Comprising cascading cliffs, pillowy dunes, dense forest and coastal steppe, Souss-Massa National Park is one of Morocco’s most significant national parks. This national park stretches across 330 square kilometres of wild and untamed Moroccan Atlantic coast dotted with Argan trees.
The emerald Souss River cuts through the Northern limits of the park ending in a wide estuary, while the Massa River borders the southern parts of the park, giving rise to beautiful lagoons. The area was declared a national park because it is a significant feeding area for both endemic and migratory birds. The lagoon and estuary are the main birding areas within the park and is one of the last remaining sites for northern bald ibis.
On the coastal section of the park, small fishing villages dot the tiny bays and coves. The popular beach destination, Sidi Rbat, is a stone’s throw away from the national park, making it ideal for a wildlife and beach-going combination holiday. The national park is easily accessible and is only 60 kilometres south of Agadir, a tourism town on the coast with an international airport.
There are various hotels and resorts where visitors can marvel at true Moroccan style, including terracotta painted walls and mosaic tiles. Best of all is the myriad of fine Morrocan cuisine that is on offer.
The Souss River is at the northern end of the park while the Massa River is the border in the south.
Souss-Massa National Park is a premier birding destination and attracts birders from across the globe who seek out opportunities to spot the ibis roosting on cliff faces. The national park is of conservation importance because it provides a habitat for three colonies of the northern bald ibis.
Other notable birds to spot in the area include breeding marble ducks, the European spoonbill and Audouin's gull (during winter); a thick-billed lark, red-necked nightjar, red-necked ostriches, Tristram’s warbler, flamingos and the Moussier's redstart. Most of these birds are spotted in the lagoon and estuary regions. In total, there are estimated to be 250 species of bird in the park.
Closer inland in the forest, there are over 30 mammal species, which include jackal, hares, porcupine and gazelle. There are breeding programs underway in the park for threatened species such as the scimitar oryx and Dorcas gazelle.
Winter is the best time for birding, particularly first thing in the morning and late in the evening. The region's temperatures are is moderated by the sea, which means the park is an exceptional year-round destination. June is the most popular tourist month.
This is an incredibly appealing national park with several natural attractions worth exploring. There are plenty of things to see in Souss-Massa National Park. From coastal splendour to desert steppe, cliffs littered with birds and mystical forests; the environment is ideal for an array of outdoor pursuits. Travellers are encouraged to arrange guided tours from the village of Massa, where qualified and passionate guides will introduce visitors to forest mammals like wild boar, jackal and gazelle.
The Oued Souss estuary in the northern part of the park is where the river flows into the Atlantic Ocean and is a sanctuary for nesting birds. The southern section of the park is home to the Massa River and lagoon and is the second sought-after birding area within the park. Both the lagoon and estuary have nature trails in the area specifically for birding purposes.
At Oued Massa, there is a visitors centre, and map of the birding trails in the area. Spot ibis, flamingos, cranes, marbled teal and other waders breeding and feeding in these nutrient-rich areas. Beach activities are a must. There are the spectacular Fisherman’s caves worth exploring, and the mind-blowing remote surfing beach of Sidi Rbat.
Beach resorts, villas, hotels, bed and breakfasts and unusual accommodations line the coast. Most accommodation options are perfectly positioned to take advantage of coastal, river or inland vistas. Buildings are elegantly designed in true Moroccan style. From terracotta painted walls, to mosaic tiles and luxury poolside decks, there are plenty of options available. Moroccan steam baths, spa treatment rooms and small gift shops can be found in most hotels.
Exquisite Morrocan fare is served at most establishments.