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Timing and Precautions
Weekend visitors to Essaouira often leave wishing they had more time. If you can, plan to spend several days in this relaxing seaside town. The best (and most popular) time to visit is summer. Although the temperature is tolerable year-round, this is a windy city, so don't expect to swim before May or after August.
Gnaoua and World Music Festival. Essaouira is always packed at the end of June, as 400,000 people from all over the world come to enjoy the annual four-day Gnaoua and World Music Festival. It's one of the best times to listen to traditional Gnaoua musicians. These descendants of African slaves established brotherhoods across Morocco and are healers and mystics as well as musicians. Among their troupes of metal castanet (krakab), players, bass lute (gimbri) players, and drummers, they have mediums and clairvoyants who perform wild, spellbinding acts. If you plan to visit the festival, make sure you reserve accommodation at least three months in advance as hotels and guest houses will be full. Essaouira. www.festival-gnaoua.net.
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