Whether you choose to stay by a white sandy beach or in the heart of a bustling city, holidays to Morocco are a feast for the senses. A fantastic fusion of Middle Eastern mystery and Spanish splendour, there's plenty to see and do. Haggle for bargains in a bazaar, soak up the spectacle of the Sahara, or even have breakfast with Bedouins. If you want to explore the natural wonders that Morocco has to offer, make sure you visit the Agadir Birds Valley. A superb, family-friendly day out, it's close to the sea and just a short journey from the Soussa Massa National Park.
History of AgadirAlso known as the ”Vallee des Oiseaux', the park is a relatively new attraction. It was built on the fertile soil of a dried-up riverbed, making it an ideal spot for park developers to plant a variety of exotic plants and flowers. The nearby town of Agadir was founded in the 1400s by Portuguese traders, who wanted to create a market town where they could barter with the local Bedouin tribes. By the 1500s, Agadir had blossomed into an important port, exporting sugar goods bought from the Saharan nomads, cotton, and the mineral potassium nitrate, which had become important to the military. However, the city's fortunes started to decline under the rule of Sultan Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdallah, who changed the trading routes to the more northerly port of Essaouira. More conflict was to strike in 1960, when a huge earthquake practically destroyed the city. Since being rebuilt, the city has re-established itself as Morocco's most-important exporter of fish. Today, Agadir is a popular tourist destination, boasting some of the best beaches in the country, authentic Berber cuisine, and a network of alleys and backstreets, where you'll find craftsmen hard at work. To top all that off, you have the wonderful natural attraction of Agadir Birds Valley.
What to expectThe valley covers more than six acres and is considered to be the most tranquil spot in the city. Set in the parched remains of a riverbed, the surroundings are spectacular, with the wildlife park bordered by the colourful banks of what was once a bubbling waterway. There are still echoes of the river's activity, with a stunning waterfall that you'll find towards the middle of the park. Once you're done exploring, you'll find the beach less than 10 minutes' drive away. Agadir Beach is one of Morocco's largest. It's sheltered from the winds by the surrounding mountains, and one of the best if you want to top up your tan or spend some time playing with the kids. There's a good selection of water sports on offer, while the whole family can take it easy on the water front. If you want to see a little bit more wildlife then the Soussa Massa National Park is about half an hour away by car.
How to get thereYou'll find the Vallee des Oiseaux overlooking the North Atlantic, midway along the coast. It's open seven days a week, opening at 11am and closing at 5.30pm. If you're coming from the city of Agadir, there's a miniature tourist train (known as a ”Noddy train'), which will pick you up from the beach and take you straight to the park's entrance. When you decide to leave, it'll take you back. If you've decided to drive, there are four main routes to the Agadir Birds Valley. Coming from the south, take the N1 motorway towards Ait Melloul and follow the signs. From the north, the N1 south is also the route to take. Those driving from the west will need to hop on the N10 or, if you're coming from the northwest, look out for the N7.