Taghazout surf is up there with the best in all of Morocco. The right-hand point breaks hit the headlines, but there’s a whole host of beach breaks and reefs to suit all levels, not to mention the country’s best surf schools. The town has suffered from some pollution but it looks like that’s sorted. We rate it as one of the best surf-camp spots in Africa during the peak winter months.
An introduction to Taghazout surf
Taghazout sits on a big bend on the western Atlantic coast of Morocco. It’s surrounded by long lengths of golden sand and rugged headlands that jut out into the ocean. The result is a wonderland of all sorts of surf breaks, from reef sections that can hold double overheads to pushy whitewash for total beginners. It’s little wonder, then, that Taghazout has established itself as the veritable surf capital of the country – and even one of the top surf towns in all of Africa!
There was a time when Taghazout was just an unknown Berber fishing village. That all changed sometime around the late 60s, when the African hippy trail blazed its way through. That’s probably when the waves caught the eye of a few surfers and the rest, as they say, is history.
Sadly, the boom of the Taghazout scene has pulverized local infrastructure. Bad building regs and soaring visitor numbers have all contributed, and the place is now a shadow of what it once was. What’s more, there seem to be annual reports of awful pollution in the water (even though local surf camps are putting a lot of effort into combatting that). Our advice? Check conditions ahead of time with a surf shop or a surf school to be sure you’re not walking into a disaster zone.
That bad stuff aside, the Taghazout surf still has its undeniable draws. There will be some moments where you’ll feel that authentic Berber vibe – perhaps munching on a tagine while watching the sunset between the hazy mini Atlas and the Atlantic. What’s more, there are excellent surf schools in town, the best Morocco has to offer by a long stretch, and some seriously amazing breaks (Anchor Point, we’re looking at you!).
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This is a part of our greater guide to surfing Morocco
Surfing in Taghazout at a glance
Wave type: Beach break, point break // Level: All levels // Season: Winter
What will I find in this guide to surfing in Taghazout?
Where is Taghazout?
Just half an hour in the car on the 23-kilometre stretch of roadway that runs north from the buzzing port city of Agadir can bring you to the surf mecca of Taghazout. Located on the edge of the dry and dusty plains on the far side of the Atlas Mountains, the town is some three hours from Marrakesh. Conveniently, some of the best spots on the Morocco surf map spread north from Taghazout. They are between the village itself and the lovely city of Essaouira.
Surf spots in Taghazout
The Taghazout surf spots map is peppered with all sorts of waves. In fact, the variety of breaks here is one of the reasons the town has become such an African surf mecca in recent decades. Regular riders who love dipping frontside into barrels get a whole load – Morocco is the land of the right-hander. But there are some good lefts on the reefs to find, along with great beginner beach breaks. Check them out…
Anchor Point Spot
Anchor Point sits only a whisker to the west of the village. You might even be able to see it from the rooftop bars of the surf schools in Taghazout. And boy does it make good watching! The break pretty much sums up what it means to go surfing in Morocco. It’s a peeling, long-ride right that comes off a rocky headland that acts like a natural harbour wall. The take-off is right out at the end of the stone, where you can drop in on a perfectly shaped wall that gets hollow and fast. Surprisingly, the bottom is sand, so there is some room for error. Best swell heights are up to 10-12 foot here, which is regular in the winter months. Anchor can handle more, but Bruce Willis would be quaking if you catch our drift.
The name should say it all: Killer Point – arguably the heaviest and most pitching point break in the region. The truth is, the spot is named after the resident pod of orcas that sometimes pass through. Still, the way this wave can pack a punch even on low N-NW swells is pretty impressive. Even the paddle out is a muscle-burner, taking up to 20 minutes on the biggest days. True to its Moroccan style, it’s mainly a fast right, but also has a quick left if you’re up to it. Barrel sections aren’t uncommon, but the key is speed in this hollow, steep shoulder.
Don’t be put off by the name – Devil’s Rock is actually among the more easy-going of the points on the Taghazout surf spots map. Located on the long plage to the south of the town, it’s a sand-bottomed beach break that breaks low and slow. The direction is mostly from left to right but there are good winter A-frames to boot. Prime height is around the chest to head and you can expect rides of between 50-100m if you manage to get up and sit in the pocket. The beach is a lovely one too!
