SunDesk Coworking/Coliving in Taghazout

 

Word travels fast in the digital nomad community. Although still a fledgeling culture, tips on new hot spots make their way along the digital grapevine at record speed. And, as such, it didn’t take long for me to hear about SunDesk – a co-working/coliving concept based in the cutesy little surfer town of Taghazout in Southern Morocco.

Taghazout is more commonly known as the epicentre of surf culture in Morocco. As such it’s a very different atmosphere to the bustling souks and dizzying stress of Marrakech and Fez, or the postcard perfect cobalt-hued town of Chefchouen, that you’ve no doubt seen on Insta. Taghazout is one of those places where it doesn’t really matter what the time is – either daytime, sunset time or night time – and that’s all you need to know. Akin to “island time”, you could argue, but with the benefit of mainland connections and accessible facilities.

Just a quick 20 minutes from the nearest airport of Agadir, which runs flights to all over Europe, it’s a super easy taxi ride into Taghazout. SunDesk consists of two large typical Moroccan style houses perched on the hill that overlooks the tiny town and beaches below. Because of this its geographical set up it’s pretty hard to not have a great view at all times in Taghazout, and thankfully SunDesk is no exception. The main house is host to the co-working office, kitchen, Skype room and two pretty terraces that look out over the bay. While just across the street, house number 2 has its own kitchen and rooftop terrace alongside accommodation.

 

 

Most people hang out in the main house to access the co-working facilities, plus its also host to the social breakfast every morning, some lunches and even a weekly barbecue. Depending on the type of accommodation you opt for depends on which house you will end up in. The main house is host to private rooms mostly (both double and single) while the second house has share rooms (shared between just two coworkers) and more privates. Although rooms are simple, they are perfectly adequate for a pleasant stay and (most importantly) you can access SunDesk’s super-fast wifi from basically everywhere in the two buildings.

Wifi has to be one of the main selling points. While there are several high-quality accommodations in Taghazout due to the surf industry here, not all wifi was created equal! So for those needing a secure connection SunDesk has to be the best option. If you’ve travelled to any of the classics digital nomad hotspots such as Bali, Playa Del Carmen or Koh Phangan you’ll know that productivity and the beach don’t always gel! At least for me anyway, I have a hard time finding focus when it’s nice out, and often find co-working spaces poorly designed for actual working, ironically. SunDesk’s “The Office” is the main space for getting some serious keyboard tapping in. There’s a selection of different seating options from big squishy office chairs, to standing desks – and all with a cutesy view down towards the shoreline. 

 

 

But people don’t come to SunDesk just to work; they come for the community spirit that’s hard to miss. With a maximum of around 15 guests at any time it keeps for a very social “everyone knows everyone” kind of a vibe. Magda (the owner) and her team do an excellent job of making everyone feel included by arranging events such as lunches, trips to the souk, sunset drinks etc. They have a Whatsapp group that everyone is added to (and some people never leave) available for all guests to chat amongst themselves or to the SunDesk team.

Usual excursions on offer are visits to a hammam (Moroccan spa), a visit to the Wednesday souk market in the neighbouring town of Aourir and a trip to Paradise Valley – a gorgeous collection of natural pools. Alas, the pools were dry in March but I have been before in June/July time and it was definitely worth checking out. I didn’t try a hammam personally as I had one several years ago and am still scarred! I did, however, make the trip to the Wednesday market with Magda’s husband. The market is mostly fresh produce – so maybe not the best for souvenir shopping. But I think the market visit is more of a cultural activity: colourful, busy, confusing – like all Moroccan souks. It’s totally outdoors, which means it gets hot! It was interesting to see how locals – both businesses and families shop for fresh produce with the help of trolley porters. Plus there are some delicious specialities such as strawberries which are very flavourful, especially if you’re used to the supermarket variety! There are also some stalls selling basic clothing, household goods and a couple with jewellery and leather bags. I actually wound up buying a cute little pillow which is now sitting pride of place on my Moroccan-styled floor couch back in London.

 

 

My SunDesk Highlights:

 

  • Petit Dejeuner

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day – or so the story goes – and that is definitely true at SunDesk. Yummy fresh bread with homemade jams, turmeric egg-type-things, granola, fresh fruit – and my personal fave – SunDesk’s homemade yoghurt which is very unique and excellent topped with local apricot jam!

 

 

  • Sunset Drinks

“Sundowners” has to be my new favourite word and subsequently my new favourite hobby! We tried out a few spots but couldn’t seem to beat the super cute deck at Dfrost Surf House. Funnily enough, I stayed at Dfrost last time I was here and can certainly recommend them if you are looking for a decent local surf school. With a great spot on the bay, big glasses of Moroccan “champagne” for 5 euros and traditional floor seating it’s the perfect spot to watch surfers catching the last few waves of the day as the sun goes down.

 

 

  • SunDesk Community

While you can put a price tag on most things, it can be hard finding community amongst the digital nomad crowd. I think SunDesk has really nailed the small-town setup. SunDesk is very popular and certinly has enough potential guests to open a larger operation – however, they prefer to keep it small, so it keeps the community feel. In a world where WeWork, Selina and other big business nomad chains squeeze you for every cent and pile in as many as many souls as possible, it’s reaffirming to see that there are still some special places out there that really care for the community at the heart of it.

