Want to discover Kenitra? There are a thousand and one ways to do so. The economic capital of the Gharb region, Kenitra, is considered today one of the main Moroccan cities and is often cited as the agricultural capital of Morocco.
Although it is not as dynamic as the other imperial cities, it is still regarded as one of the core cities in Moroccan because it is a spontaneous and cozy place to be explored.
Kenitra lies on its textile, leather, electronic, and para-chemical industries to maintain its economy. The living earth’s land exports all of its goods to most sectors in the kingdom; it is the main source of all supplies.
Indeed, the social makeup of the entire city is captivating to those who dare interact with its residents.
So without further ado, let’s get started (:
Getting Acquainted With Kenitra
Before we move on to the ultimate travel guide, Let’s have a small introduction to know the Moroccan city of Kenitra, its weather, its location, some history, and what makes it worth visiting.
A Quick Introduction To Kenitra
Kenitra is a city in northwestern Morocco, formerly known as Port Lyautey, from 1932 to 1956. It is a port on the Sebou river, has a population in 2014 of 431,282, and is one of the three main cities of the Rabat-Salé-Kénitra region and the capital of the Kenitra Province.
The city’s history begins with the foundation of a trading post by the Carthaginians, known back then as Thamusida. Under the Antonine dynasty, a Venus temple was built there. Before the French protectorate, the Kasbah Mahdiyya was the only construction in the area where the modern city can today be found.
In March 1912, the French government and the Sultan of Morocco, Abd al-Hafid, signed the Treaty of Fez. Because of his growing unpopularity, the Sultan asked the French government for protection against the Berber rebel tribes surrounding Fez. France appointed Hubert Lyautey resident-general in Morocco.
General Lyautey restored peace and order to the country after crushing the tribal uprising. After safely moving the Sultan from Fes to Rabat the current capital city, Lyautey began his task of civilian administration.
One of the first preoccupations of General Lyautey was to build ports along the inhabitable Atlantic coast where there were no natural harbors. He established Port Lyautey in 1912 as a French military fort and town. Its port, at the mouth of the Sebou river, was opened in 1913.
It soon became the best river port in Morocco. Kenitra draws its name from a culvert built at Fouarat lake upstream of the kasbah. This trench was destroyed in 1928. In 1933, the French officially named the locale “Port Lyautey.”
It was renamed “Quneitra” in 1956 as Morocco gained its independence. Today, the city has increased as a shipping center for agricultural produce (mainly fruit), fish, timber, lead, and zinc ores. The city’s industrial area lies upstream of the port.
What is the weather like in Kenitra?
In Kenitra, the summers are warm, muggy, arid, and mostly clear, and the winters are cool and partly cloudy. Over the year, the temperature typically varies differently.
Where is Kenitra Located?
Kenitra city is located in northwest Morocco near the Atlantic Ocean between Rabat and Tangier. Built on the bank of the Oued Sebou, which has its source in the Middle Atlas and whose length is about 500 kilometers, the city is in the center of a rich agricultural region, the Gharb. Nearby is the biological reserve of the Sidi Boughaba lake and its numerous species of migratory birds and the Mamora forest.
Traveling To Kenitra: The Ultimate Travel Destination
The upcoming lines will be an ultimate travel guide where I will explain all that you need to know in order to plan a wonderful trip and enjoy time in Kenitra city.
Is Kenitra Morocco safe?
Kenitra is generally a safe place to visit, and you can expect a relatively low risk of being a victim of a crime or terrorist attack. However, you should still exercise caution in certain areas and take common-sense precautions while traveling.
Like everywhere else, you will want to exercise caution and be aware of your surroundings. The good news is that you can reduce your chances of becoming a victim in the city. First, try to blend in as much as possible.
If you dress like a tourist, you’re more likely to attract attention from criminals. Kenitra is safe for both male and female travelers. However, some things should be considered, especially for women. First, it’s prudent to dress modestly. In general, it’s best to avoid short skirts and crop tops.
How do you gauge what is appropriate? Take a look around at what the local women wear. While you don’t need to wear the same clothing, take a hint from them. If they cover their shoulders, knees, or ankles, consider following suit. It will let you enjoy the destination with far less unwanted attention.
