Morocco // Tangier, Tetouan and the northwest //

Moulay Bousselham

MOULAY BOUSSELHAM, 55km from Ksar el Kebir, is a very low-key resort, popular almost exclusively with Moroccans. It comprises little more than a single street, crowded with grill-cafés and sloping down to the sea at the side of a broad lagoon and wetland area, known as Merja Zerga. This is one of northern Morocco’s prime birdwatching locations (see Wetland wildlife), and avid bird watchers from all over the world come here to see the lagoon’s flamingo and other bird colonies.

The beach itself is sheltered by cliffs – rare along the Atlantic – and has an abrupt drop-off, which creates a continual crash of breaking waves. While a lot of fun for swimming as well as beginner surfers, the currents can at times be quite strong and only the most confident of swimmers should venture out past the breakers. In summer, a section of the beach is patrolled by lifeguards.

For Moroccans, the village is part summer resort, part pilgrimage centre. The saint from whom the village takes its name, the Marabout Moulay Bousselham, was a tenth-century Egyptian, whose remains are housed in a koubba prominently positioned above the settlement. In July this sees one of the largest moussems in the region.

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