Sidi Ifni, a touch of Spain in Africa

September 17, 2017 0 By Viktor


Your bus arrives in Avenue Hassan II and you can feel the salty breeze on your face. Somebody greets you with a cheerful ‘Hola!’ as you walk down the streets lined with white and blue houses. A man sells cactus fruit outside one of the many arcaded houses and two women cross the street ahead of you to disappear in a narrow alley. Then you walk past beautiful but long abandoned colonial buildings and the eerie atmosphere of Sidi Ifni captures you.

Women in the street in Sidi Ifni

Women walk home in Sidi Ifni, Morocco

Sidi Ifni is located in the south of Morocco (if we don’t count Western Sahara) so it’s all the more surprising that this small town has such a European air to it. The answer lies in its history: Sidi Ifni and its area was under Spanish control for some 100 years. Spain only let it go in 1969 but the Iberian spirit still lingers on. People have siesta and many of them still prefer Spanish over English. Then there are the many Art Deco buildings and the street signs could be in Madrid or Sevilla. 

Street sign in Sidi Ifni

Calle de Oviedo in Sidi Ifni

Man-made and natural attractions

It’s a must to check out the Art Deco buildings from the 1930s, like the Lighthouse, the old cinema, the Town Hall or the former Spanish Consulate. After the violent protests of fishermen in 2008, the Moroccan government pumped a lot of money in the region so many of the buildings have lost their haunted feel. On the plus side, they will survive to be seen by the future generations and they received a new function. 

Lilghthouse in Sidi Ifni, Morocco

The tower of the Lighthouse

The town lies by the ocean and fishing has long been the main source of income for the locals. The long sandy beach is never too full of people (though not the cleanest, either) and the area offers great waves for surfers.  If you take a bus or a taxi you can discover the famous Legzira beach with its rock arches. Sadly, one of them collapsed in 2016 but two of them are still there to amaze you. The rocks have an intensive reddish colour, which goes really well with the blue of the ocean. And if you feel really active, you can walk back to Sidi Ifni (or at least part of the way). We did this and walking on top of the rock offered us unique views of the arches.

The most fragile rock arch collapsed in 2016

The most fragile rock arch collapsed in 2016

Tunnel vision of Legzira beach

Tunnel vision of Legzira beach

If you have some more time to spend, I would also recommend the laid-back town of Mirleft to the north. There are no real attractions here but the relaxed atmosphere gives you the impression that time has stopped here. The nearby beach is beautiful and quiet and locals swear that Jimi Hendrix was here.

Mirleft beach

Mirleft’s beach on a busy day

People in Mirleft, Morocco

Old men enjoy a chat and a tea in Mirleft

If you happen to be in Marrakesh, do yourself a favour and visit this colourful outpost. You can get there by a combination of bus and taxi and it takes around 8 hours (70-80 USD). And it’s less than half that way from Agadir. There are a number of accommodation options from dorms and a campsite to rooms in private houses and hotels. I’d recommend Maison D’hôtes Tiwaline (25 USD for a double) for its central location and great coffee.