Also, never flash your money publicly, as this identifies you as a valuable target. Second, take note of your surroundings at all times. Thieves will likely take advantage of you if you look like you’re not paying attention.
Stay away from alleys and less-populated side streets where the crowds don’t go; these are bad places to find yourself ambushed. If possible, avoid traveling the roads alone at night. There is safety in numbers, and it can be a pleasure to share experiences with others.
Staying at a hostel is a great way to make friends to explore with. You can also join a tour, like a free walking tour, to meet other travelers. In addition to comfort and safety, you may create lifelong friends or shared memories.
As a solo traveler, being invited back to someone’s home for tea or a meal is not uncommon. Sometimes, especially for women, this friendliness can seem intrusive compared to western standards, and you can expect multiple daily inquisitions regarding your marital status (and other topics!).
If it gets too much, you can smile, shake your head and change the topic without offending.
For more information, I invite you to read my previous article on how to dress in Morocco and the things you should never do in Morocco.
How To Get To Kenitra?
There are many ways to travel to Kenitra. For budget travelers, train tickets are cheap, service is fairly reliable, and major cities are on the route. Several bus companies run throughout the country, Morocco, making it easier to reach your destination, Kenitra city.
1. From Tangier
If you’re looking for an exciting way to travel between Tanger and Kenitra, taking the train may be a perfect choice. The ride is scenic and relatively quick, making it a great option if you’re short on time.
The ride is only about an hour long and offers fantastic countryside views. Plus, you can buy tickets online, which is very convenient.
2. From Casablanca
Undoubtedly, one of the smartest ways to get to lively and beautiful Kenitra is to reach Casablanca first, then board a modern train to Kenitra.
Both destinations are a part of a very advanced railway network, so the trains running on the Casablanca – Kenitra route boast fast travel times (the journey takes about 1 hour) and admirable punctuality.
Also, they provide fantastic onboard amenities, offering everything you need for a stress-free trip. The passengers of all classes are welcome to take advantage of comfortable seats, plenty of legroom, and more than generous luggage space during the ride.
The Casablanca to Kenitra train timetable is extensive and offers over 20 daily departures, so you can easily choose a train that works best with your travel plans.
3. From Meknes
Meknes has two train stations (gare). Gare Meknes is conveniently located on the city’s eastern edge, although it’s closer to the CTM bus station. The one at which most travelers will disembark is the small Gare el Amir Abdelkader.
The distance from Meknès to Kenitra is 64 miles / 104 kilometers, and the driving distance is 91 or 147 kilometers. Both petits and grands taxis usually wait outside the station; the travel time is about 1 hour 46 minutes. Payment at the station is by cash only, but some agents will accept credit cards.
Note: Insist the driver use his meter, as he is legally bound to.
Getting Around Kenitra
Here are some of a few great ways you can get around Kenitra city:
1. By Foot
Kenitra has a basic public transport system, with trains, buses, and taxis. Still, it is a city best explored on foot by tourists, as most of the attractions are in the old quarter. Visitors should beware that it is easy to get lost in the maze of narrow streets of the city.
However, to aid visitors, it is best to use the accompanying tourist map and ask for directions if lost.
Additionally, tourists should note that some locals have a reputation for misdirecting tourists, particularly if they can redirect them to family-owned stores or charge money to guide them along complicated routes instead of giving simple directions.
2. Public Transportation
Public transportation can be hit or miss in Morocco, especially in a city, like Kenitra, which has public bus services, but the buses are old and overcrowded, and the routes are hard to figure out.
Instead, most people use petit taxis to get around town. These small vehicles can hold up to three people and are prevalent nationwide. They’re very cheap, although there may be a surcharge after 8 pm.
To ensure you get a fair fare, negotiate your price upfront. Metered taxis are also available; the fares start around 7 MAD and then charge 4 MAD per kilometer.
3. Grand Taxis
Grand taxis are shared taxis that can carry up to six passengers and are used to go longer distances between neighboring towns/cities. They won’t leave until the taxi is full, but wait times aren’t so bad.
You can locate one near just about any taxi stand or bus/train station. You may have to pay extra if you have a lot of luggage. You should arrange your fare ahead of time.
How Many Days Do You Need In Kenitra?