Good intermediates and pros in search of a Moroccan right-hand barrel should make their way to Boilers. It’s the farthest north of the main Taghazout surf breaks. The wave sits in a lovely wind channel that’s created by the foothills of the Atlas, so it’s rarely onshore and very sheltered. That lets swells of 6-10 foot come in uninterrupted and create peeling right-handers. The skills here is the take-off, which is fast and comes dangerously close to a rusting shipwreck. Get to know the break before you try it and then get ready for the speediest tube in town!
The lovely little (and yes, it probably is the littlest around) wave at Banana Beach is the beginner mecca of Tagazhout. It’s actually closer to the nearby village of Tamraght, and a mere 20 minutes’ drive from Agadir. The accessibility of it all does tend to up the crowds. In fact, the line up at Banana is almost always packed, but there’s a healthy contingent of surf schools so novices have no call to be daunted. Wave wise, we’re talking a mellow, often mushy right-hand point that rolls into several beach peaks, all with a soft sand bottom.
K17 is worth knowing about if you’re a complete beginner or improving intermediate looking for some cruisy beach breaks. On a long, sandy beach, this one cooks up plenty of separate peaks that offer a little punch in the middle of the winter high season and good whitewash for the summer. It’s a favourite of surf schools, so watch out for flying boards!
Depending on the height, the much-loved break at La Source can host all levels of rider. What typically puts the local Taghazout surf schools off is the hard rock-reef floor that rolls underfoot. But that shouldn’t deter you if you’re keen to hit a reef break, because La Source is actually relatively forgiving and fun. At its best (at mid tide and with a NW swell and offshore easterlies) it can form lovely A-frames that are rippable in both directions.
Surf hotels Taghazout
There’s certainly no shortage of fantastic places to stay in Taghazout these days. The boom in surf travel here has brought all sorts, from family-friendly resorts with pools to vibrant hostels that offer their own board rentals. Some of the ones we can recommend are:
Sol House Taghazout Bay Surf ($$)
You get front-row views of the beach just south of Taghazout from this four-star hotel. It’s highly rated by surfers for its proximity to the beginner and intermediate waves between Banana Beach and Devil’s Rock. The rooms stand out too for being individual bungalows, many of which have spacious terraces for that post-surf chill and sprawling interiors that include separate lounges with flat-screen TVs.
Paradis Plage Surf Yoga & Spa ($$$)
Closer to the gnarly surf points of Boilers and Killer Point, the Paradis Plage is a taste of luxury just outside of Taghazout town. Build with the adobe styles of local Berber villages in mind, it mingles perfectly with the surrounding deserts and dust hills. There’s a central pool and garden area, with designated yoga spots to boot. An on-site spa has a hammam and private massage parlours, just in case you need to soothe the muscles after long sessions on the waves.
Taghazout Sea Surf ($)
Authentic and fun, Taghazout Sea Surf can be summed up by its big roof terrace. It’s a medley of tassel-edged cushions, flickering fire pits and multicoloured Moroccan rugs – the sort of thing you’d expect to see in Lawrence of Arabia. Rooms are all with shared bathrooms, but that fits with the communal, co-living vibe. You’ll love getting to know your fellow travellers and surfers, both on and off the waves.
Surf camps in Taghazout
Surf camps have boomed in Taghazout in the last 10 years or so. As the small town went from fishing village to African surf mecca, it’s seen the appearance of more and more places that offer ready-made packages for surfers. Sadly, some lack quality. But we’ve done the legwork to pick out the top-rated options in town with the finest surf tuition and the best accommodation. Here’s they are…
- 8-Day Luxury Surf Camp @ The Yogi Surfer – We don’t think there’s a better surf-camp hotel in the town than this one. It’s more like a lux hotel, offering big rooms and a pool overlooking a patchwork of banana plantations and the beach. The package comes with daily yoga and surf lessons, plus airport transfers.
- 8-Day Beginner Surf With Tiziri Surf Maroc – The best choice for total learners is this 8-day camp that all but guarantees to get you nailing your first green waves. It’s in Tamraght Bay to the south of Taghazout.
Step-by-step guide to planning your Taghazout surf trip right now
Step one: Book flights to the Taghazout surf…We use Skyscanner and only Skyscanner for this. The reason? We’ve always found it the best site for comparing deals from basically ALL airlines and somehow seems to offer deals that beat going direct.
