of the date palms. From here we made a lovely short 1-2 hours walk first in the shade of the palmtrees, along the narrow river towards the well. We saw lovely places for a swim.
For the walk back to the car we had to climb half way the mountain slope. We had to walk back in the sun along narrow mountain paths. So for this walk you need good shoes and eventually something to cover your head. The views at the valley are really great.
The Paradise Valley or Taghrat Ankrim in Amazighe, the local language of the Berbers, is a 7km long green and narrow Valley along the Ankrim river.
In the sixties this valley was a popular gathering place of the hippies from abroad. They live here ´in paradise´ and cultivated the ground. Aziz, our guiding Moroccan friend told us he visited the place also very often in those old days, having long hairs himself too.
Nowadays you can find except the natural vegetation and date palms lots cultivated grounds with fruit trees like olive, figs, bananas and oranges. After the hippies abandoned the area some locals took over. At the well we met a local man with a donkey and another man we met en route offered us pomegranats fresh from the tree.
The Paradise Valley is signposted from the road (picture 2). Look for the sign with ´Taghrat, Vallée du Paradis, sentier pédestre´ (footpath). Youngsters are waiting there, I suppose to offer you to guide you around. At the parking lot you will find a board with information about a 2,7 long trail (picture 1). It is telling that the trail is a USAID´s Morocco Rural Tourism project in conjunction with the Ministry of Tourism.
From Agadir we drove with our car in the direction of the water falls in Immouzzer des Ida Outanane to visit the Paradise Valley. Coming from Tamraght at the coast we drove first through the mountains and along a wide valley (picture 2), Here we made some stops for the views before we entered the narrow scenic gorge (picture 3) into the direction of the Paradise Valley.
The windy and narrow road, twisting along the steep slopes and palm trees (pictures 1, 4 & 5) made it a spectacular trip. Only this route made it allready worth to visit the Paradise Valley.
From Agadir we made in 1992 a one day tour with a landrover to the mountains in the area south east of Agadir and north east of Tiznit. First we visited the barrage and lake in this area and then we headed on unpaved roads into the mountains.
With a donkey we took a track to a small mountain village. On our way up we had a good look at the wadi with palm trees and the small fields of the villagers. The village looked very scenic and the villagers were very friendly, came to see us to say hello.
See my travelogue.
During our tour with the landrover we went with a donkey from the wadi to a small village in the mountains north east of Tiznit.
The village was very picturesque with its houses built between the rocks. Under one of the rocks we saw an oven. Some villagers were very curious and came welcoming us, others were a little bit more shy.
See my travelogue for more.
Tioute lies 48 KM south of Taraoudannt. The first time we visited Tioute in 2000, was on a one day tour from Agadir in combination with Taroudannt.
Tioute has ruins of a impressive kasbah. In the village itself is not much to see, but the atmosphere is nice. We did a donkey ride in the palmeraie. The villager who accompanied us explained a lot about the crops growing in the palmeraie. In the village in a local house I had the best Morrocan tajine and couscous ever.
In 2001 we came back and spent a night in the kasbah. It was nice to sit there in the evening to the great view and the lights of the village down. Most special was the splendid view at the palmeraies with changing light during the twilight.
We learned that in 1952 the kasbah was used for the film Ali Baba & the Forty Thieves, a great ambiance indeed.