To see it, ideally, you’ll want to allocate at least 2-3 days, although those with less time to spare can still enjoy the experience. Once in this city, you should explore more places. Several locations must be included in your visiting tour list to Kenitra.
Start your day by exploring the beach of Mehdia, which is the perfect choice for sports lovers. Amazingly, many outdoor activities are done on the beach, such as surfing, bodyboarding, diving, swimming, and all other water sports.
It is unique to feel the glittering waters living within you. You can also enjoy the camel riding tour on Mehdia’s beach, which you will like.
You can check out the local restaurants with reasonable prices, and the markets and kiosks depend on the farms around the city to get organic vegetables and fresh fruits. It is a tiny city where you feel friendly, warm, and satisfied.
However, different youth centers and colleges are available in the city. Among the many, Ibn Toufil University, founded in 1989, is the only university in the city. It includes a variety of departments with numerous studies. The university itself is an attraction because of its richness.
If you are chanced to move only 13 km from the city center of Kenitra and near the amazing beach of Mehdia, the natural reserve of Lac Sidi Boughaba is organized with an elegant decoration. It is neither vast nor wide; it is rather a narrow lake with large fountains which are magnificent to observe.
The lake is divided by the crossing central causeway into several sections. However, it includes exotic birds featuring life inside the National Park, and it is quite a scenic spot to enjoy and a view you should not miss.
What Is The Best Time To Visit Kenitra?
If you want to make the most of your trip to this exotic land, visit during the perfect season. The time between July and September is the peak tourist season and the best time to visit Kenitra. With the pleasant weather these months, you won’t have to deal with the bitter cold or burning heat.
Also, almost all the annual Moroccan holidays are lined up during these months. As soon as summertime hits, Morocco seems to enter a festive mode. At this time of the year, the streets become noisier, and the beaches stay jam-packed!
In winter, daytime temperatures are moderate, making exploring Kenitra’s exotic views enjoyable. However, it might be the perfect season to visit the city if you wish to enjoy a quiet vacation.
What To Pack On A Trip To Kenitra?
Morocco borders the Atlantic Ocean, and many large cities are on the coast. This means most cities like Kenitra experience hot and humid summers but cooler, milder winters. The following is a list of items you may consider for your vacation to Kenitra. Depending on your vacation plans, some of these items may be more useful than others:
For Men Traveler:
- Sweater – contrary to popular belief, it can get quite cold in Kenitra. We advise bringing a jacket or sweatshirt that you can wear in the evenings or mornings when it is chilly.
- Light Blankets
- Sunglasses – to protect from the sun.
- Backpack – for personal items when exploring the country.
- Insect repellent
- Appropriate shoes – Athletic shoes for walking, sandals for wandering the markets.
- Travel toilet paper or bathroom wipes.
- Hand Sanitizer – to keep clean before and after eating, etc.
- Important hygiene products
For Women Traveler:
- Conservative clothing is worn throughout Morocco (clothes should not be tight or too revealing)
- Bathing suit (for beach resorts, hotels)
- Brimmed hat or headscarf.
- A tracksuit
- Light gloves
- Windbreaker or warm sweater for cooler months.
- Footwear: sneakers or hiking shoes, sandals, socks.
- Feminine hygiene products (tampons, etc.)
- Shampoo, Conditioner
- Toothbrush, toothpaste
- Wipes & hand sanitizer
- Toilet paper: Toilet paper can sometimes be hard to find!
- Travel backpack: Useful for daily excursions & activities.
- Disposable plastic bags
- Liquid hand wash for yourself
- Toiletries including toothpaste and brush
- Toys and small books – Pick their favorites.
- Clothes, socks, and shoes depending on the season you are going to Kenitra.
- Towels and bathing suit
- Sunhats and sunscreen
- Feeding sets
- Medical kit
The 9 Best Things To Do In Kenitra City (Explained)
This city has many things to offer tourists. It has an awesome beach, national parks with a wonderful lake, a few historical relics, beautiful mosques, interesting and diverse neighborhoods, modern shopping malls, hypermarkets, restaurants, and clubs.
The best things to do and beautiful attractions in Kenitra can be listed below:
1. Enjoy Mehdia Beach
Set on the Atlantic coast near the northern tip of Morocco is Mehdia Beach, a hotspot for surfing. A lovely stretch of golden sand, this is a place where there is always a buzz. There are several beach bars and even a water park on the seafront. Visitors to the beach are an eclectic mix of international and Moroccan visitors, which helps give the place an authentic feel.
