Digital Nomad Morocco: a week in the life
This year, I made it my mission to escape winter. So in late January, while my mates were off booze/battling the bitter cold/complaining about holiday weight… I decided to the ditch the city for a remote few weeks working in Morocco.
My destination was Taghazout, a tiny fishing village just a 1.5 hour drive from Agadir that is well known for its spectacular surf. As soon as I arrived, in a beaten up old Mercedes that served as a taxi, I could tell that despite its modest yet steady influx of tourists in the winter months, Taghazout had not sacrificed its soul. Hostels and restaurants were tastefully dotted around in between traditional bakeries, fishmongers and children’s playgrounds. Old fashioned fishing boats were nestled at the shore of an expansive, deserted beach. The only two streets felt ramshackle, rugged and real.
But I wasn’t there for the waves – I went for the workspace. Sundesk co-working/co-living space opened in Taghazout in 2014, catering to the growing army of digital nomads who want to work remotely in far-flung locations. We were welcomed by the owner, Magda, and I was immediately impressed with the crisp, spacious rooms, decorated in bold colours and adorned with beautiful Moroccan rugs and lanterns.
On the second floor, the bright and homely workspace has 12 spaces to settle down, with a stunning view of the sea and an endless supply of tea, coffee and drinking water. There is a Skype room for conference calls, as well as Swiss balls and standing desks for the health conscious. Many people however, choose to work on the roof terrace – and you can probably see why. The sea view is elevated to breathtaking, and the Moroccan throws and cushions make almost every spot enormously comfortable. Breakfast is served here every morning – a succulent mix of fresh fruit, yoghurt, Moroccan omelette, bread and honey.
Work and play
Sound tempting? Here’s a run down of the activities you can get up to during a digital nomad’s working week in Taghazout.
Arrive in Tagazhout from Agadir in the late evening, and take a stroll down to the seafront to one of the best restaurants in the village: L’Auberge. The candlelight, wild flowers and waves will really make you feel like you have arrived in a secret haven. I’d made some new friends at Sundesk and we tucked into chicken tagine with honey and toasted almonds, as well as freshly caught fish and spicy calamari.
After breakfast, take a road trip to the aptly named Paradise Valley. The stunning rock formations give way to icy pools that you’ll be itching to jump into – so take your swimwear (since Morocco is pretty conservative, ladies you might want to opt for a modest one-piece over a bikini in this situation). Our fabulous guide packed us a delicious lunch of fish tagine, which we washed down with sweet, fresh orange juice. On the way back, we were able to stop at an Argan Oil co-operative, to buy some of their finest and freshest beauty products. I went for the “Elixir of Youth”, a combination of Argan oil and prickly pear oil that smells, and feels, like actual heaven.
If you are an early riser, head on down to D’Frost for their dynamic sunrise yoga class (€10). The view from the terrace where the class takes place is simply the sea as far as you can see. Then, after putting in a few hours at the office, you could take a trip to the local Hammam (€15), to get scrubbed and massaged within an inch of your life. To clarify – this is not a spa. More like a public bath that will leave you feeling cleaner than you’ve ever felt, albeit somewhat startled by how many Moroccans have now seen you next to naked. A very cool cultural experience.
You’ll have realised by now, that you can’t buy alcohol in Taghazout. So when Tuesday rolls around, most of the residents pile into taxis to the Paradis Plage Resort which hosts a beach party once a week. The bar is somewhat limited and overpriced, but the location is stunning. Campfires, a DJ, and dozens of youngsters who haven’t had a drink for a week make it a lively atmosphere.
Midweek is time for the local food market, just down the road in Aourir. You can hitch a ride with Magda, who buys up the weeks’ shopping there. I guarantee your mouth will be watering at the stacks of fresh produce, take some change so you can tuck in as big bills can sometimes be refused. If you like a lie in (like me) you can take the yoga class at sunset instead. The yoga is gentler to restore surfers to strength after a full day on the waves, but the scenery is just as spectacular.
Fancy trying your hand at cooking the local cuisine? On Thursdays you can learn from the best: Sundesk’s resident cook Zhara will show you how to cook up a storm, using the freshest ingredients and the oldest techniques. Other Sundeskers can also pay a small amount to taste the fruits of your labour at lunchtime – we made a huge kefta tagine that went down a treat. If you’re still hungry, Thursday is L’Auberge’s weekly BBQ. If you BYOB you can enjoy an alcoholic drink, and the long tables that are set up give the event a real community feel. There were drums, Chinese lanterns being launched into the sky… it was an all round great vibe.
You can’t really call a trip to Morocco complete, without braving the sprawling chaos of a city souk. On Friday, take the remainder of your money and get the 36 bus to Agadir (€0.70). From there, you can hop in a red taxi to the souk (€3). You’ll be amazed at the sheer scale of the market, which is open from 9am to 9pm every day. Every stall owner will be bombarding you with his wares – from honey to handbags and everything in between. Haggling is a must – expect the goods you want to buy to be worth about half the original price. But the locals are super friendly too. We enjoyed a sweet tea with one eager shoe seller. The experience is simultaneously exhausting, and unforgettable.
I love being a digital nomad and even if you’re only escaping for a week, when your seven days has come to an end, you will have a whole host of new international friends, and a firm vow to return. Sundesk: you haven’t seen the last of us.
Easyjet flies to Agadir from £77 return throughout winter. Rooms at Sundesk start at 22 euro per night for a shared room, or 30 euro per night for a private room.