The van stops outside the walled medina. A couple of porters are waiting for the small group I am leading. A minute later, we walk towards our riad amongst one of the most picturesque towns I’ve seen in Morocco. This is the coastal city of Essaouira. Nestled between Casablanca and Agadir, with a view of the Atlantic Ocean, the city is also known as the “Wind City of Africa” and listed as one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
I got here from Marrakesh. The ride took about three hours, and this is my first time in Essaouira. This is an extension of the 2018 Morocco photography tour and also serves as a scouting trip for the 2019 extension. Four people traveled with me. The route was relatively easy, with lovely rural sights and small hamlets along the way. We found a nice coffee place close to the Douar Oulad Driss village. Of course, we stopped for some photos of the “famous” Moroccan goats that climb trees. They were more of a tourist gimmick than reality, at least for me, but they were fun to watch.
Essaouira is laid back, contrary to the other medinas in Morocco; you can definitely feel a more serene atmosphere when you walk around the first time. Compared to the frenetic markets of Marrakesh or Fes, the alleyways of Essaouira never feel overcrowded; the rhythm is calm, and in general, the storekeepers don’t hassle you.
The inner walled city is a photographer’s dream, in fact, its name means “little picture” in Arabic. Famed by its vibrant blue and white buildings, one can spend a lifetime wandering the narrow streets, discovering and photographing colorful doors, passageways and spice markets.
But there is more than that, at least for me. South of the main square is the port and the former site of the Castelo Real of Mogador. I enjoyed this area the most and found myself coming back to it every time I was out with my camera.
When the tide is low, it is very easy to go down the ocean from here and photograph the city from a great vantage point. At this time, tidal pools form all over, and the possibilities for good compositions are almost endless.
The port itself is exciting. Hundreds of blue wooden boats are scattered in different places, around the late Castelo and other areas. This is perhaps the most photographed area of Essaouira, and the blue fisherman boats are one of the most iconic features of the harbor. Here you can also find the old citadel and fortified anchorage. Since there is no need fighting the reality of things, I spent most of the time taking photos around this location.
All the photos in this post were taken with the Fujifilm GFX 50s, and my three go-to lenses for trips and the system. You can read more about my GFX for travel by clicking here. I also had with me, and indeed used it extensively, my set of neutral density filters, and of course my tripod.
Essaouira is the perfect place to wind down after two weeks of touring Morocco. I can’t wait to go back next year. Essaouira is again an extension for the upcoming 2019 Morocco photography tour I am leading one more time for Digital Photo Mentor in May. At the time of writing this post, there are only five spots left on the tour. So if you want to learn more, follow this link.
That’s all for now. As always, feel free to comment, and if you want to license one of these photos or purchase a print, click here.