The Mediterranean coastline stretches east from Nador all the way to the Algerian border. Until recently it was relatively undisturbed, with just a few small villages that burst at the seams in summer but counted more birds than people for the rest of the year. Change has come, however, and the wave of development that continues to wash over much of Morocco has found its way to these shores. Beachfront promenades have been laid, and concrete apartment blocks are inevitably following. Just west of the pleasant seaside resort of Saïdia is perhaps the country’s most ambitious tourism development of all Saïdia Mediterrania, a designated tourist zone complete with mega-resorts, an 18-hole golf course, 700-berth marina and even a faux Medina. The atmosphere along this coast during summer is infectious and it’s a great time to experience modern Morocco, where families play in the shallows and Arabic pop music blares out from mobile phones. Unfortunately, this development comes at an inevitable cost, and the coastline’s remarkable ecosystem appears to be under siege from the increase in development and the resultant waste issues.
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