Kif in the Rif… a few days in Chefchaouen

So we made an important discovery the other day. That being that the word “kif” (or any combination of letters producing the same phonetic sound) means the slang version of “good” in all of French, Arabic and… wait for it… AFRIKAANS!

Don’t have any idea how that came about, but we’re all stoked we can finally claim to know at least one Arabic word!

No plant in Chaouen left unsmoked…

Another Moroccan meaning of this useful word refers to the raw form of Marijuana traditionally consumed for centuries in the Rif mountain area. The Rif mountains are not really famous for surfing but my mum always encouraged taking an interest in local cultures, so we figured we should probably check out the Rif.

Chaouen perched high on the side of a valley in the Rif… no waves here, but plenty of culture!

The most well-known town in the area is that of Chefchaouen, or “Chaouen”, as it more fondly referred to by Moroccans (more cred for next time you come). Anyway, the Lonely Planet talks about the name “Chaouen” meaning “peaks” in the local language, and when you get there it all kinda makes sense. Perched in a little crevasse high up on the one side of a very large valley, the town is a site to behold…

…and thats’ even BEFORE you sample any of the traditional local… uh… culture!

More bizarre is that pretty much the entire town is painted in a brilliant blue paint. Once again we’re not sure WHY, but we understand it’s been like that a very long time. Probably about as long as they’ve been smoking Kif we guess!

High in the hills…

And what a GREAT stoner idea: “hey everyone, I’ve got an idea… lets paint the town blue! Whoooo!”. It’s really beautiful, especially when juxtaposed against the super-bright green grass carpetting the surrounding hills. Perhaps the greenest grass we’ve ever seen.

Another amazing discovery we made was that the resto around the corner from our cool auberge does a super-tasty vegetable soup. Perhaps the tastiest vegetable soup we’ve ever eaten.

We can’t remember much else from Chaouen. Excellent cultural excursion!

Tim and Lurks, flying in Chefchaouen…

* * * * * *

In other news…


A few days ago we blogged about a little press-blitz we did in Rabat. Well the output is now in the public sphere. Click here for the BBC piece.

We’re also on Reuters HERE… and

and in a language we do not understand HERE!!!

AfricanSurfer… not your average A-list celebrities!

A few days later, the effects of Chaouen were still evident in the crew. Stone, flying at paradise plage…


5 Responses to “Kif in the Rif… a few days in Chefchaouen”

  1. 1 Anta Apr 18th, 2008 at 12:18 pm

    They said in the language you don’t understand : we were with the crew at “Chaoun”….nice country ;)

    Now Méditerranée, you will understand more about french culture and the famous Brice de Nice

    Have fun guys !

  2. 2 Anna Apr 18th, 2008 at 3:43 pm

    VERY Impressive dudes! :)

  3. 3 Brad Apr 22nd, 2008 at 5:16 pm

    That’s Cape Town and Bo-Kaap man!

  4. 4 the ing Apr 24th, 2008 at 11:58 am

    i notice i didn’t get a mention about my heroic alert Re the BBC article!!:-) miss you tons mick! xxi

  5. 5 Agent10 Mar 22nd, 2013 at 9:22 am

    For what it’s worth, besides French, Arabic and Afrikaans, in Russian language there is a word “Kaif”. Its pronounced as in “kite”. The word means extacy, or a very good feeling. It’s more or less a slang word. Doesn’t surprise me, as former Soviet Union in the south bordered many cannabis-friendly/producing republics with Arabic traditions, although currently they are “independent countries”. And Russia had very strong ties to France from the 17th to 19th century. French was the 2nd language of the country at that time, being the language of the Russian aristocrats. Its what distinguished the peasants from the educated elites. Another interesting fact: the Russian word for hemp or marijuana is konoplya, quite similar to cannabis. The hemp grows wild in the my city’s main park, and its still a popular farming crop in the countryside.

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The original trip

March 2007: Tim, Lurks & Stone mission north from Cape Town up the west coast of Africa, in search of good waves and good times. Their vehicle: a trusty 1981 Landcruiser named Mzee Kobe (The Old Tortoise). Their final destination: London... finally arriving almost a year behind schedule in latter 2008!

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