Tifnit – in Pursuit of Virgin Beaches & Troglodyte Caves

The Village

A beach snob that I am, I’m always hunting for remote resorts and virgin beaches in the area. In my latest pursuit, I stumble upon Tifnit – a tiny fishing village in the midst of Souss Massa National Park, about 45 km south of Agadir. Pink seashell gravel, vermillion moss, black spongy rocks, and pastel-colored cob houses give this place a fairylike dreamy look. It’s popular with surfers, the locals from nearby villages, and a few Europeans who come for months at a time to soak in the sun.

The Food

Ever hungry, I check out my food options first. From what I can tell, Chez Maxim’s, right on the pink-shelled beach, is the village’s only restaurant. It’s pricy, but the food cannot get any fresher! Once you are seated, Maxim runs off to check on the latest catch, and when you place an order, your fish and langoustes are still moving. The nature’s TV is also fantastic – fishermen at work, boys playing catch, teenagers carrying tajines – all against a backdrop of white foam and the deep blue. Sit back and enjoy your 4D NatGeo show!  Your food is coming soon.

The Scenery

The scenery immediately behind the village is almost surreal. White sand dunes, dozens of flipped-over fishing boats, and roaming donkeys bear resemblance to Dali’s desert paintings.  If not for huge piles of trash spread out right behind the houses, you’d call this place idyllic.

The country road leading into Tifnit, separates the fishing settlement from the coastal cliffs stretching south. You’ll want to stroll to the outpost demarcating the entry into the military base and then hike down to the beach. The views of the sea and the rocky outcrops from here are spectacular.

The Caves

It’s also from here that you’ll first spot the most unusual thing about this tiny village – troglodyte caves cut into the walls of the cliff only a few meters away from the ocean. Some of those have porches, walls and doors, resembling regular houses. And although most dwellings are visibly abandoned, a few are still in use by the military and local fishermen.

Cave use is an ancient North African tradition that predates Islam. Places of religious worship in the past, most caves today are regular dwellings, but it makes them no less interesting. If you are feeling adventurous, you can actually rent a cave on Airbnb. Some of them are quite comfortable, with fully equipped kitchens and hamams.

The Park

If you still have energy after the beach, explore Souss-Massa Park – after all, you are already in it! It’s a scenic place with sand dunes, steppes, wetlands and beaches and a wildlife sanctuary for birds, mammals and reptiles.

In case you are visiting on the weekend, you’ll notice dozens of people heading inland in the evening. Many of them come to Tifnit for the day and hike back to their villages just before dark.

If you have space, offer them a ride – the gesture will be greatly appreciated!

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