 

Hot Tips

  • If you’re arriving from Agadir, SunDesk have their own taxi driver you can book in advance for 15 euros one way. This is by far the least-headachey option. Morocco can be daunting in the first instance, and this takes the stress away from arriving.
  • If you’re arriving from Essouira, Imsouante or Marrakech, I can highly recommend taking the seasonal Souk2Surf minibuses. I took one from Essouira and then on to Marrakech, and it was super simple. Small minivans with a maximum of around 10 guests mean it’s easy to strike up a conversation or two with fellow travellers plus (and I think this is a big one) you can leash your surfboard to the minivan which is great if you aren’t travelling with a car as it is not always possible to take large items on coaches.

 

 

  • Bring booze with you! It’s not possible to buy alcohol in shops in Taghazout, only from a small selection of bars. So if you want to enjoy a nice glass of vino on the terrace of an evening, you’re gonna need to bring it with you. As I was coming directly from the UK, I actually bought a wine box from a UK supermarket, which came in extremely handy, albiet maybe not the most fashionable way to drink!

 

  • Bring earplugs. Strangely I didn’t have too much trouble with the noise (as I’m a notoriously bad sleeper), but Morocco, in general, is a noisy country and you will thank yourself later.

 

  • Beware the “Zou Flu” an illness that seems to affect everyone at some point. Some say its from poor sanitation in the sea, but I didn’t go near the sea, so I think it has to be from the food. Anyway, its possible you will get a passing stomach bug. It’s very fast passing – most people recover in a day. Although annoying it is over so quick I don’t think anyone should let it stop them visiting. It usually takes a week to kick in – so perhaps factor that into your time table.

 

  • Eating in Taghazout is plentiful with loads of little restaurants ranging from high-end tourist places, all the way down to small, fast food joints – there’s plenty to choose from on every budget. Moroccan menus tend to include Moroccan faves like tagine, but also grilled meat with sides, pizza and pasta and the curious Moroccan “taco” which is more like a toasted wrap with fries in. Not sure how it’s a taco, but they taste good and are one of the cheapest eats in town.

 

  • Bring cash! Morocco is very much a cash-based society, so bring enough to tide you over. The nearest ATM is a ten-minute taxi ride away near the Wednesday Market – so it’s not the end of the world if you run out, but there are no cashpoints in Taghazout itself.

 

  • Grocery shopping can be done in Taghazout if you get sick of eating out. While the variety is limited to small convenience stores at some of the larger ones you can find a variety of foodstuffs such as pasta, tuna, real cheese, fresh bread and dairy products. I’m not sure if it works out much cheaper to buy groceries as naturally Western brands are at an inflated price – as is junk food in general – but what can I say – I gotta have room snacks.

 

  • As SunDesk is a small premises, it often gets booked up weeks in advance. If you’re unable to find a room you can also opt to use SunDesk as a co-working space and rent a cheap room nearby as there’s loads of guesthouses within easy reach.

 

  • If you’ve been in other parts of Morocco and experienced cat-calling or harassment by salesmen, you will find Taghazout a nice breather from this. Wear what you want here – no need for conservative dress – and although locals are always happy to chat there is not the level of attention as in other parts of Morocco, which was a real relief for me.

 

 

  • Be prepared to feel sad for animals. Morocco has no shortage of critters – ranging from the quintessntial camels and dusty old mules you will see ferrying tourists the beaches to the plethora of kitties and dogs roaming the streets. While obviously I’d like to live in a worl where there are puppies everywherem it’s also pretty sad to see how some animals are treated in Morocco. Obviously the problem with domestic pets come froms from lack of neutering so many litters are born and raised on the streets – seemingly with very hard lives. Unfortuately, much like many developing countries, this is an ongoing issue, but hopefully one that will improve with time. One of the SunDesk regulars has set up an Instagram to show and encourage their effort to support Taghazout’s street animals. With most local restaurants are closed for Covid 19 lockdown the animals have had even less access to food. Check out their Instagram to follow the cause.

 

 

  • Get out of Taghazout every now and again. If you’re staying longterm it’s the perfect oppertunity to explore a bit of the coastline. To the south you’ll find the neighbouring village of Tamraght which is also a favourite amonst the surfers and further down the cute town of Sidi Ifni and beautiful beaches of Mirleft. To the north of Taghazout you can find another cute surfey hangout – Imsouante and further up the port town of Essouria, which is a firm favourite among tourists. I visited a particularly cool restaurant just a 15 minute drive from Essouria called La Fromagerie which was the perfect place to escape the chaotic souk and try some delightful hand made cheese, which they make on site. Also taste some totally delish Moroccan wine (which was much better then anticipated) – their sweet garden set up is really quite beautiful – ideal date spot, although personally I just took myself, because I’m good to me like that. Beware the camel milk cheese, it is not for the faint of heart – but certainly unique!

 

 

For More Information…

Take a peek at SunDesk’s site – room rates start from 22 euros a night for coliving and just 8 euros per day for coworking. They also have a very helpful FAQ page that can give more detail on what to expect during your stay.