Morocco is always full of surprises. Even after five years of living here and exploring a lot, I have discovered so many new places — some of these spots I find by accident, driving off the beaten path.
In my insider’s guide to Morocco’s 10 secret places, you’ll visit some of Morocco’s secret spots. Some sites are not a secret; however, they are less known to tourists. Or, they would never even consider visiting. I haven’t been to a few of the places on the list yet but I want to visit asap!
1. Moulay Bousselham Lagoon
Moulay Bousselham is a small town in the Kénitra Province, famous for its lagoon and the wetland area called Merja Zerga. The resort is popular almost entirely with Moroccans and the birdwatching community. The wetland is home to over 100 bird species like the flamingo, grey herons, storks, black-winged stilts, African marsh owls, marbled teals, Red-knobbed coots, etc. If you want a birdwatching tour, ask around in the port. You can read more about my visit to Moulay Bousselham in the post Chasing flamingos in Morocco.
Oh, and Moulay Bousselham is a tasty seafood lunch stop if you drive from Tangier to Marrakech. Don’t eat at the restaurants; go directly to the local fish market. You can choose your fish that will be grilled and served in the market’s grill spot.
2. Sidi M’Barek waterfalls
What a place! While in Essaouira, I often wondered what to see around, not driving too far. I was so delighted to discover this stunning place, the lush waterfalls of Sidi M’Barek and the marabout (home of a saint). The waterfalls are about 15 minutes south of Essaouira, on the road leading to Sidi Kouki. You will see small signs indicating that you are there, but make sure you ask locals as the walking path to the waterfalls is not marked. The walk to the waterfalls takes around 30 minutes. It’s a perfect spot for lunch or barbeque. What I love about this place is also the giant dunes that remind me of the Sahara desert. Even better, down the dunes, you will find the waterfalls and more down, the ocean!
3. Lalla Takerkoust
Marrakech is surrounded by many beautiful spots to visit on a one-day trip. Lalla Takerkoust is one of my favourites when I want to escape from the heat in Marrakech and enjoy a refreshing nature. Situated around 40 km from Marrakech, Lalla Takerkoust is famous because of its beautiful human-made lake built in 1929 to provide electricity to Marrakech and its surroundings. The lake is fresh heaven after hot days in Marrakech; there are few beaches for swimming, restaurants, and hotels. You can enjoy aquatic sports: jet ski, boats, etc. More about Lalla Takerkoust can be read in my post A DAY TRIP FROM MARRAKECH FOR ONLY 1 EURO!
4. Bhalil cave dwellings
I’ve heard about the village of Bhalil a long time ago. However, until now never had an opportunity to visit this village. Located 30 km from Fez, close to Sefrou town, the community of Bhalil is famous for its unique cave dwellings. People still inhabit some of them. Bhalil also attracts attention because of its colourful houses and streets.
There are not many inhabited cave dwellings left. Because of modernisation, locals are slowly moving from the cave-houses to the modern part of the town. Some of the cave houses are open to tourists. You only need to catch a local (unofficial) guide, and he will show inside of the cave houses. Read an article about my visit to Bhalil cave houses.
5. Plage De Mares dar in Jebha
Beach De Maresdar is a real secret. Located in El Jebha, in the northern part of Morocco, halfway between Tetouan and Al Hoceima, this place is almost unknown to tourists and even locals. Craved into the rock, the Plage De Mares reminds more of a beach in Indonesia or Thailand. This place is more secluded and unique because the beach can only be reached by a small boat from the town—the boat ride costs around 100 DH.
6. Moulay Idriss
Moulay Idriss is a town in northern Morocco. You probably have known Moulay Idriss if you visited the nearby archaeological site Volubilis. The holiest city of Morocco till 2005, didn’t allow non-Muslims to stay overnight in the town. The town is situated on a hill and surrounded by lush green hillsides.
I’ve been to Moulay Idriss a few times and always felt the unique magic of the town. Especially on more cloudy days, when the city is partly hidden in white clouds. Also, Moulay Idriss is all about donkeys. They are used to transport everything from people to vegetables, furniture, etc.
7. Iminifri natural bridge
We discovered Iminifri natural bridge while driving to another secret place from this list, Bin el Ouidane lake. The bridge is located about 70 km from the famous Ouzoud waterfalls. Iminifri natural bridge is a stone structure created by the water that flows underneath, creating all forms to a height of over 20 meters. It’s not a popular tourist attraction, surrounded by a few local restaurants where we had a fantastic rabbit tagine.
The hike from the natural bridge is short and not complicated. Make sure you come in comfortable shoes. A few locals show us the way through the natural bridge. While walking through, pay attention to one of the stone formations that reminds you of the shape of Africa. It’s hard to see the similarity, but locals will help you out.
8. Tinmel mosque
Tinmel mosque (built-in 1156) is one of the two mosques in Morocco open to non-Muslims. About 100 km from Marrakech, Tinmel mosque is a hidden gem and not very well known.
It no longer functions as a mosque, and visitors can freely come to the mosque at any time. You will often find there an English-speaking guide. Don’t hesitate to hire him for a short history walk (even if you know the history, take the tour to support the locals). If you want a unique day tour, read the story about my visit to the Berber home. The day trip included a visit to the Tinmel mosque.
9. Skoura oasis
On the way to the Sahara desert of Merzouga, often travellers or tours stop overnight either in Tinghir or Ait Ben Haddou. However, there is another place to spend a night or even a few days, the Skoura oasis. Located 40 km from Ouarzazate, Skoura is worth attention for the about 50 km² palm grove labyrinth with palms, olive, almond trees, and cute local villages. There are a few hotels to stay, some of them are a real oasis to relax after a long drive. You can also arrange a tour of the oasis, local villages. I love Skoura oasis because it’s still undiscovered for mass tourists and the Go Local experience makes it unique.
Don’t forget to visit the Kasbah Amridil of the 17th century. You will recognise the kasbah Amridil from the picture on the bank notes of 50 Dirhams. It’s also a place where the famous movies” Ali Baba and the 40 thieves” & “Lawrence of Arabia” were filmed.
10. Bin el Ouidane lake
Bin el Ouidane lake is located about a 1-hour drive from the Ouzoud waterfalls in Azilal Province. The dam of Bin el Ouidane was built in the mid-20th century with a height of 1,330 meters and a length of 85 meters. Bin el Ouidane dam and its surroundings is a refuge for those looking for calm and quietness. What to do in Bin el Ouidane lake? Rent a local boat, enjoy the beautiful views, swim, sunbathe, and eat. There are some hotels to rent around the lake or, like me, find an apartment with a lake view.