Mehdia dates back to the Roman Empire, and you can see the first-century remains of a castle, the Kasbah de Mehdia. The town is also famous for its fish and several good restaurants.Surfers and bodyboarders come from around the world to surf the waves here. Surfing is best when the rising tide and the waves range from one to 12 feet high.
While most overseas visitors come here to surf, there are plenty of other things to do. Just hanging out on the beach and chilling is popular. Still, there is also the Sidi Boughaba Natural Reserve right behind Mehdia beach, which is a great place to spot migrating birds as they travel between Europe and Africa.
If you are someone who loves beaches atmosphere then make sure to check out my article about the best Morocco beaches.
2. Explore Sidi Boughaba Lake
This freshwater lake, part of the Lac Sidi Boughaba Parc National, is located in Mehdia, on the outskirts of industrial Kenitra. As a refueling stop for thousands of birds migrating between Europe and sub-Saharan Africa, the lake provides some of the country’s best birdwatching, especially between October and March.
To get to the lake, follow the signposts from the beach road to Mehdiya Plage, 300m past the Cafe Restaurant Belle Vue. The lake is a 3.3km walk from the turn-off.
More than 200 species of birds have been spotted on the lake, and many choose to winter or nest here – among them several rare and endangered species. This is one of the last places on earth where you can still see large numbers of marbled ducks, distinguished by the dark patch around their eyes.
Other birds to look out for include the beautiful marsh owl (seen most often at dusk), crested coot, black-shouldered kite, and greater flamingo.
The lake is also famous for gentle hiking, with well-appointed (but rubbish-strewn) walking trails in the forested hills.
3. Stroll Mehdia Kasbah
Also known as Kasbah Mahdiyya, it is a kasbah located near Kenitra, Morocco. It is situated downstream of the Sebou River in the Atlas Mountains, 12km from Kneitra. The Kasbah was built during the era of the Berber Almohad sultan Abd al-Mu’min and restored during the Alaouite period in the 17th century.
The building was established in a strategic location connecting several areas of Morocco. Sebou River, which flows to the Atlantic Ocean, is easily navigable, and it flows through the Atlas Mountains and reaches the inland area such as the city of Fes city.
During the middle age, holding this area was a key for establishing logistical, military, and commercial advantages. As such, the kasbah was heavily contested by many states throughout history.
And thus, strolling between such ancient roads tells much of the Kasbah’s history showing the difference between the city center and the authentic alleys of Kasbah’s Mehdia. This is seen, so don’t miss the experience.
For information, I recommend you check out my in-depth guide about kasbahs in Morocco.
4. Visit Thamusida Ruins
There is an interesting place about 15 kilometers from the center of Kénitra – the ruins of Thamusida, a major river port that flourished in the Roman era of Morocco.Archaeologists, who have been working on the territory of the ancient monument for several decades, claim that the port appeared here in 200 AD.
At that time, the Romans dominated this territory, and they needed a place to leave their ships, store ammunition, trophies, and, of course, various goods that were later sent to the Italian cities for sale.
The Romans chose a Berber settlement to construct such a strategically important object. Firstly, there were already residential buildings that could be temporarily occupied. Second, after the occupation of the territory, the military began to use the inhabitants as labor: forced labor was common here.
Thamusida grew every year. And from a small but strong port, it turned into a rather impressive settlement. There was a temple for worshipping Venus, buildings for public meetings, baths, and a library.
The houses of the poor and the industrial buildings were strictly separated from the houses of the nobility: the precise planning of the streets made it possible to do this without the slightest difficulty. Later, the city was surrounded by a high stone wall, which fenced off an area of 15 hectares from the outside world.
In the third century AD, Thamusida became the main Christian city in Morocco, with a population of more than 7,000 people.Today, the ruins are a site of tourism where many foreign people visit the place to get more information about the site’s history.
5. Visit Mohammed VI Mosque
Mosque Mohamed VI is located on avenue Mohamed V in Kenitra city center. Opposite this mosque, you will find Aswak Assalam, one of the popular hypermarkets in Kenitra.
