The Souss Massa National Park has been a natural reserve since 1991 and it covers an area of 33,800 hectares. It is located between Agadir to the north and Sidi Ifni to the south, including the landscape of the coastline, dunes, marshes and the steppes.
Over 300 plant species and over 30 fauna species can be found there, including the Oryx antelope and the Dorcas gazelle, as well as foxes and wild cats. Moreover, the Souss Massa Natural Park is home to the world’s largest colony of Bald Ibis and the wetlands act as a stopover for many other migratory birds.
When to go?
The climate on the Moroccan coast is enjoyable for most of the year. The best time to visit Souss-Massa National Park is spring (March to May) and fall (September to November) when the weather is ideal. In summer it can get extremely hot and December is the wettest month, although it doesn’t rain too much anyway. I visited the park at the beginning of October and it was simply perfect!
How to get there?
There are two entrances: one called Rokein Reserve, located near Takate and Ihchach, about 20 km from Agadir and the second one called Ourais Reserve, located near Sidi Binzarne, about 65 km from Agadir.
The easiest way to explore the park is with a rental car. It gives you full flexibility to organize the day as you like and it will also be the cheapest option. You can get a good vehicle for 25 – 40 EUR per day while an organized day trip costs about 70-80 EUR per person.
I recommend using the service of Click’n’Go Car Rental. Very friendly guys and easy to contact on WhatsApp. I ended up renting a Renault Clio for the whole month and got a nice price. For visiting Souss-Massa National Park any car is fine and you don’t need a 4×4 unless you really want to do some off-roading.
If you don’t want to drive, the only option is to join an organized tour. Most hotels will be able to get you in touch with travel agents or do your research online.
How much time should you plan?
Visiting all three major sites: Rokein Reserve, Tifnit and Ourais takes the whole day. After that, return to Agadir or spend the night in Tiznit, which is worth discovering too.
Where to stay?
In Agadir, I spent a few nights in Hotel Lynx. It’s not a resort but I wasn’t looking for one. The receptionist was very friendly, the room was spacious and comfortable and there was a small balcony too. Breakfast was not included but there are lots of restaurants all around so it wasn’t a big deal.
In Tiznit, I recommend Hotel Amoudou, located very close to the medina.
Upon arrival, I was greeted by a staff member who explained two options for visiting a park. The first was a shorter loop dedicated to hikers (3 km), and the second was much longer and involved driving your car with a guide. Of course, I decided on the longer one as I had a car and I wanted to explore more remote sections of the part. The ticket cost me 150 MAD. The guide hopped inside the car and we started our mini safari in a Clio 🙂
The guide spoke limited English so I couldn’t learn too much but we had some basic conversation and he was pointing out the animals that we were passing by. Mostly there were gazelles, ostriches, onyxes and some birds. It made me want to do some big safari in Africa soon! We left the car several times and walked to the observation points. One of them was particularly nice, with a large number of animals resting or grazing. According to my guide, they often gather there as it’s closer to the ocean and as a result, more windy and cooler.
Next, I went to see Tifnit, a fishing village with houses packed between the beach and the cliff. I walked along the coast and saw some cave dwellings, that probably used to be occupied by fishermen but at that time they rather looked abandoned.
Another entrance to Souss-Massa National Park is located near Sidi Binzarne. The entrance doesn’t cost anything but I am sure you will be offered a service of a guide as soon as you park your car. There is no need for that as the way is very easy to follow, the question is if you can say no 🙂 If you decide to take one, it will cost you about 200 MAD but feel free to negotiate. The hiking trail goes along the river (Oued Massa) towards the beach with huge dunes and is about 10 kilometres long. Keep an eye out for some birds. On the day of my visit, the fog was hanging over the ocean, creating a mysterious atmosphere.
Once you reach the ocean, turn right and walk along the beach towards cave dwellings. On your rights, you will pass by a fancy hotel: Ksar Massa. If you want to check out the cave dwellings inside, approach one of the fishermen hanging out in front of it and I’m sure they will let you have a look for a few dirhams. I must say, observing how people live and how different those lifestyles are is one of the most memorable of my travel experiences.
Take the concrete pavement climbing up and start the way back, this time following the cliff edge. The wide sandy road will take you back to the trail along Oued Massa which you already walked before. Follow it again to return to the parking.
All in all, this was a day well spent and I truly enjoyed my time in the national park. It’s a great place to visit for those staying in Agadir, who want to escape the big city, see the magnificent Atlantic coast and hopefully spot some wild animals.