Essaouira sightseeing option

Hi all!! I am going to Morocco in November 2020. On the last day of touring, guests are offered a choice of sightseeing activities in and around Marrakesh. One of the options is an excursion to Essaouira with a local guide and a photographer (who will offer tips on taking photos). Has anyone offer some guidance: The itinerary also states that there will be free time in the afternoon.I understand the ride is 2 1/2 hours each way That being said, where do we go and what do we see? Do we go to the Jewish cemetery, the synagogues and the mellah? If I am not that interested in perfecting my photography, is this excursion worthwhile? I will have another day in Marrakesh to arrange for a private tour there or elsewhere. I welcome any and all suggestions! nancy


  • I chose the Essaouira excursion on my Feb 2019 tour. About 12 of us went. We took the Tauck bus and were accompanied by our country guide. On the way we made 2 stops: to view the tree climbing goats and to a women’s co-op where Argan oil products are made and sold (we were given a demonstration of the process of making the oil and time to shop). On arrival in Essaouria we walked around the town: the souk, the fish market, and the rampart. I can’t comment on the photography aspect, I don’t remember how that was offered but what I did wasn’t geared toward taking professional photos. We had lunch there and a short time to wander by yourself. We returned back to the hotel with enough time to shower and dress for the farewell dinner. I do not remember visiting any Jewish sites in Essaouria.
    Not sure how your weather in November will compare to February but it was chilly and windy being on the ocean wish I had worn a warmer jacket.

  • milmil
    edited February 2020

    I did Essaouira, it was a delight! , it was refreshing ,it was something completely different then the Medinas etc... which I absolutely loved and enjoyed 100% but also wanted to see more of the country... Reading back your post.. if you are hiring a private guide for an xtra day.. in Marrakech, you must see the Medina, the Bahia Palace and the Ben Youssef Medersa these are a most. The Jewish cemetery is very small, better the one in Fez, but nothing like the one in Prague. I heard the Synagogue in Fez was better than the one in Marrakesh.
    Back to Essaouira…. you don't feel the drive to be long, you do make the 2 stops as JDS11 mention, you see the goats :smile: and also stop at he women's co-op, it is great to see how they process and create different products, they have a delicious orange soap, that smells amazing.
    At Essaouira we did the same, we walked around the town: the souk, the fish market, and the rampart., went to the port , saw the fishing boats, took pictures of the shore and had a chance to buy some marine-related , souvenirs . it is a little windy, of course ocean breeze , but so refreshing! we had lunch at a local rest. food was excellent and back to Marrakech , we spend about 3.5-4 hours in the town....The photographer we had was not the best... basically he is taking pictures of you while on the tour... they put it on a disk and is a gift for you.
    Essaouira is very charming, very colorful nice if you like to take pictures and you'll see the locals doing their regular shores.. you get a taste and see how they live, is very different from the Medinas. I selected the Essaouira trip instead of the cooking class because I stayed 3 more days after Tauck so I booked the cooking class on a different day. If you want to see as much as possible of Morocco, I would definitely do Essaouira.

  • Mil,

    Thank you so much for the information, suggestions and gorgeous photos! I think I will also opt for the Essaouira adventure and spent the extra day (Gift of Time) exploring Marrakech.

    We will be doing a 10 day road trip in Southern Spain prior to joining the Morocco trip. We’ll be coming to Morocco (Tangier) via ferry from Tarifa. On our way to Rabat, we are planning a side trip to Chefchaouen, the ‘blue city’. We have only 8 more months to go!!

  • Hi NancyCohen. I just booked this tour for November 2021. Please share your experiences upon your return. Hopefully the weather will be pleasant during November--not to hot or cold. I too will use the Gift of Time on the back end to further explore Marrakech. Fingers crossed my December 2020 Jordan/Egypt tour goes on without a hitch due to CORVID19....fingers crossed. Thanks--Robin

  • I’m not optimistic about my November 2020 departure. My fingers are crossed but that may not be enough. I may be meeting you in November 2021!

  • We were on the October trip to Morocco and loved it! We chose the Essaouira trip and were so glad we did - the others, who chose the other options were sorry they hadn't gone. We did all that others mentioned, the argon factory, goats in argon trees and tour of Essaouria but also went to a synagogue on the walking tour of the city - was the first stop before fish market, etc. Morocco was one of our favorite tours - it also was our 16th Tauck tour!!!

  • I agree, great photos, but for me the winner of the photos award goes to Goats in a Tree. You can take pictures like all the others in various places around the world, not that that makes these less interesting, but for the uniqueness, in my book, it's definitely the Goats in a Tree.

  • Is the question "why did the goats climb the tree" in the same category as "why did the chicken cross the road"?

  • What is the answer? Because they were there??

  • The goats are playing a vital role in the production of argan oil for food and cosmetics.

    From Wikipedia:

    A tradition in some areas of Morocco allows goats to climb argan trees to feed freely on the fruits. The kernels are then later retrieved from the goat droppings, considerably reducing the labour involved in extraction at the expense of some potential gustatory aversion.

    For those who are grossed out, it should be noted that this is only the traditional method. More modern methods avoid the goat's alimentary canal entirely. :s

  • Sound like the weasel coffee in Vietnam. Give me Starbuck's!!

  • Thanx Ken. Next time I read argon oil on a label I'll try to think of goats in a tree and not the other.

  • Sound like the weasel coffee in Vietnam.

    Could be a spin-off series - Weasels in cars drinking coffee.

  • We did the Magic of Morocco and the Essaouira excursion. It was interesting to see the "goat trees" but they were clearly a set-up for tourist. The "professional photographer" on our trip couldn't speak English so he never interacted with us. We received a CD of the pictures he took and I was not impressed with the photos. You can see pictures of our excursion at

  • edited March 2022

    Just to clarify, the goats are ruminants. They eat the argan seeds but the seeds do not generally go through their digestive system. Ruminants bring up the contents of their stomach and chew it (known as chewing a cud). When the goats do that, they spit out the argan seeds (they only eat the outside of the seed). See and and

  • Mike: Thank you so much for attaching your blog. So interesting and love all of your images. I saved your blog to my reading list so that I can view some of your other trips when I have time. What a nightmare with your flights, though. Traveling today can be very challenging.

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