There are a group of Expats in the Agadir region who are quite active. We all try and meet up from time to time for a lunch, play tennis or petanque, but occasionally we do and excursion to somewhere special. One of the members came up with a daytrip idea to go to the Sous Massa National Park and go bird watching, so after a bit of arranging, that’s exactly what we did.
One of the expats used to run a tour company so knows lots of contacts, so she arranged a minibus and a bird watching guide to take us out and get the most of the day. So armed with binoculars, cameras, stout walking boots and a bunch of sun cream, we arranged to meet in one of the back streets in Agadir at 8:00am aiming to beat the traffic.
All best laid plans and all that never predicted a massive downpour all night, so it was touch and go if the trip would continue, but our guide said it would be fine and off we set, late as always due to a few stragglers! This made us hit every bit of traffic, so a simple 45 minute journey ended up as a 2 hour slog – but eventually we took the turning down to Tifnit, one of my favorite places.
Our guide said it was one of the best places to see the elusive Bald Headed Ibis, and we stood a good chance of seeing the Dorcas Gazelle as the reserve had a small herd close to the sand dunes of Tifnit, so we kept our eyes peeled for this special bird. As we approached the entrance to the reserve, our guide spotted some Little Owls hunting on the roadside, looking for insects and small mammals. We stopped and got a few pictures before moving on, only to stop in the gateway of the reserve.
In the distance, there were a few gazelles, so I managed to get a few pictures before everybody else got close – they made so much noise that the deer ran off – the first but not the last time this was going to happen today! Unfortunatly a few of the group were more focussed on talking than being quiet and stealthy!
Anyway, we moved on looking for the Ibis, but saw none. So after a quick stop in Tifnit, we headed for Massa, about another 40km further south. The town of Massa is situated on the Massa river and is surrounded by very fertile land, where many crops and grown both commercially and for the local people to sell in the surrounding markets.
We headed through the town and out the far side, our guide said there was a really nice walk right from the coast to the town which we needed to take and the roads were all flooded and the minibus would not make it – the walk was around 10km but well worth it.
Once we were dropped off, we made our way down to the main gateway on the coastal side. The river estuary was teaming with wildlife and soon the binoculars were out, getting a better view of the different species on show. I took the opportunity to get ahead of the main group so get some really nice views of some of the birds – with all the noise and chatting going on, the chances of seeing anything was gong to be remote.
Every few km, there was a viewing stand giving you information on the birds and the habitat created by the estuary, so it was pretty informative and showed you what birds you should be seeing – still the elusive Ibis was nowhere to be seen – even though the information boards said they were here. We did however see lots of other birds including flamingos and even a Fish Eagle at a distance, as well as loads of others.
The walk was pretty easy for most, but a few of the others in the group were struggling, so eventually the minibus made it a bit further down the lane than expected to collect them, before taking us off to lunch in the town. The restaurant we used was the Paradis Berber Restaurant in the main road in Massa. They had laid on a feast of vegtable tagine, chicken tagine and various sweets to finish, with lashings of tea, which was all very nice and not expensive either – so would recommend them – but you do need to book in advance – there website is here
After lunch, we drove across the river to Sidi Wassay, a small village right on the coast in a final bid to see the Ibis. After a bit of searching, we finally saw one flying. It eventually landed so we headed off in the general direction, hoping to get a picture if we could. Of course it went about 1.5km and into an open area, so we had to stalk it using the natural cover, but eventually we got in a good position to see it. Thing is it was not that bothered about us, but having spent all day trying to see one we did not want it to fly off again.
So with our mission accomplished, everybody piled back in the bus and we headed back to Agadir. It was dark before we got back to the carpark but the day was well worth it. We saw over 30 different species, had a nice lunch and did something new, so a jolly good trip all in all. Our guide was knowledgable and helped everybody get the most out of the day.