Formerly known as Port Lyautey, Kenitra is a lively city where the Sebou River meets the Atlantic Ocean. It was founded as a trading post by the Carthaginians and was captured by the Americans as part of “Operation Torch”, an Allied invasion of French North Africa during World War II.
Things to do in Kenitra
Overlooking the Sebou River is Kasbah Mahdiyya, a centuries-old kasbah constructed under the rule of Berber Almohad Sultan Abd al’Mu’min. Built atop a rocky escarpment, it was designed to protect the mouth of the river and the surrounding coastal plains. After admiring the monumental entrance, step inside to explore the kasbah’s atmospheric mosque, barracks and madrasa, which exhibit diverse architectural styles.
Bird watchers should head to Lac Sidi Boughaba Parc National, a Ramsar-designated site and one of the last wetlands to remain on Morocco’s north-west coast. More than 170 different species of birds have been recorded here, including marbled teals, marsh harriers and flamingos. Begin your visit at the National Center for Environmental Education to learn about the park’s ecological significance, then head out to explore along the nature trails.
Stretching to the north is Plage Mehdia, a golden sweep of sand famed for its surf. Restaurants serving locally caught seafood line the beachfront promenade while camels lumber along the sand as the sun sets over the Atlantic Ocean. Nestled behind the beach is the Aqua Pirate water park, where you’ll find family-friendly swimming pools and waterslides.
Getting around Kenitra
Kenitra is around 45 minutes’ drive from Rabat and Rabat-Sale Airport, which has flights to destinations across Morocco, Europe and the Middle East. Regular trains connect from Casablanca and Tangier to the Kenitra railway station and buses travel throughout the city. Grand taxis are readily available for getting around.