girl boat birdwatching morocco

Chasing flamingos in Morocco

I have never been crazy about flamingos or birdwatching. However, after an unexpected encounter with flamingos in Morocco, I would recommend anyone spend a day observing birds.

Seeing flamingos was a spontaneous idea. We were driving from Tangier to Marrakech, and in the distance, we noticed some flamingos. As we were not in a hurry, we decided to chase more flamingos. Luckily, we discovered Moulay Bousselham, located only 130 km from Tangier.

Moulay Bousselham is a small town in the Kénitra Province. This resort is popular almost entirely with Moroccans and the birdwatching community. Moulay Bousselham is famous for its lagoon and the wetland area called Merja Zerga.

It’s no wonder Moulay Bousselham is one of the most popular bird-watching places in Morocco. The wetland is home to over 100 bird species, including flamingos, grey herons, storks, black-winged stilts, African marsh owls, marbled teals, and Red-knobbed coots.

Because of a GPS mistake, we arrived at Moulay Bousselham from the other side of the lake. This meant we either had to drive back to the town or catch a fishing boat to the town. This mistake made us discover a beautiful, wild, wide beach sheltered by cliffs.

The beach has an abrupt drop-off, which creates a continual crash of breaking waves. I’ve never seen anything like this in Morocco before. There were only a few locals, and we imagined ourselves cooking tagine and enjoying the wild scenery.

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We decided to reach the town by hitchhiking a boat. At first, the idea sounded crazy, but we succeeded! A fishermen’s boat stopped and gave us a lift to the town port.

There, we asked people where to find flamingos. Some of them smartly spotted their finger in the sky. However, shortly after, one man offered us a two-hour boat trip to find flamingos. We didn’t expect anything else than a boat ride, but we also got professional binoculars and even an encyclopedia of birds. Only then did we realise that birdwatching is a popular activity.

Our captain was a talkative young guy. He patiently moved the boat around the lake and introduced us to birds and all kinds of sea creatures.  We saw crabs, seashells, etc.

Finally, flamingos. We saw them far away and tried to chase them with a boat. Of course, birds flew away every time we got closer. However, we were happy even seeing flamingos from a distance.

Did you know that flamingos are not born pink? They have grey feathers that, with time, turn pink. This happens because of a natural pink dye that flamingos get from their diet: brine shrimp and blue-green algae.

WHAT ELSE TO DO IN Moulay Bousselham?

Moulay Bousselham is a small town, busy with local holidaymakers in the summer and peaceful the rest of the year. If you are not interested in bird watching, you can stop by for a delicious fresh fish lunch.

We often stop at Moulay Bousselham from Tangier to Marrakech, eat fish and bring some home. In the town, there are many fish restaurants. However, I choose the ones located in the local market. Ask people; they will show you where it is.

If you would like to do a birdwatching tour or include it in your Moroccan trip itinerary, contact me

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