Things to Do in Oualidia, Morocco

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Surfing

Oualidia is a popular surfing destination for all abilities; beginners find their balance in the gentle waves of the lagoon, while pros test their mettle on the fierce Atlantic swell beyond the breakwaters. Local school Surfland, run by seasoned French boarder Laurent Miramon, is the place to go for lessons and rental equipment. It's also possible to rent a dorm-style room here to hang out with like-minded travellers.

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Birdwatching Safari

In spring (March to May) and autumn (August until early November), flocks of migrating birds flying between Spain and southern Africa stop over at the northern tip of the lagoon. Rent a motorised boat or sign up for a birdwatching safari with La Sultana, where a knowledgeable guide points out everything from the black-winged stilt with its comical bandy legs to the little stint scurrying busily across the shallows. Storks in Morocco are as common as sparrows in England - "we have a lot of babies here", jokes Nabil, a local birding expert. Visit in September when candy-pink flamingos descend in droves to feast on the shrimp-rich waters.

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Oyster Farms

You can't visit the oyster capital of Morocco without sampling its most famed shellfish. The first oyster farm was opened in 1947, and today around 200 tonnes of oysters are produced in Oualidia each year. Take a boat ride to discover a string of the white cube-like buildings poised on the rocky shores, where you can learn about the production process and take part in tastings - often with a glass of vin blanc.

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Sunset Swims

A jigsaw of lagoons and sandbanks, Oualidia is an ever-shifting spectacle, and is particularly magical at dusk. Take a peaceful dip in the clear, calm waters as the light falls to see the sun brushstroke the sky pink and lilac. There's nothing more soul-soothing than floating on your back, with only the putter of silhouetted fishing boats interrupting the silence, as the blushing landscape goes into overdrive.

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Arabian Horses and Hidden Coves

From the main beach, La Grande, the crowds clustering around the seafood shacks empty out the further south you head. On foot, it'd take over an hour before you reach the near-deserted stretches, but venturing out on horseback covers a lot of ground in little time. Many centres specialise in Arabian horses, majestic steeds with rippling coats and wild manes, which dance along the shore in a cloud of sand and flicking hooves. You'll trot through undulating dunes and along yawning beaches, weaving around powdery bays and pausing on lofty headlands, protected from the ocean spray by honeycombed rocky outcrops that bear the brunt. Local guides reveal hidden caves (sans cheveux), crawling through rocky tunnels to discover extraordinary natural stone windows framing views of the crashing Atlantic far below.