Step two: Book your surf lodge. There’s Booking.com. That has consistently unbeatable rates for hotels and a nifty map feature that lets you check how close EXACTLY that hotel is to particular breaks. Or Book Surf Camps, which is the numero uno online booking platform for fully-fledged surf-stay packages.
Step three: Book surf lessons and other activities For advance booking, you can use GetYourGuide or Viator. To be fair, though, we usually just leave this until we’re there – it’s easy to book in person in most surf destinations.
A guide to the Taghazout surfing season
The seasons are SUPER important for planning a surf trip in Tag, and the whole of Morocco besides. Basically, it gets messy on account of strong N winds here for the whole summer. That leaves the winter as the prime time – great news for European snowbirds looking to escape the uber-cold of the North Atlantic for sessions under the sun.
Summer (April to September)
Summer is the low season for Taghazout surf. Morocco has high winds throughout thanks to stronger trade currents and gusts coming off the Sahara Desert. They can play havoc with the glassy barrels of La Source and Boilers. However, there are still waves to be had – this is the mid-Atlantic Ocean, after all!
We’d say the conditions are largely suited to beginners who don’t yet mind surfing onshore currents and choppy waves. There is definitely loads of whitewash about, especially around Banana Beach and Devil’s Rock, leaving plenty for the local surf schools to get stuck into. Just don’t expect perfect right barrels and whatnot.
Winter (November to March)
Morocco’s wintertime is the peak for surfing. Taghazout gets blessed by strong N-NW Atlantic swells that power up the points and the right-handers all around this section of coast. Days of 6-12 feet are common, particularly around Christmas – so expect a present if you’re after hollow sections and the nearly-big-wave offering at Boilers.
Dominant groundswells also offer regular chest to overheads at points like La Source and Banana, along with wide periods and decent offshores if you rise early enough. TL;DR – winter is the time to hit Tagh!
Surf shops in Taghazout
Although Taghazout surf is probably the most popular in the country, we’d recommend getting your gear in order before you arrive. There’s just not the mega array of surf shops here as you get in Portugal or France. What’s more, most camps have their own stuff ready to go. If you’re flying solo, it’s not hard to bring your hardware along. If not, these could be worth a look in…
Atlantis Surf Shop
Little more than an open garage that’s packed with surf gear, Atlantis is a convenient pitstop in Taghazout if you’re on the hunt for boardshorts, branded sunnies, wetsuits, and after-surf wear. Friendly folk. Good location.
The Surf Berbere name is one of the most established in Taghazout. It’s been offering surf camps and rentals in the small town for years and is known for quality and friendliness. It’s now also branched out into a surf shop. Head in to find mainly branded clothes, but also hardware like rash vests and wax.
Where to eat in Taghazout
The crowds of surfers that now flock to Taghazout has helped bring a medley of new and enticing eateries to town. There are casual bakeries that offer fine French-inspired breakfasts. There are sleek joints that cook up feasts of Berber stews and tagines. Some of our top picks are:
Windy Bay Café_Resto
With a salt-washed wood façade right on the main promenade and beachfront of Taghazout, there’s hardly any beating the location and setting of Windy Bay Café_Resto. The menu touts healthy whizzed-up fruit smoothies and stacked burgers. But it’s those homecooked pizzas that take centre stage in the evening – they might just be the best in town!
Chez Titrite is all about uber-hearty, filling, and local food plates. Moroccan meats make packed burger patties that are sure to help you refuel after a day on the Taghazout surf. There are French touches that come through in the sweet crepes and the tartare. But you can also find some local staples – tagines, North African bean salads, smoky dips.
L’Auberge Restaurant is one of the more romantic spots to dine in Taghazout. Taking influences from across North Africa and the Middle East and fusing them with a twist of French creativity, its menu is all about crusty morning baguettes and spicy tagines. The outdoor seating is wonderful, with views over a small alley that’s close to the Atlantic.
Things to do when you’re not surfing in Taghazout
Taghazout isn’t just famed for its surf. It’s also a mecca for yoga camps. These days, establishments like the top-rated Sun House Morocco can whisk you away from the shores to the dusty desert for days of meditation and downward dogs. It’s worth a look in if you need to stretch out and relax after some heavy swells at Boilers!
Explore Paradise Valley
There’s a real adventure on the menu up in the so-called Paradise Valley. A long stretch of the Tamraght River, the area is all carved gorges and glimmering pools. It’s a mecca for hikers and wild swimmers, and for those who want just a little taste of the terrain of the iconic High Atlas.