This mosque has a beautiful modern architectural design with a minaret. You can visit this mosque and admire contemporary Islamic architecture.
6. Explore Lalla Khadija Mosque
This is another beautiful mosque in Kenitra and a popular tourist site. The mosque has a 38-meter-tall minaret, separate prayer rooms for men and women, and a house for the Imam.
This religious building was constructed over 7,000 square meters and reflected the standard of traditional Moroccan architecture.
7. Get Lost At The Old Medina (Khabazat)
Khabazat is a neighborhood in the old Medina area. You can see the traditional Moroccan lifestyle in this neighborhood.
You will find street markets, food stalls, dry fruit and spice shops, and many other interesting things in this area. Explore this place at your own pace and melt with the Moroccan lifestyle.
If you are someone who finds exploring history, culture and loves getting lost in the historical cities, I recommend you check out my full article on the best old medinas in Morocco.
8. Go Shopping at Kenitra center mall
Kenitra mall is a shopping mall located in the city center. This shopping mall is conveniently located on avenue Med 5. You can find various products ranging from apparel, cosmetics, and shoes to electronics and toys.
You can collect traditional Moroccan dresses or shoes and products for your daily needs from this shopping mall.
9. Try Delicious Moroccan Food
For people who travel for food, few destinations stir the imagination quite like Morocco. It’s home to the colorful tagine and a dizzying number of exotic spices and seasonings. When you think of Moroccan food, you think of flavor. It’s an assault on the senses in the best ways possible.
From a tourism standpoint, Morocco needs little introduction. Year after year, it’s consistently one of the most visited countries in Africa. There are many reasons to visit Morocco, especially the city of Kenitra, but one of the best reasons has to be because of the delicious food.
If you’re the type of traveler who likes to experience a different culture through its food, then check out these popular and amazing dishes on your next trip to Kenitra. Then, make sure you try some of the following amazing dishes:
Read The Next Guide:
|Marrakech City||Chefchaouen City|
|Casablanca City||Essaouira City|
|Fes (Fez) City||Rabat City|
|Agadir City||Meknes City|
|Tangier City||El Jadida City|
|Tetouan City||Ifrane City|
|Ouarzazate City||Merzouga City|
The journey into Kenitra does not end; it is a continuous exploration of life and uniqueness. If you take the necessary precautions and remain vigilant, you should enjoy your trip without any issues.
With its ancient kasbah and ruins, different delicious spices/food, historical monuments, and old medinas, Kenitra truly is a feast for the senses. It’s an intoxicating blend of sights, smells, and sounds that’s sure to capture the hearts and imaginations of many travelers, especially those who travel for adventure.
That’s was all for my today’s guide, I hope you found this article helpful.
Thanks for reading.
What is Kenitra known for?
The economic capital of the Gharb region, Kenitra, is considered today one of the main Moroccan cities and is often cited as the agricultural capital of Morocco. The history of this city dates back to the Phoenician era when it was constructed.
Is Kenitra a big city?
Incorporated in 1912, Kenitra is one of the biggest cities (9th) in Morocco, with a population of 431,282 people in 2014.
When was Kenitra founded?
It was founded in 1912 by French General Louis Hubert Lyautey.
Is Kenitra better than Meknes?
Meknes and Kenitra are popular destinations to visit in the summer, with plenty of activities. Kenitra attracts visitors with its bustling nightlife, beautiful restaurants, and meaningful historical buildings. In contrast, Meknes attracts visitors year-round for its commercial centers and souks (market) for fine embroidery and carpets.
Is Kenitra better than Rabat?
Kenitra is known for its vibrant nightlife and diverse selection of bars and places to go out. Rabat is quieter, with little nightlife except for its annual Mawazine Music Festival. Rabat, the capital of Morocco, has a lot of government buildings and is more modern-looking than Kenitra.Go to Kenitra if you’re looking for nightlife and a great selection of restaurants.
Is kenitra expensive?
The average cost of living in Kenitra is $562, in the top 18% of the least expensive cities in the world, and ranked 6th out of 22 in Morocco.
Does Kenitra have snow?
Weather stations report no annual snow. Meanwhile, the lowest chance of rain or snow occurs around mid-June. So, by contrast, it’s most likely to rain or snow in early December to late January with an average of 2 days.